So how many aspects of good writing can you hack out of a Big Fat Fantasy and still have something I’m willing to read through—or at least skim through—to the end? Thanks to Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn trilogy, I now know the answer: almost all of them.
By any sane standard Mistborn is ninety percent pabulum. The prose is the written equivalent of an oatmeal-on-wonder-bread sandwich. The dialog is subtly unlike anything any human would actually say, but that’s understandable; the characters aren’t people so much as mannequins pushed around a chessboard by an army of tiny robots. The little narrative details that, in a good novel, give rise to its most memorable and vivid images are too ordinary to recall. There is humor—for a trilogy that builds to a total apocalypse, Mistborn is charmingly unwilling to sink into the kind of unrelieved bleakness that battered me into giving up on George R. R. Martin after four bloated books—but I only know it’s humor because, like a long-lost Wonder Twin, it takes the form of humor. None of it is funny.
Then there’s the underlying worldview, with which I have Issues. Continue reading Mistborn: Not Quite Awful