Thursday, June 6, 2019

Review: MISTBORN: SECRET HISTORY by Brandon Sanderson

Rating: 3/5 stars

**This review contains SPOILERS for the Mistborn series. Do not continue unless you have already read all six Mistborn books plus Secret History.**

I’m really glad I decided to reread all three books of the Mistborn trilogy before reading Secret History because it starts off right in the middle of a crucial scene in The Final Empire. I actually started reading it at some point last year but after less than a page, I realized I didn’t remember the Mistborn books well enough to confidently read this novella, so a reread was necessary for me.

After finishing The Final Empire, I started Secret History but I just wasn’t connecting with it. So I decided to reread The Well of Ascension and The Hero of Ages and read Secret History alongside them, and I’m so happy I did that. There are little details and references here and there to what’s happening in the trilogy and I would have completely missed all of them had I not reread the Mistborn series to have those details fresh in my mind. I think it greatly enhanced my enjoyment of the story.

I want to note that it is crucial to read Mistborn: Secret History only after reading all six Mistborn books or, if like me you finished the series years ago and have forgotten many things, only after a REread of the original trilogy because of the nature of the story and because of spoilers for the entire series. Seriously, even though rereading the series takes time, it is necessary to fully understand the nuances of this novella.

With all that said, I actually found this novella to be a bit disappointing. I hate saying that but my expectations were just way too high here so I did feel a bit let down. I found it very hard to follow the story and place myself in the setting because of its ethereal nature. I also felt like nothing was happening and nothing Kelsier did really mattered until the very end. I feel so bad saying that, but I just don’t understand why Sanderson said that this novella answers many questions when it didn’t really feel that way to me.

One interesting thing that did happen though was that Khriss from Taldain shows up, as does Nazh. So now we know they are worldhoppers like Hoid, which I didn’t know before. Khriss tells Kelsier, “There is an original [planet], shrouded and hidden somewhere in the cosmere. I’ve yet to find it but I have found stories.” What planet is she talking about and which story is it related to? I’m rather interested to know.

I’m really glad this story covered the part in The Hero of Ages when Kelsier appeared to Spook in the burning building. It was nice to see the direct ties between stories rather than vague correlations.

Overall, I am happy that we get to see Kelsier’s perspective during the series after he dies, but I didn’t really understand how anything he was doing was that important. I hope that eventually it will click in my mind or I will reread this novella and it will suddenly all make sense to me because I really wanted to love this story. I would still recommend reading Secret History once you have finished all the other Mistborn books though.

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