This book had so much in it! It’s the only book of the trilogy that I’ve only read once (so far, because I’ve started to read the whole thing again), and I’m still not sure my brain fully comprehends everything that happened. It certainly made me feel a whole range of different emotions. I laughed a lot, and smiled a lot, and cried a couple times, and felt really uncomfortable in moments, and mostly I just wanted to hug the whole series by the time I was through. This is probably the real reason I can’t write a real review here. My thoughts are way too scattered to be coherent, and there are spoilery things I must say!
So…I talked about some moral ambiguity in the last book. It was much bigger in this one. I’m not sure I liked who Elend ended up having to become. I much preferred him as the sloppy, disheveled scholar, and I like that he regained some of that near the end. It was parallel in a way to Vin’s journey of discovery in the last book.
There were so many revelations in this book, things that I can see there have been hints about since the beginning, now that I’m going back to reread. My biggest jaw-drop moment was when Vin realizes that Reen’s whisper in her head as been Ruin all along. At that moment, I knew: her earring was a hemalurgic spike! It all made sense – the reason she could draw on the mists when she killed the Lord Ruler was he’d ripped it out of her ear! I figured all that out waaaay before Vin, haha, but I guess I had more of the answers before she did as well.
I felt so sorry for Marsh. I love that in the one crucial moment, he was able to rebel just enough to save Vin, even as he sat there breaking her bones one by one (*shudder*).
I’m so glad TenSoon was a major character here, but I’m also sad that with everything he worked so hard to do for Vin, he never even had a chance to see her again. Vin never knew that he was trying to help, or that he’d learned that not all humans were bad. The kandra society in general was very interesting to learn about, and their role with the atium. I also loved the parallel of the First Generation and Lord Ruler to the way Kelsier’s friends couldn’t really worship him, having known him as a man. Religion in general played such a huge role in this book. I like how we got to see the point of view of someone who did actually worship the Lord Ruler, something we haven’t seen the whole series. I also liked Sazed’s slow battle with depression and faith, though I worried that it was going to devolve into a Christian allegory for awhile. Thankfully, it didn’t! Also, as a sidenote, I love how Sazed’s gender (as a eunuch) was address as part of the prophecies about the Hero of Ages. That’s not something I see often in books.
Spook. We hardly know anything about Spook before this book, but we learn so much of his story, and see him grow. He was fantastic. I loved that he figured out about the spikes and saved so many people. And his childhood, where his name came from…just so sad! We never did find out his real name.
In fact, there were several things that I never really found out in this book. We know Zane was spiked by Ruin and easy to spike because of his instability, but never why or when or who did it. We learn nothing of the incident. That’s just one example. There was a lot left unanswered, stuff that will probably never be answered. I didn’t mind, though. For some reason, that felt natural. Realistic. We can’t know everything.
One of the best moments of this book, the one that really brought tears to my eyes, came from Ham. Ham is one of my very favorite characters, and I smiled every time he showed up. There’s one moment when Elend asks if having the koloss attack Fadrex City is the right thing to do. Ham starts with his generalized philosophies, as he always does, but then stops himself and just says, “No.” It’s a crucial, crucial moment in the book, and really the only time Ham stops seeing both sides and makes a decision. He lands on the right side, and I wanted to hug him. That’s probably my favorite scene in the whole book.
Aaaaand I’ve babbled on too long. There was a reason I couldn’t write a review. There’s just too much in this series! I’m so happy I read it! That’s all. I’ll go away now.
Note: I listened to the audiobook version of this book, read by Michael Kramer, in March 2016. It was my first experience with the audio, having read this in print in the past. It was an odd experience, because several of the characters’ voices changed drastically from what they were on the first and second books’ performances. Not bad, just a bit odd.