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svgfahmesvgJune 16, 2022svgReviews

Mistborn Mysteries: Shock Checklist

(The writeup contains major spoilers of all the books of the Mistborn original trilogy by Brandon Sanderson. Read at your own risk if you haven’t read the original Mistborn Trilogy- The Final Empire, The Well of Ascension, The Hero of Ages first)

She drew upon the mists..

If you are a Mistborn fan, you know these five words very well, and most probably, you have just got goosebumps. Mistborn is a series with a fantastic style of storytelling. It keeps you hooked till the very end, but does provide you moments of excitement every now and then. The gigantic twists and fights that rip your head apart are usually reserved for the last 100/150 pages of the book and most of us probably had to read them in one sitting, because it’s kind of impossible to concentrate in anything else when you are into those final stages. In this piece, let’s go back to the major surprises Sanderson has given us and try to discover how many of them we could guess from the foreshadowing. As my mentor prof. Josiah Lebowitz tells, “When putting a plot twist in a story, there’s a fine balancing act you need to walk. If you don’t add any sort of foreshadowing, the twist will seem to have come out of nowhere and may end up feeling random or nonsensical to the readers. On the other hand, if your foreshadowing is too obvious, everyone will figure out the twist long before it happens.” He and I both agree that Sanderson does a brilliant job at this.

Well, let’s check our metal reserves and jump straight into the mists, shall we?

  1. Kell’s sacrifice and the revolution
    One of the most heart-wrenching moments of the entire saga was Kelsier’s death. All of us were eagerly waiting for his confrontation with The Lord Ruler. We were also eager to finally find out how the eleventh metal works. Did we want it to work? Did we want Kell to use this to defeat his enemy for real? Well, probably, if it was done in an intriguing fashion? But, wouldn’t that be too obvious? I mean, the story would be very linear and mundane if it just happens exactly how the hero often thought out loud since the beginning. It hurt us badly, yes. We did hope that Kell would put up a miracle. But honestly speaking, did we not see how difficult and challenging it was to kill one inquisitor, before knowing their secret? The part of Kell killing the inquisitor is one of those top action sequences in the whole saga that you would go back reading again and again. But it took Kell to be at his best to defeat one, did we really expect him to defeat the master of so many inquisitors, the immortal Lord Ruler after just finishing just a hectic and close battle? Logically, no. Especially when you have Vin as a spectator of the whole scene. All this buildup of her character arc throughout the story only to be a bystander in the most defining scene of the book? Doesn’t quite add up, does it? Now about the revolution? Did you see it coming? I didn’t. If you think critically, there were hints available- Kelsier visiting Skaa people to give hope and making himself a hero when he lived, spreading rumors about eleventh metal- these activities didn’t add up to the tactics and preparation of facing The Lord Ruler off. We can think back and relate now, of course. This was really well-made, especially the “Kandra imitating Kell” part. I wonder if anyone could guess the whole plan before reading it. It should be so difficult to guess since Sanderson did his job really well.
  2. The Lord Ruler’s secret and his defeat
    By the time you start reading The Final Empire, you most probably already know that it’s a trilogy, at the very least. So, when you see Kell getting killed and Vin failing miserably after that as well, you would probably think that Sanderson would probably deal with The Lord Ruler over the course of the next two books of the series. Kell failed even after burning the presumable miracle metal (the eleventh metal), so Vin already knew she didn’t have much chance, but the alternative of not fighting was to let everyone else in the city die. So, she had to try. As soon as she and Marsh got brutal treatment from The Lord Ruler, she tried to flee. As a reader, you know that you want them to escape alive, but deep inside.. you want something else.. you want a miracle. And Sanderson gave it to you. Even if you had some wild guess about Feruchemy due to the detailed exploration of this every now and then with so much importance before, it was almost impossible to predict this exact miracle when you were so consumed by the sheer peer he was showing in the fight. So, when Vin draws upon the mists, your heart skips a bit (for now, two more books later, this line would make you shiver in awe) and as soon as the bracers fly away you jump in exhilaration! You hoped for it, then lost hope and prayed for it (since you didn’t expect it that much), and finally, you got it in style. Absolute delight!
  3. Elend or Zane?
    In the second book of the series, we get introduced to the mysterious Mistborn Zane straight away! The crisis in the love of Elend and Vin was happening from both ends- Elend was having doubts about himself and Vin was wondering if she is the kind of woman Elend should have as a life partner. The dilemma was so critical that as a normal reader I was also kind of rooting for Zane and Vin to be together, at some point, I guess. So, when it all went south, I was feeling a bit sorry I guess. I don’t know how I would have felt if it happened otherwise, but eventually, I was convinced that Elend and Vin were perfect for each other. But before the confrontation happened, whom did you root for? Elend or Zane? Tough call, wasn’t it? The whole encounter made it only realistic then!
  4. The Well of Ascension
    For someone who loves action and mystery like nothing else, the better part of the second book was a bit challenging to go slowly. The political drama was very well written, but those parts, let’s face it, weren’t the most enticing ones. So, I just hoped for all of this to be over and let the action begin. Well, the prayers got accepted too well, I thought to myself as the impossible battle began. Even so, who would have guessed that Vin would be able to take control of the Koloss? I mean there were foreshadowed elements here and there in pieces, but it should be almost impossible to predict. I couldn’t, did you? Anyways, the final twist of the book was so acute that it basically nullifies almost everything else that happened before. I would love to quote my mentor, Prof. Josiah Lebowitz, here again
    “And, while it’s rather common to have a prophecy that’s vague or easy to misinterpret, it’s really rare to have a central prophecy that’s deliberately designed to mislead the hero (and the reader, of course) and aid the villain, making for a great subversion.”
    Well, in my case, I was reading the book while lying on my bed and as soon as the texts ( . . .for he must not be allowed to release the thing that is imprisoned there. ) appeared, I jumped up instinctively and my hands slapped my head, hard. What was that??!! I am convinced that nobody saw it coming, and in my opinion, it was one of the greatest twists among mythical mystery novels ever.
  5. The gift from a mother…
    The earring, from the start of book one, it has been there. It was always there and we never thought it could have this much significance. At the very best, we were hoping it would help Vin defeat a critical enemy someday but that earring being the tool with which she has been manipulated? Wow! That was surprising and dark, I guess?
  6. The body of a God
    All of us were wondering how would be the body of Ruin that he so desperately needed. Who would have known that it has always been there in the story- the cache no one could find even in two entire books. Well, I guess it was understandable that it was hidden in the Pits, I mean there was more than one indications. Sazed vising Terris people in there, Spook telling people to go seek shelter there, Kandra prophecy of their homeland- everything pointed there. But it should have been tough to predict atium being the body of Ruin.
  7. The Hero of Ages
    Would you believe me if I told you I could actually predict that Sazed would be the hero of ages? I have been proven to wrong in most of my predictions but this final one- I got it right! Yes, I had my doubts, I tried to fit Vin and Elend into the role occasionally. But I always went back to my theory where it dictates that Sazed would be the one. One of the many reasons is, you don’t spend that amount of time behind a character in the final book of the trilogy talking about his mental dilemma where everything else is just falling apart. Also, I did use a bit of process of elimination I guess.

There were many other small but intriguing twists as well. I could only highlight the top ones here. Mistborn trilogy has been an experience. Apart from the amazing twists and turns, the character buildup was solid and the stories seemed to have a proper mixture of pace. The action sequences were so good that I go on re-reading them again and again. The conclusions are beautiful. You cry for the characters, you frown in the action, you rejoice in victory- overall, it keeps you hooked and makes you satisfied in the end.

Umm, maybe not. I don’t think I am satisfied. I have to devour the other Mistborn books that came out later on. I won’t stop until I have experienced every other information available in the world of mists by Sanderson. Thanks to Prof. Josiah for getting me to read this, this writeup is dedicated to him.

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