Faith and trust are the two themes that Sanderson explores time and again in this trilogy. The series is well plotted and meticulously planned. All of the disparate and pesky bits of details which one would not have thought of as clues come together in the climax in the third book. The framework of magic that Sanderson develops (Allomancy – the use of metals to enhance physical power, the power to influence emotions, etc.), and the different magical species he creates are engaging. Best of all the magical species were a result of not just a foray into magical imagination but were pivotal to the resolution of the conflict and for the movement of the plot.
By the third book though I found my attention wandering (largely due to my impatience with some of the major characters in the book). For instance, I appreciate Sanderson’s exploration of faith through Sazed’s struggles in the third book; however, I could not find myself empathizing with Sazed (a major character in the book). His struggle with faith seems too pedantic; his realization that the transformation he has been subjecting himself to because of what Twindyl (Sazed’s love interest) admired too haste. His emotional movements are just too jerky for me. I had similar troubles with Vim’s (the heroine) and Elend’s (the hero) issues with trust in the second book – I found their characters a bit too cookie-cutter-ish to trust their moments of epiphany.
This combined with some of the story-arcs that I felt stretched on unnecessarily (Spook’s story line for one) made the trilogy a less than stellar experience for me. The first book of the series was the most engaging and the series went downhill from there. My impatience to find out how the different pieces fit together was the only linchpin in me finishing the whole series.
What I want to read next: Something solidly contemporary. I want to purge myself of all things magical before I latch on to Kristin Cashore’s Graceling which seems to have garnered some great reviews (and yes, I know it came out 3-4 years ago).
I have The Beautiful Mystery by Louise Penny loaded on to my Kindle (I found it at a literally throwaway price on Amazon). However, I also have The Maytrees by Annie Dillard on my wishlist and I’m wondering if I should get that instead. Hmm… What to do?!
Update: Well, I ended up getting The Snow Child by Eown Ivey instead!