Lately I've been trying to clean up all the unfinished series I have hanging around. So first up is the third volume in Brandon Sanderson's Mistborn trilogy, The Hero of Ages. Hagelrat, with the benefit of having read the first two novels, reviewed the book a year or so ago and quite liked it. Would I have the same impression with the added knowledge of 1,400 pages of back story under my belt?
Of course I would (was there ever any real doubt?). Sanderson continues to place his emphasis on character over action (although there are some fantastic battle sequences, including a massive smackdown in the opening chapters), and moves the story of Vin, Elend, and the creeping Deepness to a somewhat unexpected conclusion. Small items from the first novel suddenly become massively important, and when the Hero of Ages is finally revealed, it's the last person I expected it to be.
One of the (many) standouts of the book and the series in general has been the development of Vin as a protagonist. Sanderson paints a female character and refuses to allow her to become a cliche or follow a trite, compressed path to her ultimate realization. Like John Scalzi did in Zoe's Tale, Sanderson never forgets that Vin is a young girl, new to the powers she has inherited and the feelings she's experiencing for Elend. It's a slow, gradual fleshing out of a character, and it makes for one of the most satisfying heroes (or heroines) I've come across in traditional SF/f literature.
Okay - so I wouldn't recommend jumping into Hero of Ages like Hagelrat did (she is cheeky, and wont to do things like that ;-)), although Sanderson is very adept at catching you up on all the action from the previous two novels, I would definitely recommend the series as a whole as one of the high point in modern fantasy. Great job, and it actually makes me interested to dive into his sections of the Wheel of Time to see what he can bring to the table.