So I finally sat down and read the first book in Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn Trilogy, The Final Empire. First off, it was phenomenal. It has been a long time since I’ve read a 500+ page book in two days but I just couldn’t stop. Lucky for me, there are two more to read, (three if you count the next bunch of Mistborn books coming out now). But aside from an excellent book discovery, reading and looking into this book has introduced me to the world and resources of Brandon Sanderson.
Known for taking up the reins and finishing the Wheel of Time books, Sanderson is quite a prolific writer. In addition to his multiple series of books, he provides resources via his website that are truly invaluable to writers.
First, and most wonderful, are the full-book annotations for all of Sanderson’s work. He goes through his own books chapter-by-chapter, and sometimes scene-by-scene, and gives his impressions, thoughts and reflections about his own work. The insights into his process and mindset are incredibly helpful in understanding Sanderson as a writer and also in shedding light on the dynamic and expansive process that goes into writing an epic series like Mistborn. Personally, I find nothing more interesting than an author reflecting on his or her own work, especially when that work is something I am in love with.
Second is the Writing Excuses Podcast that Sanderson and three other writers have been putting out for quite some time. They are free 15-minute podcasts because “you’re in a hurry, and [they’re] not that smart.” You can subscribe on itunes and also go through their entire archives on their website. The authors are extremely articulate and their knowledge and insights about writing are fantastic. I have been listening non-stop for a few hours now, barely accomplishing much else because of how entertaining these guys are. I can’t recommend this podcast enough.
Sanderson is also fairly active online, doing multiple AMAs on Reddit and frequently contributing to forums. He is charismatic and brilliant, and this has completely become a gush session now because I can’t say enough good things about this man.
Mistborn: The Final Empire is a great book for so many reasons. It doesn’t feel cliche, the characters are all charming and interesting, and the magical and political systems are incredibly well-developed. The main character, Vin, a 15-year-old girl living the life of a thief, is swept up in a clever heist plot that takes place in a world destroyed by a tyrannical ruler. The book is perfectly paced, funny, dark, suspenseful, satisfying, and sincerely one of the best books I have read in a long time.