Sorry for the delay. I’ve been doing a TON of edits on The Steel Armada, and fully expect to be done with it before the week is out.
Let me just say that one more time.
I am going to be done with the second draft of my novel sometime this week…
Anyway, that’s what I’ve been up to. For those of you who follow me on Goodreads, you’ll even see that my reading has slowed considerably, although I think I should be done with House of Many Ways by Wednesday.
So, let’s talk about this thing! This thing being Brandon Sanderson’s newest novella, Mistborn: Secret History.
Let me start now by saying that, if you haven’t read the original Mistborn trilogy, DO NOT read this review. Pretty much, this novella can not exist without the original trilogy, and honestly, would make a ton of sense without the Wayne and Wax books. If you’re not caught up, turn back now!
Ok! Here we go!
So, this novella, which was actually quite long, follows Kelsier after his death at the hands of the Lord Ruler.
Yup. You read that right.
This book is weird. It doesn’t follow Sanderson’s typical storytelling methods, and it reads a bit rough.
Kelsier basically talks his way out of passing into the true afterlife, and gets stuck in limbo. From there he’s able to witness the events of the original trilogy, and even has a very important role in the outcome.
To be honest, I’m not going to be able to rehash this tale in my usual detail. It’s too convoluted and complex. I’m still not entirely sure of everything that happened, so you’re going to have to read it yourself.
Some things I want to mention:
Despite my undying love for all things Mistborn, especially Kelsier, I’m still not sure how I feel about this story. There were a lot of moments where I wasn’t sold on the writing. A first for me when it comes to Sanderson. I think that’s directly linked to the lack of worldbuilding in this novella. In limbo, everything is just mist, occasionally taking on the reverse forms of the real world. Also, Kell is alone for most of the story. He’s a fantastic character, and by the end I remembered why I love him so much, and was so glad to have his continued story, but a novella of mostly monologue was…
That being said, there’s a ton of Cosmere references in this story. As a reminder, the Cosmere is the universe that all of Sanderson’s major works take place in. There’s a larger plot concerning the Cosmere as a whole, but it’s not remotely clear yet, and won’t be until all the worlds and books are explored. I was dying to understand what was happening, and I know there were some heavy drops sprinkled in. I just don’t know enough to recognize them yet.
And, I do think my distance from the original trilogy made reading this story more difficult. I didn’t remember a lot of the more subtle moments, or the less momentous. Even though I’ve read them three times, I never can quite remember all the minutia.
Anyway, the story follows Kelsier post-death as he follows the events of the trilogy. So you’re seeing the events of Mistborn: The Final Empire, The Well of Ascension, and The Hero of Ages from his spiritual perspective. He has limited vision and hearing, and he can’t really communicate with the living, so his point of view is a very different and complex take on the trilogy.
But, it does explain some key elements from the original novel, and hints that not everything is as it seems in the Wayne and Wax books.
That’s right. Kelsier never actually acquiesces his soul, so he’s still roaming limbo, using his limited abilities to effect the living. I’m not sure what all he’s done, but I have a feeling, if I reread some, I can find him, pulling string from beyond the grave.
But, the real highlight of this story for me was seeing Vin and Elend again. Post-death. I cried, just like I cry every time they die. It was so bittersweet, because Kelsier’s affection for Vin is much better explored and fleshed out. It was rough on my emotions. As usual with these characters.
So, without context, this book absolutely does not work. And honestly, if you’re just a casual fan of the original trilogy, I’m not sure you’d like it. This novella poses a lot of deep questions and toys with what you think you know upon completing the trilogy. It’s not for the faint of heart.
But, if you’re in this deep, like me, then it’s worthwhile. For me, it felt like stolen time. Kelsier was the first Sanderson character I fell in love with. He was my favorite, and he still has a special place in my heart. So, spending so much uninterrupted time with him was magical, even if the ramifications this novella causes are mind-numbing.
And I think that’s really the best part. This novella was incredibly nostalgic for me, while offering up a ton of information and questions for the continuation of not just the Mistborn series, but the Cosmere at large.
So, if you’re like me, and all caught up and dying for any kind of answers, give this novella a try. It’ll confuse you, but it will give you at least some sort of answers while we wait for the last Wayne and Wax book.
I plan on finishing House of Many Ways by Wednesday night, so I should have a book review out on Thursday. From there I’m reading Dragonflight by Anne McCaffrey. From there, I’m not entirely sure.
See you soon, Blogland, and as always, thanks for reading!