Published by Tor Books on July 25, 2006
In a world where ash falls from the sky, and mist dominates the night, an evil cloaks the land and stifles all life. The future of the empire rests on the shoulders of a troublemaker and his young apprentice. Together, can they fill the world with color once more?
In Brandon Sanderson's intriguing tale of love, loss, despair and hope, a new kind of magic enters the stage — Allomancy, a magic of the metals.
If I had to describe MISTBORN in one sentence it would be this: SIX OF CROWS for adults. Darker, grittier, and much slower pace-wise, MISTBORN certainly can be read by a YA audience but only those who are up for a lengthy journey. There’s no explicit sex for parents to be worried about, that’s not what makes this book adult. It just falls happily in line with other longer, slower adult fantasies. No instant gratification here, Sanderson makes you work for his satisfying story arcs.
Like SIX OF CROWS, MISTBORN is essentially a heist novel with magic as a means to an end. Many characters have it in some form or another but the main plot focus is the heist. Sanderson spends a great deal of time showing off his intricate magic system, based on the consuming and burning of different metals. It is unique and does not follow the same rules as “elemental” based magics such as GRISHA or SHADES OF MAGIC. Still it has the same feel, the same elegance of those, which make me excite every time they’re used. They’re quite beautifully created.
Why, you ask, if I like these sort of books with beautiful magic and intricate worldbuilding, did it take me so long to read? MISTBORN is not a short novel. Nor is it fast. To put this kind of time and effort into a book, I had to be convinced. The best way for me to do that was listen to the audio. Which is how I went about consuming MISTBORN.
The audio of this book is somewhere around 24 hours long, a hefty listen as well as a read. But unlike reading with my eyes, reading with my ears can be done as I go about my busy day. Chores, the walks to and from work, opening and closing my building, running errands, all can be done while listening. It’s ideal for these long adult fantasies I have not had time for in the past. And Sanderson’s book take up a lot of time. And shelf space for that matter.
The key to keeping one engaged in such a long audiobook is a good narrator. MISTBORN has Michael Kramer, who also reads for the SHADES OF MAGIC series and GRACE OF KINGS, two excellent adult fantasies of length. I was already familiar with Kramer from his performance on SHADES OF MAGIC, which I adored. He did not let me down for MISTBORN either. I think he’s earned a top 5 spot on my favorite narrators list, alongside Jim Dale and Victor Garber.
Besides magic system and worldbuilding, something about Sanderson’s writing just grabs you despite the slower pacing. The man has a talent for hooking your imagination. Paired with an exceptional narrator like Michael Kramer, I was lost in it.
For someone who was so wary of the hype surrounding Sanderson’s work I was delightfully surprised. Book two, WELL OF ASCENSION, is sitting happily in my audio queue as we speak. I can’t wait so see where the story goes next.
Who is your favorite narrator? Do you listen to books based on who is narrating alone? Share in the comments.
From my shelf to yours,