And at last, we reached the end. And what an ending it was! There were certain points I hadn’t remembered from my first read through of the book, even though there had been some (accurate!) speculation made by others already! It is somewhat nice to be able to find a surprise or two in a book you’ve already read. 🙂
This week the questions are from Carl of Stainless Steel Droppings, who is thus doing double duty, as he is also the host of this Group Read. 🙂
To wrap up this group read, I have attached the most wonderful image of Kedrik Shaw, Luthadel and a distant Ashmount I could find. This fantastic piece was done by Mike King.
Part Five of the group read discusses the Chapters Thirty-Five through to the Epilogue. Spoilers ahoy!
1. So, what do you think of Kelsier’s plan now? Or his ‘plan within a plan’? How do you feel the late introduction of the kandra and how it fit into Kelsier’s plan?
I think his plan was terribly tragic. He knew all along what his plan would likely cost him. Sure, he held out some small hope that in the final minutes he would discover the secret of the so called, ’11th metal’ but he knew almost as a certainty he would give his life.
Did you wonder where his ‘vast wealth’ had gone that was referenced here and there earlier in the book? It wasn’t squandered, it was used to contract the services of the Kandra that would play first as Renoux, and then Kelsier himself to lend weight to the words he uttered in the end, that he would never die, for he was hope.
What makes it such a tragedy in my mind, even beyond the fact that this plan ended his life, was the doubt and mistrust he endured at times from his crew while he lived. They saw that he was perhaps building himself up in the minds of the Skaa, and they worried that this was all ego-stroking and that it was perhaps becoming more important to Kelsier than what they perceived to be the ‘actual’ plan.
Even as they talked and whispered — before and perhaps after directly confronting Kelsier — Kelsier knew he would ultimately die to give them a chance at leading a true rebellion.
How does one face that down and still smile? With great difficulty and a lot of practice, I imagine.
For all it must have been hard for Kelsier, I do wonder if Vin had it rougher still.
I trusted you, Kelsier, she thought. I actually did — but you let me fall. You promised that your crews had no betrayals. What of this? What of your betrayal?
2. The final section of the book was very Vin-centric. How do you feel about the choices she made and did you have any worries/fears about what might happen to her before everything was resolved?
Difficult to say, honestly. Like Sazed, I can see the necessity of what she did. I just don’t know if it was really the ‘right’ or ‘smart’ thing to do. I particularly loved this quote from Vin:
“Why did you follow me? You should have stayed back and let me be stupid on my own!”
I remember when I first read the book, that I thought that while Vin was unlikely to die — despite seeing that Sanderson was willing to kill off what we would consider to be ‘main’ characters — I did worry that perhaps bad things may happen to her while in the hold of the Inquisitors and TLR. I wondered if perhaps we would see the end of this particular book with Vin still in custody.
Having Sazed appear and hulk out — after learning a thing or two from Vin! — was gratifying to see, and I far prefer how things actually played out than how I worried that they might. 🙂
3. After all that we find out that the Lord Ruler wasn’t the prophesied one after all. Surprised? Had you figured it out? What thoughts do you have about the big reveal, including how it tied into Sazed’s people?
This was actually the point I was referencing above! Apologies to those who had surmised this might be the case in earlier conversation as for the life of me I cannot recall who you were, or from which part, on whose blog this conversation happened.
But yes, this surprised me. Again. I had forgotten all about the switcheroo that went on here.
It does make perfect sense though, in an earlier (end of section, invisible) musing, I had mentioned that TLR was also a Feruchemist, but I hadn’t made quite enough of a leap to also connect that to meaning TLR had in fact been a Terrisman, meaning that he could not even possibly have been the Hero from the logbook.
However that means that there must’ve been a second book or diary they were drawing some of those chapter headings from. Because the quotes continued after the point where the logbook suddenly ended, and those second sets of quotes were quite clearly from TLR.
Which makes me think to when I mentioned that one of the quotes seemed much more ‘current’ than the others… That’d certainly explain that then. I wonder if we’ll hear more about this diary in the following books?
In any case, I wander! I do think that Sazed took the reveal and death of TLR a little too easily. Finding more about their religion had seemed to be something of a dream to Sazed, one that TLR could possibly have answered in his time left. Although I suppose that TLR would not precisely have been very disposed toward helping them with his final moments, and Sazed would likely be smart enough to realise this and wise enough to not dwell on it… So perhaps not too easily after all.
4. There was some back and forth about Elend throughout the story and we finally got to see him take a greater stand. Any predictions about what might happen in book two with Elend taking on leadership duties?
It is going to be an absolute mess. Marsh’s help will be invaluable, but may still be contested if other more senior Inquisitors were out and about when this all happened and then return.
Further, while some nobles may come around to Elend’s way of thinking, I suspect they will be a minority. Circumstance has bred them to be a ruthless bunch and they’ll be busily seeking ways to put their peers out of business — by slaughter if they must — and placing themselves higher up the power totem pole.
Then the Skaa were alluded to already having formed differing factions, and I can’t imagine all of these factions being willing to quite forgo the bloodshed against the nobles who have oppressed them for so long, killed their wives and daughters and more besides.
Then we have to remember that while Luthadel formed the capital of the Central Dominance, and housed their ‘God’, there were other regions which had slightly more independence even while TLR survived. I can’t imagine many of them giving that up too easily.
5. Lastly, provide a little wrap up of your experience with the book. What do you think Sanderson’s strengths are? How does this book stack up against other fantasies you’ve read?
I have greatly enjoyed going through this book again, especially in the context of a Group Read. This has been my first such experience and it has been brilliant, so thank-you very much to Carl for running the whole thing, and to Grace for encouraging me to join in even though it was quite late off the mark.
I know I’ve mentioned this several times — at least — now, but one of Sanderson’s greatest strengths is writing action scenes, even ones that have a high magic factor, in such a way that you can visualise them in such a crystal clear manner.
Another strength is the way in which he weaves the elements of the greater Cosmere universe together, without smacking you in the face with them. In fact, they’re subtle enough as to go unnoticed if you’re unaware that there even is a greater universe linking Sanderson’s worlds together, yet being there to learn from if you do. This is pretty spectacular, in my opinion.
As to how it stacks up against other fantasies I’ve read? Toughie. Story wise, and if we consider just this first volume, it is right up there amongst the best of them, which I consider to be Lynch and Rothfuss. Writing style while good doesn’t quite reach those heights. And if we consider the trilogy as a whole, the second book weighs things down like a noose weighted with lead.
The second book was Sanderson’s first sequel — that was published, anyway, I suppose — and it shows. However, not to put anyone off, because for all my displeasure at it as a whole, it does redeem itself quite significantly in the latter acts, and the third book is also pretty brilliant. I must admit too, that the first time I read through the Mistborn trilogy, the second and third books were ‘holding me back’ from diving into Rothfuss’ Wise Man’s Fear. I had the book, but needed to finish this trilogy first.
I am extremely interested to see how my opinions differ without that factor and instead in the much more enjoyable in general environment of a group read!
Bonus: My Thoughts as a Second-time Reader.
Contains full book and even series spoilers. Select/Highlight the text to read it if you’ve read before, or don’t mind the spoilers.
One of the parts I mean that link this so well into the greater Cosmere is this: Like the other metals, which were grouped into larger bases of four. There were the physical metals: iron, steel, tin and pewter. The mental metals: bronze, copper, zinc and brass. And . . . there were the time-affecting metals: gold and its allow, the atium and its alloy.
Vin doesn’t know to put it in the correct term, but the latter belongs to the Spiritual realm, the third realm of the Cosmere, along with the two she did correctly identify, the Cognitive Realm and Physical Realms.
This final section also revealed that there is more to the Mists than we may have believed.
We also heard the warnings from TLR that we do not understand what he does to protect everyone. As Vin noted, he said it present tense, as in, continued to do. We saw the weariness and mental exhaustion TLR was put under, and will in the next volumes become to be aware of Ruin and its influence even while within the constraints of it’s pool form.