Growing up, there were four things I always saw my dad reading; Newspapers, Scriptures, Phantom comics and paperback Westerns.
While I did really get into phantom comics for a couple of years, and I do routinely read my scriptures nowadays, I never much cared for newspapers and never once touched a Western.
Heck, until a year ago, my idea of a Western movie was Back To The Future III or Shanghai Noon. And while they arguably don’t count, I like to think they do, because in that same vein, I’ve now read three Westerns; the second era of Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn books.
Rather than blog my Alloy Of Law reread and then do individual posts for Shadows Of Self and Bands of Mourning, I decided to wait until finishing all three, before blogging them, but then couldn’t help but finish off Mistborn: A Secret History as well. So I’m going to attempt to blog all four of them in one, because honestly, it’s still only about the size of one book in Sanderson’s Stormlight Archive.
If you’ve read the first Mistborn trilogy but not yet delved further, because Westerns aren’t your thing, I’d suggest first reading A Secret History, because that’ll really get the ball rolling for you. It follows the adventures of Kelsier after he dies in The Final Empire. Yes, after he DIES! How cool is that.
He finds a way to “survive” death and pull strings behind the scenes over the next couple of books. It’s kind of like the Wicked backstory to Wizard of Oz but a little less story-changing and more future world-changing.
Brandon himself recommends reading The Secret History after finished the Wax and Wayne (Mistborn Era 2) books, but I would disagree. I think it would be much more powerful directly after finishing the first trilogy as a mind opener for all the stories left to be told.
Now if that doesn’t get you super excited to read the Mistborn Westerns, which it should – because awesome – well, you just need to trust the Branderson. They are a little bit more adventure, so lots of crazy scenarios and fun times, not unlike the Reckoners trilogy, but aimed at a slightly more adult audience, so a little more grounded.
Now, I will add to that that because of the different audience, and what I believe was Brandon’s attempt to better keep with the Western-style, there’s a little more innuendo and sexuality in Shadows of Self and Bands of Mourning than there was in Alloy of Law or most of Brandon’s other books for that matter.
But regardless of whether that is to you a pro or a con, it’s a wild west comedy romp with magic, and though Alloy of Law doesn’t give much in the way of continued story from the first trilogy, it does an incredible job of setting the new scene in the new transformed world and introducing the characters for a new but still connected story.
I was really intrigued by where he decided to take the story. If you’ve read Alloy of Law, the ending is left ambiguous about whether certain main characters will eventually get together. Or should I say, rather, it is NOT left ambiguous, but as a reader, you want it to be these two characters and you think that their not ending up together is just a prolonging of the inevitable.
Well, it hasn’t been so far, and one of them has become very happy in another relationship, so even though the idea of them is still generally hinted at by other characters, I’m really not sure what’s going to happen. Maybe it’s an intentional breaking of the stereotype, ie, just because two people share an attraction doesn’t mean they have to succumb to that, or can’t be happy with other people.
I love that sentiment and the unexpectedness of it, and Brandon does a great job of making us happy about it, but I’m still kind of expecting the other love interest to die in the fourth book, just to make this relationship between these two characters happen.
I find it incredibly fascinating that I want that to happen. That even though they’ve moved on, deep down I’m still rooting for these two main characters. I guess it’s like Ross and Rachel in friends. Even though they were both happily with other people at various times, more so Ross than Rachel, you were happy for them, but you were always holding out for them to make it work.
Anyway, ultimately, I’m giving the series four Sterions out of five. While I loved the series, and it was incredibly fun, I did love the original trilogy better. Like most people say about Star Wars, I guess.
QOTB: Do YOU think the original series is always better? Any exceptions to that rule?
And don’t forget that with the release of The Arthur Lien Abductions, Part Three: The Quest this month, Part One: The Secret and Part Two: The Mystery are both now down to only 99c (US) on Amazon Kindle.