Stars: 5 out of 5
This book is a big step up from the first book in the series, at least in my opinion. The story is top notch, the stakes are higher than ever, and there is substantial character development. In short, everything I like in my books.
We had left Vin and Kelsier’s old crew in charge of the city of Luthadel, the capital of the Final Empire, right after Vin killed the Lord Ruler, thus ending over a thousand years of tyranny. It was a happy ending, of sorts, with the big bad deposited, and our heroes triumphant… minus Kelsier that is, and yes, I’m still salty about that one.
In this book, we deal with the aftermath. What happens after the revolution? After the dead are buried, the victory is celebrated, and people need to decided how to keep on living. There is a city to run, mouths to feed, order to be maintained… all of that while the rest of the Final Empire dissolves into bloody wars as nobles everywhere fight for power and a chance to declare themselves king of a small domain. Which means less people to work the fields and harvest food. And winter is coming. Now, there are three armies at the gates of Luthadel, the Assembly inside the city doesn’t accept Elend’s authority… oh, and the mists linger longer and longer after sunrise, and they started killing people.
I loved that the author put all of his characters through the wringer in this book. Vin, Elend, Sazed, and everyone else had some hard decisions to make, that came with great losses and responsibilities, and, yes, guilt they had to live with afterwards.
And because of that character growth, the relationship between Vin and Elend feels a lot more grounded. It’s not teenage inta-love anymore. They are allies, they trust each other, they are one another’s port in a storm and a strong shoulder to rely on when things get tough. This realization comes a bit later in the book for Vin, because she was still operating under the impression that she had to protect poor weak Elend, being a Mistborn and all. I love that she comes to realize that there are different kinds of strengths, and not having Allomantic powers doesn’t make a person weak or useless. I was on board and fully invested in their relationship in this book while it was mostly eye-rolling in the first one.
Sazed also had some major obstacles to overcome in this book, and I’m not sure where this left him. Damaged, certainly. Disillusioned, most definitely. Heartbroken. I think it was a hard realization for someone who spent his life preserving lore and memories, to discover that none of the religions he remembers could help him at the moment he needed it the most. Or that the greatest prophecy of his people, the one that brought about the Final Empire, was a lie. Something perverted by a greater evil.
I also loved how the stakes kept getting higher and higher in this book. It starts with a besieged city, which is already a desperate situation. But it ends with a much bigger catastrophe and even the annihilation of a whole caste of people, if Terris has truly been sacked by the Steel Inquisitors.
Our heroes fought against a tyrant, but in doing so, they brought something much worse into the world. The question is, what are they going to do about it now? I can’t wait to start book three and find out.
PS: This book had been languishing on my TBR list since 2014. I’m glad I finally got a chance to read it.