Series Review: Mistborn Era 2
Okay! I’m trudging through all of Sanderson’s cosmere books, and have loved every single one of them. The first Mistborn trilogy, the tale of Vin and Elend, was absolutely amazing. But what Sanderson has done with Era 2 is even more incredible.
The main character, Waxillium Ladrian, is a Twinborn, a Steel Allomancer who can push off metal, essentially giving him the ability to fly in the industrial city of Elendel, and an Iron Ferring, who can manipulate his own weight.
Sanderson set up this magic system, of three metallic-based powers, of Allomancy, Feruchemy, and Hemalurgy, in Era 1, but combining it with an industrial form makes it even more awesome. For example, Wax can fire bullets from his gun and manipulate it, making it even more powerful.
I think what sets the Mistborn Era 2 apart is Brandon pushes the theoretical boundaries of the magic system. Sure, people can push metal around. Sure, it applies Newton’s laws, with if you are pushing something heavier, you’ll get pushed backwards. But what happens if you can make yourself heavier? Well, you could topple buildings. And that’s exactly what happens.
And while the new world of Era 2 is exceptional, worlds don’t make stories. Characters do. And the main trio of Wax, Wayne and Marasi is as powerful and fun as ever.
Wayne in particular is such a unique character. Sanderson messes around with voice so much, and his quirks seem just like quirks—his constant penchant for disguise, hats and accents—until it gets the trio out of scrapes, and serves them well. His backstory, and his history with Wax, really emphasises a strong bond between male characters, which is always something fun to see.
Marasi also has an excellent arc. And I absolutely shipped her with Wayne in Book 1. It seemed like Steris was pretty bland, and she was also removed from the plot of the entire first book, Alloy of Law. By contrast, Marasi seemed much more vibrant and an interesting character, and a great match for Wayne. I really liked how she wanted to work with Wax and Wayne because they were ‘legends,’ outback lawmen, and people whom she’d studied in law school. Her idealism became tempered with realism, sure, but it never really wavered.
I would have continued shipping her with Wayne, until Steris returned and had far more depth of character than I expected. Turns out she was hiding a lot more with her reserved nature and obsessive desire to plan for everything.
Actually, it leads to some very humorous sites. And despite my fears on it turning into a love triangle (one of my least favourite tropes, which I should probably cover soon), a really impactful thing happened. Marasi let go of Wax, and wished him well, and remained good friends. Wayne let go of Ranette, a woman for whom whom he had unrequited feelings. Wax let go of his own trauma. And though there was potential for a ‘woman in the refrigerator’ trope, I thought it was played excellently well, considering the twists in Shadows of Self.
And I think letting go is a definite theme of this series.
Elend, Vin, Sazed, Spook, Kelsier—they’re not the heroes anymore. They’re myths, gods. They’re the Last Emperor, the Ascendant Warrior, Harmony, the Lord Mistborn, the Survivor. It was time for a new story, for a new world. And Mistborn Era 2 accomplished that, with all of Sanderson’s flair and style.
I impatiently await The Lost Metal, which will complete this series. Brandon apparently got side tracked writing Stormlight Archives 4, which I completely understand, and I’m also looking forward to Rhythm of War at the end of the year.
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