Tag Archives: faith and belief

The Hero of Ages by Brandon Sanderson

3 Stars

This is the last book in the Mistborn Trilogy.  There will be some spoilers for anyone who hasn’t read the previous two books.  I would recommend starting with The Final Empire first.

Tricked into releasing the divine power hidden at the Well of Ascension, they now know that this power was an evil and dark entity who is determined to see the utter destruction of the world.  The mists are engulfing everything, staying later everyday and killing people at random.  The ashmounts are spewing ash at an alarming rate, covering everything and choking out what little plant life there was in the world.  Somehow Elend and Vin are sure they can somehow stop this destruction from happening.

This is the last book in the trilogy and you do get the necessary explanations and loose ends tied up.  There is an ending, though it may not be as satisfying as many of us had hoped.  The same disappointments that I had from The Well of Ascension are back again.  Everyone doubts themselves, everyone is depressed and ready to give up.  Evil is taking over.  There’s nothing to live for.  Why do they even try.  Most of this book was just utterly depressing.  It was hard to slug through this epic 700+ pages of doom and gloom.

Faith and belief were the overwhelming theme to The Hero of Ages.  The last two books touched quite a bit on religion, faith and the power of belief.  But this book really ramps it up.  Sazed has lost his faith and seems to be coming undone.  He no longer believes in any of the religions he has studied and no longer tries to convert anyone to a religion because he no longer believes in them after watching so much death, including the death of his new-found love.  Vin and Elend also have their doubts and their crisis of faith.

Some of the more minor characters are able to shine a little more in this book, especially Spook.  His transformation was one of the more interesting parts of the story.  I was very satisfied with what happened to this once shy and quiet young man.

There were a few twists and surprises.  Some seemed to be there just for the sake of the surprise.  They didn’t add as much to the narrative as I had hoped.  While it was still a very strong novel, I think that the emphasis on faith and belief muddied the waters a bit and took away from the struggle for life.  The battles were almost afterthoughts and the climax was mostly anti-climatic.

If you were a fan of the first two Mistborn novels, you’ll want to read this one just for the sake of finishing the trilogy.  I was just sad that it didn’t end on a stronger note.

 

 

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Review: The Well of Ascension by Brandon Sanderson

3 Stars

**If you haven’t read The Final Empire yet, there are some small spoilers**

I loved The Final Empire.  It was one of the few books that I’ve almost given 5 stars to.  So I went into this book with pretty high expectations.  I absolutely loved Vin in the last book and I was really looking forward to watching her come more into her powers now that the Lord Ruler is gone and they have a real chance at freedom and a fair government that is inclusive of everyone.  But after 1000 years of oppressive rule by the Lord Ruler, there is now chaos as everyone seems to want to grab a crown and become a leader.

Elend Venture is now King, but his throne is tentative at best.  His father, Straff Venture, has already led his army of fifty thousand to Elend’s front gates.  The Assembly that he gathered to have a voice in the new government does nothing but squabble and Vin is busy fighting off assassination attempts.  Things start to look even more bleak as another army decides to march up to their gates.  Luthadel is now under siege and it falls to Vin, Elend and the crew that Kelsier brought together to somehow weather this storm and keep their revolution alive and keep the oppression from the past from dominating again.

Vin continues to hone her Mistborn skills, experimenting with new alloys and pushing the very limits of her power.  She fights off assassins and spars with another Mistborn that seems to want to seek her out.  She’s also known as Lady Heir, she has now taken the place of Kelsier who was known as both the Survivor and the Savior to the people that his actions helped free.  She finds that she’s becoming the center of a new and budding religion which leaves her feeling uncomfortable and unsure.  Add to that to an already full plate and to a woman who is already questioning herself and her validity and ability to live up to anyone’s standard, and you have a recipe for disaster.

A new problem develops that threatens not only the new government, but seemingly the entire world.  The mists that enveloped the world at night are becoming bolder, they are also present during the day.  It is said that the mists are killing people and bringing chaos in its wake.  The mists were kept at bay by the Lord Ruler but seem to have become stronger now that his influence is gone.  There is also a shadow within the mists that haunts Vin and makes her believe that the old prophesies are once again coming to pass.

It started well for me, I was hooked once again in this world of Allomancy and Feruchemy.  Magic and power that comes from elemental metals.  The characters were the same and it takes up very close to where The Final Empire left off.  But then it got bogged down and dragged on.  Nearly every chapter we have to listen to either Vin or Elend whine.  It was depressing and annoying to watch them become whiny little Emo brats.  I wanted to smack both of them over and over again.

Being that this is the second book in a trilogy, I didn’t expect to have the loose ends tied up and I really didn’t expect an explanation for everything.  But I was surprised by the lack of explanation for a lot of things.  There were threads that didn’t go anywhere, some that disappeared and some that just didn’t make any sense.  For me, this really detracted from what was otherwise a great story.  Also, the amount of time spent on faith, belief and religion was borderline annoying.  I wasn’t sure when this went from a fantasy novel to a religious tome.

It’s still a good story with some great action and the characters are still wonderful.  I was just underwhelmed with this book.  I’m hoping that the last book in the trilogy will give answers to the nagging questions and tie everything back together in at least a somewhat neat fashion.

 

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Review: The Trinity Game by Sean Chercover

3 Stars

Daniel Byrne has a tragic background.  Orphaned nearly from birth and taken in by his Uncle, Tim Trinity.  He’s raised by his uncle who is a tent revival preacher, a grifter and a con-man.  He runs away in his early teens and seeks sanctuary with the Catholic diocese of his neighborhood.  He goes to God looking for a miracle and turns his back on his girlfriend, his boxing career and his uncle to enter the seminary.  Fourteen years later he’s now an investigator with the Office of the Devil’s Advocate, working directly with the Vatican.  His job is to investigate reported miracles and to approve or deny them.  After 771 cases, he’s yet to find his miracle.  But his next assignment proves to be much different.  Is this the miracle he’s been looking for?  And if so, why is it manifesting in his con-man uncle, Reverend Tim Trinity?

Reverend Tim Trinity is not a man of God, he’s not even sure if he’s a believer anymore.  But something is working through him and he’s beginning to believe that the voices he hears and the tongues that he’s speaking in are coming directly from God.  He begins to speak in tongues during his sermons and when they are listened to later by experts, it’s found that he’s actually speaking backwards and what he’s saying is nothing short of amazing.  He’s able to predict with 100 percent accuracy everything from lottery results and horse races to impending disasters.  This ability has raised flags everywhere from the Vatican to the gambling dens of Las Vegas.  Most of them want to silence Trinity and make this phenomenon disappear.  Others want to believe that there is a miracle at work here and God is speaking to them through this former sinner.  One thing quickly becomes clear, there are people who will stop at nothing to make Reverend Tim Trinity disappear.

There is a lot of action and suspense built into this novel and it does go along at a fairly fast pace and I think that’s exactly what this story needed.  Just when you stopped to catch your breath, something else happened and you were off and running again.  For the most part, the characters were fleshed out very well and it was very easy to get a picture of them in your mind.  It was easy for me to relate to Daniel.  He isn’t a perfect priest, his belief is flawed, just like he is.  I think that really lends to the authenticity of what the author was trying to accomplish.  The true message doesn’t come until late in the novel and while it’s not a new message, it’s one that resonates and unfortunately one that always gets lost in the war of souls.

There were still too many loose ends for me and too many things left unexplained for me to bump this to 4 stars.  I don’t know if this was intentional.  This is the first book in a series and I think it’s always hard to review series books because there is always so much left unsaid and unfinished.  But I’m fairly sucked in so I’ll probably be picking up the next book sometime soon.

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