Book Review—The Mistborn Trilogy

An epic fantasy series by Brandon Sanderson

Admittedly the world may not need another review of this book series. It’s wildly popular, has been out for over a decade, and likely reviewed thousands of times. But this is my take on it from the perspective of a Dad reading to his kids.

TL;DR

These books are extremely fun. There’s some blood and violence but in today’s world of hyper-stimulating mega-budget action thrillers, you could do a lot worse than to read your kids these books.

Age range: 10+

Slight Spoiler Alert

What we loved

One of the main characters—arguably the protagonist—can be a model of self-actualization for young females. She really is the most impressively skilled and ferocious warrior in the story, and she literally ascends to god-hood. Hard to get more self-actualized than that.

Yet she starts from the most modest origins, fully invoking the “underdog” sympathies of the reader. It’s nothing but fun and satisfying to witness her story unfold.

Sanderson’s “mechanics” of magic almost push the books into the realm of sci-fi (but not quite). The painstaking detail with which he elucidates the inner workings of the magic in this universe helps the reader fully, completely, immerse themselves.

It’s just really freaking fun and satisfying. The kids will be excited for every session. Little or no boring parts—and the exciting parts are a heckuva ride!

Sanderson shines a light on moral dilemma in a way that doesn’t distract from the story, but rather pulls the reader into the most private emotional and mental experiences of the characters. This is a treat and a source of some insight should you choose to go there.

The characters are likeable and fun. I read some review that accused Sanderson of poor character development but I disagree with that assessment. Some of the characters are less developed than others but this is an ensemble cast. How often are books able to fully develop all characters in an ensemble? Is that even desirable? We really enjoyed the varied personalities and occasional tongue-in-cheek banter the characters indulged in, despite the dystopian setting.

What we didn’t love

Barely anything. If I was forced by an Inquisitor to make up a complaint, the only thing I could come up with is perhaps the very last word of the whole trilogy. I’ll let you discover it and decide for yourself. It’s a personal preference only—I feel the whole thing would be infinitesimally better if that word were omitted.

That’s it! Don’t hesitate in getting and reading this series with your kids. We’re on to the second trilogy too, and so far so good :)