I admit it, I'm a total fantasy novel junkie. There is nothing that I love to read more than a well-written fantasy series. I even read YA fantasy novels. Sometimes I get strange looks from the teens and tweens as I prowl the YA stacks in the public library, three year old in tow, looking for my next fix. And I'm not even ashamed of it.
Some of my favorite fantasy novels/series include (in no particular order):
Stardust by Neil Gaiman
The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling
The Lord of the Rings Trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien
The Abhorsen Trilogy by Garth Nix
The Farseer Trilogy by Robin Hobb
The Bartimaeus Trilogy by Jonathon Stroud
Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman
And this year I add another set of books to my ever expanding list of favorites:
The Mistborn Trilogy by Brandon Sanderson.
Brandon Sanderson is a relatively new author, but he has been asked to finish Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series, a set of books that is well loved by many of my fellow fantasy junkies. Although I'm not a big fan of WoT myself, as an avid reader I can imagine how apprehensive
many of Robert Jordan's fans would feel about someone else taking over the last book of the series. But, after reading Mistborn, I can see why Sanderson was chosen, and I don't think WoT fans have anything to worry about. Sanderson is a master worldbuilder and an extremely talented storyteller.
I was very impressed with Mistborn. Most fantasy novels have very similar themes.
- There is some sort of 'dark lord' or evil king
-There is a simple, ordinary member of the peasant class who is revealed to be the 'chosen one', or a prince in disguise.
- The chosen one leads a ragtag group of friends on a quest to defeat the dark lord.
- The dark lord is defeated and everyone lives happily ever after.
Brandon Sanderson's Mistborn turns those everyday fantasy themes upside down by asking some basic questions.
- What happens if the dark lord isn't defeated?
- What if the chosen one isn't who you think it is?
- What if the dark lord isn't who you think it is?
- What if the chosen one fails to complete the quest?
- What happens after the dark lord IS defeated and the government collapses?
Sanderson pairs those themes with a rich, detailed fantasy world and an awesome system of magic called Allomancy. In Mistborn there are certain people born with the ability to ingest metals and then 'burn' those metals in their stomaches in order to gain certain powers ( I wrote about this a few months ago when I first started the series). One of the powers gained is the ability to essentially make chunks of metal fly through the air, or to make yourself fly through the air by pushing yourself off of chunks of metal. This makes for some really great fight scenes.
I could talk about these books all day, but I have to go make lunch now, so I guess I'll stop. Suffice it to say that if you like fantasy, I absolutely recommend these books to you. And if you do read them you should check out Brandon's blog (link to the right) afterward, as well as his forum on timewastersguide.com. You'll find that there is a lot more to the Mistborn world and Allomancy than he put into the books.
Annnnd a big thanks to Eric, who bought me the last book in the trilogy for Christmas. Thanks, bro. As you can see, I loved it.