As an attempt to “get my geek on” more often on my blog, I’m starting a feature called Fandom Friday, which let’s me share all of the things I love with my readers for no other reason than the sheer joy of it. (It’s also an excuse to legitimize the time I spend on Polyvore.) My first Fandom Friday feature here is dedicated to the Mistborn trilogy by Brandon Sanderson.
My intent for Fandom Friday is not to spoil anything for people who are unfamiliar with the material. I’ll stick primarily to comments that could be found on book covers and in reviews by critics. With that in mind…
Mistborn Features an Amazing Female Protagonist
I almost wrote that Mistborn features a strong female protagonist, but the adjective felt wrong. As someone who believes in feminism, I understand there is a tendency to look for “strong” female characters who are pretty unflappable. What I like about Vin, our heroine in Mistborn, is that she is a flawed character. She is a powerful woman, but she has baggage from a terrible childhood in this dystopian society she grew up in. She is unsure of herself, has bouts of depression, and has a lot of the same problems you might expect from a 17 year old girl living among men and boys. And of course, there’s her mark and love interest, Elend Venture. Yes, I said mark. Did I mention she starts out as a con artist? But none of the things that might be construed as weaknesses detract from her wholeness as a character. Instead, they make her three-dimensional, which can be difficult to accomplish in a fantasy series with an ensemble cast.
Allomancy: An Original System of Magic
It was hard to wrap my brain around Allomancy for most of the first book. Brandon Sanderson created a system of magic based on the properties of various metals. The magicians of his world, Allomancers, can “burn” one of the Allomantic metals by ingesting it – and each metal grants a different ability. Allomancers, as a general rule, can only burn one type of metal. Not two or three or four…just one. The exception to this rule is the Mistborn. If one is Mistborn, he or she can burn all of the metals, granting them access to all of the different powers they grant. This makes them nigh on invincible. Oh, and the handful of Mistborn out there have their own fantastic costume, the mistcloak.
I really want a mistcloak of my own.
Beautifully Crafted Writing
I love the Mistborn series, but hate the ending. I wrote about this when I first finished the series, a post entitled 5 Things Mistborn Taught Me About Writing. (The first part of that post is completely spoiler-free, but the last part contains serious spoilers, discussing what I didn’t like in great detail. I give plenty of warning before the spoilers start, so as long as you scroll responsibly, you won’t see too much.) Re-reading that post now is amusing. I had quite a visceral reaction to the way the third book ended. I let that taint my entire view of the series. Now, after I’ve read the books multiple times, I’m still disappointed about the ending, but I see exactly what Sanderson did to bring it about, and I truly appreciate his genius as a writer. His plot crafting and world building are brilliant, and I think the fact that the ending was such a gut punch is testament to how engaged I was with the series.
P.S. I actually told Brandon Sanderson I hated the ending at a book signing at NY Comic Con 2012. He told me he gets that a lot, and he defended his reasoning. I applaud him as a writer, but I retain my scowl as a reader. And I love that he was willing to discuss it with me, however briefly!
More Mistborn Fangirl Love
I’d recommend Mistborn to anyone who enjoys fantasy or young adult fiction. There is a bit of a learning curve in the first book to get the hang of how this world works, but the payoff is big when you make it through. And just for fun, here’s a couples outfit I created for Vin and Elend on Polyvore: