Re-reading report: Mistborn

Jeroen Steenbeeke  
Posted
Back in 2007, some time after the sad news that Robert Jordan had passed away, it was announced that fantasy writer Brandon Sanderson would be working to finish his epic Wheel of Time series. I remember reading about this on Slashdot (a site I frequent much less frequently these days), and thinking two things:
  • Awesome!
  • So who is this Brandon Sanderson guy?

It didn't take me long to find out that Brandon Sanderson had, at that point, written four fantasy novels (Elantris, the first two Mistborn books and the first Alcatraz book), and that I should probably start reading them. Even so, I didn't actually read them until November 2008 (according to the receipt in my mailbox anyway). And I rather liked them.

Even so, seven years is quite a while, and despite my normally splendid memory quite a few details have been lost to me. Seeing as I was already doing a lot of re-reading this year, I added Mistborn to my "to re-read" list (the three books + The Alloy of Law).

Here are my observations, which are filled with spoilers:
  • It's much easier to remember what each Allomantic metal does on the second read. I'm no longer confusing Pewter and Brass, for instance, though I still have trouble with Zinc and Brass
  • Alendi's diary entries feel kind of weird if you know who the Lord Ruler really is
  • Take that you damned Steel Inquisitor! But Kelsier's death is no less dramatic on the second read
  • So where's Marsh? Where's Marsh? Is he an Inquisitor yet? Are we there yet? Are we there yet?
  • I kind of remembered the fight between Vin and the Lord Ruler being longer
  • You know, I don't recall it taking this long when I read it the first time. Same goes for the Well of Ascension and the Hero of Ages
  • The whole "who is the imposter?" subplot is extremely frustrating to read when you already know who it is. "Could it be Breeze or Ham?" NO YOU IDIOTS IT'S THE BLOODY KANDRA RIGHT IN FRONT OF YOU
  • Which part of "I write these words in steel so they cannot be altered" didn't you get. Don't write it on paper!
  • Somehow the "I am free" line is less dramatic if you already know what Vin set free. The first time I read it my response was "What the hell just happened?", now it was "Hey Ruin, good to see you again"
  • Elend seems a lot more self-assured in book 3, good thing, too, with the bloody world ending
  • Having the Inquisitor trying to spike Elend makes a lot more sense when you know what Hemalurgy is. I don't think I noticed the significance the first time I read it
  • The first time I read book 3 I remember groaning each time the point of view switched to Spook. I was far more interested in Vin and Elend, not to mention Sazed, but on the second read-through, I had no such problem.
  • "Oh crap he stabbed me!" "Oh crap I'm hearing a voice in my head" "What is that, voice in my head? I should leave the sword fragment in my shoulder? Okay!" How is this ever a good idea?
  • Vin got captured? How did I not remember this?
  • Same thing with the epic showdown between Vin and every bloody Steel Inquisitor in Scadrial. And she owned them!
  • Vin vs. Ruin, this I remember. And of course TenSoon's part with the Atium supply
  • Sazed is the Hero of Ages. Somehow I feel this is better on the second read. His whole crisis of faith makes the whole ordeal more interesting, and also explains the whole "God who specifically prohibits his followers from worshipping him" angle we have in the Alloy of Law.
  • Okay, Alloy of Law go. Wait, I don't remember a character named Lessie. HEADSHOT. Oh, right, that's why
  • You know, I should have re-read Mistborn before I read the Alloy of Law the first time. There are so many significant names! Waxilium's last name is Ladrian, which means he's a probably a descendant of Breeze. Also, House Tekiel? House Yomen? That bloody Obligator has his own noble house?
  • Ah, two more metals revealed! Chromium and Bendalloy. Those time bubbles sure are handy.
  • How did they rob those trains? I can't seem to recall.
  • I don't remember them trying to take Marasi in addition to Steris? Oh well, more action.
  • Isn't it a bit weird that his uncle's butler is still around, seeing as his uncle is actually still alive? BETRAYAL! Oh right, that's why.
  • You know, for such a short book I sure have forgotten an awful lot of its plot. I knew there'd be a final showdown with Miles an the Vanishers, but I completely forgot the whole "Wax trapped in the Breaknought" part
  • I remember wondering "Could Ironeyes be a reference to Marsh?" and "So who is this Lord Mistborn" character the first time. Ironeyes was Marsh's bloody nickname you idiot, and the Lord Mistborn is Spook, of course.


All in all, re-reading Mistborn was extremely satisfying. It is an excellent fantasy series, and upon finishing I was very glad to hear that we'll soon have a sequel to The Alloy of Law.

Next up on my re-reading list: The Old Man's War series by John Scali