🎧 The Mistborn Saga by Brandon Sanderson @BrandSanderson @MichaelKramerVO @MacmillanAudio #LoveAudiobooks

Posted April 15, 2022 by KC in Book Review / 4 Comments

🎧  The Mistborn Saga by Brandon Sanderson @BrandSanderson @MichaelKramerVO @MacmillanAudio #LoveAudiobooksMistborn: The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson
Narrator: Michael Kramer
Series: Mistborn Saga #1
Published by MacMillan Audio on January 22, 2009
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Length: 24 hours, 39 minutes
Format: Audiobook
Source: Library
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One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarOne Star

For a thousand years the ash fell and no flowers bloomed. For a thousand years the Skaa slaved in misery and lived in fear. For a thousand years the Lord Ruler, the "Sliver of Infinity," reigned with absolute power and ultimate terror, divinely invincible. Then, when hope was so long lost that not even its memory remained, a terribly scarred, heart-broken half-Skaa rediscovered it in the depths of the Lord Ruler's most hellish prison.

Kelsier "snapped" and found in himself the powers of a Mistborn. A brilliant thief and natural leader, he turned his talents to the ultimate caper, with the Lord Ruler himself as the mark. Kelsier recruited the underworld's elite, the smartest and most trustworthy allomancers, each of whom shares one of his many powers, and all of whom relish a high-stakes challenge. Only then does he reveal his ultimate dream, not just the greatest heist in history, but the downfall of the divine despot. But even with the best criminal crew ever assembled, Kel's plan looks more like the ultimate long shot, until luck brings a ragged girl named Vin into his life.

Like him, she's a half-Skaa orphan, but she's lived a much harsher life. Vin has learned to expect betrayal from everyone she meets, and gotten it. She will have to learn to trust, if Kel is to help her master powers of which she never dreamed.

Brandon Sanderson is one of the best known authors of modern fantasy.  The largest Kickstarter of all time is not a beverage cooler or a smart watch, but to fund the publication of four secret novels he wrote during quarantine.*  He has a massive bibliography of original work as well as work he’s completed on behalf of a deceased fantasy author.  I’ve had his books in my TBR pile for years; however I was intimidated by the enormous catalogue of lengthy novels and was unsure of the best place to start.  On the advice of a friend, I started almost at the very beginning, with The Mistborn Saga.  These three books proved to be a perfect introduction to Sanderson’s work.

The trilogy follows a classic 3 Act model, and each book serves a distinct purpose.  The first book, The Final Empire, establishes the main characters and explains how the world, called Scadrial, works.  Vin is introduced as the primary protagonist.  Sanderson uses Vin’s ignorance as the vehicle to explain the magic behind and the political and social structure of Scadrial to the reader.  The details of the universe unfold so gracefully it never feels like a data dump.  Vin is the wary and abused urchin with undiscovered gifts that has the opportunity to rise to greatness with a band of thieves/rebels determined to overthrow the oppressive class structure and tyrannical leadership of the godlike Lord Ruler.

Although Vin is technically the hero (I considered Vin the ‘Frodo’ of this story), it is clear that other characters, such as Kelsier and Elend, are equally important members of the ‘Fellowship’.  The crew is made up of the standard cadre of characters; the leader, the gentleman, the intellectual, the rogue, the brute, the zealot, etc. who all contribute to Vin’s education and eventually become the family she really never had.  While they might take on the typical character tropes, they are not clichéd or one-dimensional.  The cast of villains are more obvious, but not necessarily in a bad way.  The physical description of the Inquisitors is terrifying while the atrocities the Nobles inflict on the Skaa and other subjugated races has the reader firmly rooting for the Lord Rulers downfall.

Rating Breakdown
Plot
One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarOne Star
Writing
One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarOne Star
Characters
One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarOne Star
Dialogue
One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarOne Star
Narration (Audio)
One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarOne Star
Overall: One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarOne Star

 

🎧  The Mistborn Saga by Brandon Sanderson @BrandSanderson @MichaelKramerVO @MacmillanAudio #LoveAudiobooksThe Well of Ascension by Brandon Sanderson
Narrator: Michael Kramer
Series: Mistborn Saga #2
Published by MacMillan Audio on May 4, 2010
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Length: 28 hours, 56 minutes
Format: Audiobook
Source: Library
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One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarOne Star

The Lord Ruler — the man who claimed to be god incarnate and brutally ruled the world for a thousand years — has been vanquished. But Kelsier, the hero who masterminded that triumph, is dead too, and now the awesome task of building a new world has been left to his young protégé, Vin, the former street urchin who is now the most powerful Mistborn in the land, and to the idealistic young nobleman she loves.

The Well of Ascension doesn’t start immediately after The Final Empire.  It picks up about a year afterwards as Vin and her companions struggle to keep their world from descending into chaos.  This is definitely a tension-builder of a book, as the protagonists struggle to decode the past, interpret the future, and to keep the wolves at bay.

Vin shares center stage with several other key players, such as Elend and Sazed.  The point of view switches more frequently, and the story is primarily told by a rotation of the crew’s former members.  Each character continues to develop and we get a greater understanding of their emotional state, inner demons, and ultimate desires as they tackle the obstacles and set-backs.  I really enjoyed watching the relationship build between Vin and her Kandra servant.  I felt helpless as a reader watching Elend and Vin struggle to uphold their ideals in the face of insurmountable opposition.  The addition of Kane, a mysterious Mistborn with questionable allegiance, added to the turmoil.

I kept forming likely outcomes, sure I could tell where the plot was going, only to have expectations shattered by a new revelation or deception.  Just when I thought I’d figured it all out, I was completely caught off guard by the conclusion.

Rating Breakdown
Plot
One StarOne StarOne StarOne Star
Writing
One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarOne Star
Characters
One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarOne Star
Dialogue
One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarOne Star
Narration (Audio)
One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarOne Star
Overall: One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarOne Star

🎧  The Mistborn Saga by Brandon Sanderson @BrandSanderson @MichaelKramerVO @MacmillanAudio #LoveAudiobooksThe Hero of Ages by Brandon Sanderson
Narrator: Michael Kramer
Series: Mistborn Saga #3
Published by MacMillan Audio on November 11, 20008
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Length: 27 hours, 25 minutes
Format: Audiobook
Source: Library
Goodreads
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One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarOne Star

To end the Final Empire and restore freedom, Vin killed the Lord Ruler. But as a result, the Deepness—the lethal form of the ubiquitous mists—is back, along with increasingly heavy ashfalls and ever more powerful earthquakes. Humanity appears to be doomed.

Having escaped death at the climax of The Well of Ascension only by becoming a Mistborn himself, Emperor Elend Venture hopes to find clues left behind by the Lord Ruler that will allow him to save the world. Vin is consumed with guilt at having been tricked into releasing the mystic force known as Ruin from the Well. Ruin wants to end the world, and its near omniscience and ability to warp reality make stopping it seem impossible. Vin can't even discuss it with Elend lest Ruin learn their plans!

Where we saw the group function together in The Final Empire and split into pairs or teams in The Well of Ascension, The Hero of Ages felt more solitary and compartmentalized.  The crew is fractured by purpose and loss, and even the nature of the evil they face prevents them from confiding in each other or being able to trust themselves.  I felt like each character had a journey to complete, whether that was physical or emotional.  While the title suggests a single hero of ages, each of the character was the hero of their own storyline.

The characters don’t just disperse metaphorically, they are physically as well.  In the first two books of the trilogy, the Central Dominance, the Seat of the Lord Ruler, is the arena for much of the action.   In The Hero of Ages, the characters are scattered throughout the Outer Dominances, where they are faced with rogue leaders and religious zealots.

Though the book started out fractured, it took the players coming back together and their individual stories intersecting before they stood a chance against the true enemy.  While so many factors had to happen to get to this point, it all comes back to Frodo, I mean Vin.  The way things played out might not have been exactly what I was hoping or expected would happen, but it brought the trilogy to a fitting conclusion.

Each book in The Mistborn Saga has its charms, its heroes, its triumphs and its angst.  I loved how the large cast of characters had moments to shine and I didn’t feel like they were cheated by any one story line.  I found the story to be primarily character driven and therefore didn’t touch much on the setting.  However, the colorless, ash-covered landscape and sinister mists certainly contributed to the overall ambiance of the books.  I expected to find very little (if any at all) romance in the story, but was pleasantly surprised at how romantic love was a major theme throughout the trilogy.  Brandon Sanderson’s reputation in the fantasy genre is well-deserved.  I am looking forward to reading the next set of books written in this world.  I hope to have them finished before my copies of the 4 secret novels are delivered!

*The story behind Brandon Sanderson’s wildly successful Kickstarter and what he did with the overabundance of funds is uplifting and worth checking out.

Rating Breakdown
Plot
One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarHalf a Star
Writing
One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarOne Star
Characters
One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarOne Star
Dialogue
One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarOne Star
Narration (Audio)
One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarOne Star
Overall: One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarOne Star

Narration:

Michael Kramer is a well-experienced and excellent narrator for The Mistborn Saga.  He did an excellent job with all of the characters and managed to make the character voices distinct without being cartoonish or over-acted.  I liked the continuity that he brought across the series, and am glad that the production company didn’t divide the narration across several performers.  I find audio is the best way to enjoy long, involved novels; but I also enjoyed reading these books in eformat.  Because it is a new world, it was little difficult to grasp specific names and places.  However, spelling and locations were easily found considering the vast amount of Mistborn related resources online.

Listen to a clip: HERE

About Michael Kramer

Audiobook veteran Michael Kramer has recorded more than two hundred audiobooks for trade publishers and many more for the Library of Congress Talking Books program. An AudioFile Earphones Award winner and an Audie Award nominee, he earned a Publishers Weekly Listen-Up Award for his reading of Savages by Don Winslow.

About Brandon Sanderson

Brandon Sanderson was born in 1975 in Lincoln, Nebraska. As a child Brandon enjoyed reading, but he lost interest in the types of titles often suggested to him, and by junior high he never cracked a book if he could help it. This changed when an eighth grade teacher gave him Dragonsbane by Barbara Hambly.

Brandon was working on his thirteenth novel when Moshe Feder at Tor Books bought the sixth he had written. Tor has published Elantris, the Mistborn trilogy and its followup The Alloy of Law, Warbreaker, and The Way of Kings and Words of Radiance, the first two in the planned ten-volume series The Stormlight Archive. He was chosen to complete Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series; 2009’s The Gathering Storm and 2010’s Towers of Midnight were followed by the final book in the series, A Memory of Light, in January 2013. Four books in his middle-grade Alcatraz vs. the Evil Librarians series have been released in new editions by Starscape, and his novella Infinity Blade Awakening was an ebook bestseller for Epic Games accompanying their acclaimed Infinity Blade iOS video game series. Two more novellas, Legion and The Emperor’s Soul, were released by Subterranean Press and Tachyon Publications in 2012, and 2013 brought two young adult novels, The Rithmatist from Tor and Steelheart from Delacorte.

The only author to make the short list for the David Gemmell Legend Award six times in four years, Brandon won that award in 2011 for The Way of Kings. The Emperor’s Soul won the 2013 Hugo Award for Best Novella. He has appeared on the New York Times Best-Seller List multiple times, with five novels hitting the #1 spot.

Currently living in Utah with his wife and children, Brandon teaches creative writing at Brigham Young University.

Rating Breakdown
Plot
One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarOne Star
Writing
One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarOne Star
Characters
One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarOne Star
Dialogue
One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarOne Star
Narration (Audio)
One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarOne Star
Overall: One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarOne Star
KC
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Posted April 15, 2022 by KC in Book Review / 4 Comments


4 responses to “🎧 The Mistborn Saga by Brandon Sanderson

  1. KC I’m so glad you have started on one of the best journeys I’ve taken in my life. I think I’ve read almost everything he has written and was one of the people who jumped onto the kickstarter bandwagon day 1. I loved the Mistborn series but I think Sanderson has grown so much as a writer since then and The Stormlight Archives are my personal favorite so far.

    Vin, Elend, Breeze, Kelsier and Sazed and so many more live as real people in my mind and I carry them with me still.