I haven’t kept any sort of real eye on new releases in decades, so I’ve only been peripherally aware of Brian Sanderson and Mistborn. And it’s popular enough that I couldn’t not be aware of it.

Generally, it lives up to its reputation. This isn’t deathless prose, but that’s certainly not a defining element of genre fiction. But the plot is solid, the characters get your sympathy early, and the world….

A lot of the raves are about the “magic system”, and make no mistake, it is quite unique. Personally, I was more interested in what we see going on it this partially-broken world. The motto for this series is stated by one of the main characters early on, “there’s always another secret.” There’s things that do get explained, and a lot that doesn’t. A thousand years ago, the typical epic fantasy quest to save the world with the help of prophesy happened. We find out the main part of what went wrong with that, but… there’s a lot left unsaid too. Sanderson does a nice job setting mood early on with constant ashfalls, and while the characters shrug off where it comes from and goes (they, after all, have no way of looking into it), I’m fairly certain that the causes were all part of the initial worldbuilding (and have suspicion of how it fits in to other things).

Now, this is a trilogy, but unusually, it’s actually a pretty good standalone book as well, with just the unanswered questions demanding more (including an obvious thread to pick up in the second book). A main plot is set into motion, with two viewpoint characters, and finishes with the book; since I can take a while to get to further books, this was nice to see. Best of all, it avoids the normal epic fantasy disease of needing half of the first first book just to set things up so the plot can get going. So far, this is not a favorite of mine in the genre, but it is quite good.