Thursday, January 10, 2013

Sanderson, Brandon (The Hero of Ages)

What a truly superior trilogy. I have lots and lots to say about it.

First and foremost, the third book is, as predicted, completely different from the first two. You'll recall I said the first one was about revolution, and that the second one is about government and politics. Perhaps not surprisingly, since the third book is much more about the mystical forces at work, it is about trust and faith. I'll admit that after reading the second book, I looked up the author and read more about him. It opened my eyes to learn that he is a devout member of the Church of Latter Day Saints. This connected well with the religious musings I'd already read.

In the third book, he socks it home.

If you've ever wanted to read a novel that takes our beliefs (and not just one belief) and provides an explanation for why we have created the structures we have inside those beliefs, this is the novel for you. For instance, at several points he points out the indiscriminate destruction of humans by certain forces, and then gives us an actual reason for why that is happening. He gives a pretty darn good explanation of why our sacraments have us eating the body of Christ. And he even has a go at trying to understand the creation myth-- why are we even here on this earth?

It's masterful, as well as quite thought-provoking. I can see some people being irritated by the manipulation of his story around our own real-life human story, but I think it's pretty darn subtle. It's not like he doesn't weave a fabulous story with his interesting characters, pull out yet more mysteries (hell, I couldn't even count the number of mysteries he revealed in the third book, it felt like one every 20 pages or so), and give us a great ending.

If I have one problem with the story, it's that it is tied up in a neat bow in the end, perhaps too neat a bow. I can't give anything away here, but if you felt the same way, I'd love to hear it.

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