Author Topic: Mistborn trilogy review and feedback(Beware spoilers)  (Read 7445 times)

shadow9d9

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Mistborn trilogy review and feedback(Beware spoilers)
« on: July 18, 2009, 01:00:35 AM »
I just finished reading the Mistborn trilogy back to back.  I keep a log of the books I have read and their score out of 5.  Nothing has ever gotten a 5, and everything 4 and above is a solid "recommend" from me.  I plan to forward this to Sanderson as feedback.  I will try to avoid spoilers.

I'll start by saying that I really enjoyed the series.  I rated them-
Mistborn- 4.35
The Well of Ascension- 4.05
Hero of the Ages- 3.75

Mistborn was the best of the 3 by far.  Interesting world, unique races, fun characters,  unique magic-like system, well paced, plenty of unexpected twists, and just the right amount of description.  The ending was decent as well.  Very good.

The Well of Ascension suffered from some problems.  First, the pacing was not as brisk as the first book, and often became bogged down in characters reminiscing or thinking over the same ideas/reflections over and over.   I do not need to hear for the 15th time how it is difficult to be king.  The first 14 were plenty.  Less reiterating please.  It gets redundant.

I could understand some mild refreshers of the story at the beginning. Time might have elapsed between reading the books.  It had the effect of ripping you out of the moment.  The story would stop cold for a refresher paragraph on very obvious points from the first book.  Maybe this would have been ok if it was during the first 20 pages, but even 400-600 pagesin, random paragraphs would continue to repeat tidbits from the first book!  Very jarring, took you out of the moment(as mentioned), wasn't subtle, and was honestly a bit condescending to an intelligent reader.

The book did have interesting twists and revelation, with an ok ending.

The third book was the least satisfying, with much more downtime where characters kept thinking the same thoughts over and over and over(Sazed, Elend, Vin, Spook). 

The book continued to randomly insert refresher paragraphs that just ripped me out of the story to tell me something I already knew from the first book and the reminders in the second book.  I mean, come on now.  500+ pages into the final book in a series the writer should not be repeating the basics from book 1!  Have enough respect for the reader, please!

With these 2 issues, the pacing and plot suffered.  The book also suffered from what many books suffer from, how to satisfyingly end a trilogy.  The ending has a rushed feel.  Too much of little significance occurs, the scope attempts to be grand, but ends up being obvious, too wordy, and a little preachy.

Endings are very hard to pull off, and is decent enough for a first outing.

Despite dwelling on some negatives, I enjoyed the books overall and will be reading more Sanderson books in the future. 
« Last Edit: July 18, 2009, 11:43:47 PM by shadow9d9 »

Valkynphyre

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Re: Mistborn trilogy review and feedback
« Reply #1 on: July 18, 2009, 03:31:13 AM »
Review of OP's review 1 out of 1o.

FAIL!

mistborn gets a solid 4.9 of 5
WoA 4.2
HoA 4.99

Best series ending I've yet read.
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Bururian

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Re: Mistborn trilogy review and feedback
« Reply #2 on: July 18, 2009, 06:00:15 AM »
Sounds like all you liked doing was focusing what you thought was bad in the books. This instantly brands a fail on your review. If you think stuff is getting repeated too much and you didn't like it, stop reading, don't come and complain to people about it. Also, the first book is called 'The Final Empire', not Mistborn. That's the title for the whole trilogy.

Mistborn is by far the best Trilogy I've read in a long time.
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shadow9d9

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Re: Mistborn trilogy review and feedback
« Reply #3 on: July 18, 2009, 04:16:20 PM »
Some people don't like to aim any criticism at what they love.  I criticize what I love the most, because I love it the most.  I never understood the refusal of people to look critically of what they love... it is like they are afraid to admit any faults for fear of breaking some fragile perfection that they have created in their head.

If the author or any creative person surrounds themselves by people who refuse to give constructive criticism and rate everything a perfect score, the person will never improve.  Look at Geroge Lucas in the extras of the newer trilogy.  The heads thought everything he did was pure gold and worshiped him. 

As for the ending.  It was way too perfect and happy...obvious too.  The author was trying to do too much at once right near the end.  TIt felt forced and unnecessary.  Too much time was spent on infodumping and preaching.

Again, if you felt it was appropriate to continue to remind readers about what happened in the first book, even into the 500+ page mark of the 3rd book, then you are so wrapped up with your love for the author that your blinders are on.
« Last Edit: July 18, 2009, 04:34:44 PM by shadow9d9 »

Reaves

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Re: Mistborn trilogy review and feedback
« Reply #4 on: July 18, 2009, 05:35:20 PM »
Personally I have no problem at all with someone reviewing an author's work critically. I think the difficulty comes when you begin to "critique" it unsolicited. While I'm sure Brandon would love feedback its hard for him to honestly accept your critique without either knowing you personally or your credentials. Are you a published author or reviewer? In other words, what makes you more qualified than the average Joe?

Anyway, those are just my thoughts. Welcome to these forums and I hope you enjoy your stay!
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Re: Mistborn trilogy review and feedback
« Reply #5 on: July 18, 2009, 06:01:33 PM »
Personally I have no problem at all with someone reviewing an author's work critically. I think the difficulty comes when you begin to "critique" it unsolicited. While I'm sure Brandon would love feedback its hard for him to honestly accept your critique without either knowing you personally or your credentials. Are you a published author or reviewer? In other words, what makes you more qualified than the average Joe?

Anyway, those are just my thoughts. Welcome to these forums and I hope you enjoy your stay!

I think that some of the OPs critiques were valid, but I had problems reading it because of the tone of the critique.

Example:

Quote
First, the pacing was not as brisk as the first book, and often became bogged down in characters reminiscing or thinking over the same ideas/reflections over and over.   I do not need to hear for the 15th time how it is difficult to be king.  The first 14 were plenty.  Less reiterating please.  It gets redundant.

I think the author of the critique thinks the underlined section was "cute."  It wasn't, and it does a great job in discrediting due to the fact that it's repetitive.  (Irony, anyone?) 

This wasn't the only problem I had with the critique, but I don't have the time, and would rather avoid pointing everything out.

Meh, and now I feel bad.
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shadow9d9

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Re: Mistborn trilogy review and feedback
« Reply #6 on: July 18, 2009, 06:58:15 PM »
"I think the difficulty comes when you begin to "critique" it unsolicited. While I'm sure Brandon would love feedback its hard for him to honestly accept your critique without either knowing you personally or your credentials."

You need credentials to have valid opinions?  If the problems presented are indeed there, wouldn't that validate itself?

First, you say that it is unsolicited.  In fact it isn't.  There is an option in his email system for feedback.  Second, you suggest ignoring suggestions, regardless of validity, because I'm not known personally or have 'credentials'. 

So, according to you: He reads and says "that makes sense" and then says to himself, "well, even though it makes sense, I should probably ignore it because I don't know him personally!"  Seriously? 

I get that people don't like criticism of their love interests, but the posturing here is juvenile and a little pathetic.  Not ONCE has someone actually addressed any of my points.  Just more of the typical attack the messenger and not the message.

He could do whatever he wants with the feedback.  If in his next trilogy/series, he insists on littering the books with constant reminders of obvious story points, I'll simply stop buying his books.  If enough people are turned off by it, they will do the same.  If that is what is desired, he can safely ignore the feedback of his readers.

The criticisms were made because I really enjoyed the series, despite it getting progressively worse.  I sincerely hope Mr. Sanderson takes some of the complaints in mind.  He is just shy of greatness, which is a lot to be said for a very first trilogy.  Who knows... maybe the editors are to blame for adding in the constant reminders.  I've never encountered a series with such problems before.  It is very easily corrected.


"It wasn't, and it does a great job in discrediting due to the fact that it's repetitive.  (Irony, anyone?)  "

It isn't irony when it is intentional.  You don't like me repeating the same thing in 3 paragraphs, but you don't mind the 20+ paragraphs of constant obvious reminders being repeated throughout the trilogy?
« Last Edit: July 18, 2009, 07:05:23 PM by shadow9d9 »

Aranfan

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Re: Mistborn trilogy review and feedback
« Reply #7 on: July 18, 2009, 08:24:40 PM »
Well, there's how you overwhelmingly concentrated on the things you considered negative.  That kind of cherry picking can make anything seem to be bad.  If you had balanced your review with things you thought Sanderson had done right in WoA and HoA, then you would probably be getting a much better reception.

douglas

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Re: Mistborn trilogy review and feedback
« Reply #8 on: July 18, 2009, 09:31:31 PM »
The Well of Ascension suffered from some problems.  First, the pacing was not as brisk as the first book, and often became bogged down in characters reminiscing or thinking over the same ideas/reflections over and over.   I do not need to hear for the 15th time how it is difficult to be king.  The first 14 were plenty.  Less reiterating please.  It gets redundant.

That... really does not at all match what I remember.  Some characters may have thought about certain things several times, but it was not just mindlessly rehashing the same things over and over.  Characters develop and learn, and showing that requires showing how their views and thoughts change.  It's been a while since I've read the book, but what I remember of the "tough to be king" stuff is not redundant repetition - it's showing Elend getting frustrated, and then Elend learning and improving.

I could understand some mild refreshers of the story at the beginning. Time might have elapsed between reading the books.  It had the effect of ripping you out of the moment.  The story would stop cold for a refresher paragraph on very obvious points from the first book.  Maybe this would have been ok if it was during the first 20 pages, but even 400-600 pagesin, random paragraphs would continue to repeat tidbits from the first book!  Very jarring, took you out of the moment(as mentioned), wasn't subtle, and was honestly a bit condescending to an intelligent reader.

Got any examples?  Beyond early refreshers on the magic systems and such, I did not notice any such phenomenon.  And before you ask, I am very intelligent and have an excellent memory.

The book did have interesting twists and revelation, with an ok ending.

I'll grant the ending may have been a little weak, but mainly because it was so focused on setting up book 3.

The third book was the least satisfying, with much more downtime where characters kept thinking the same thoughts over and over and over(Sazed, Elend, Vin, Spook). 

The book continued to randomly insert refresher paragraphs that just ripped me out of the story to tell me something I already knew from the first book and the reminders in the second book.  I mean, come on now.  500+ pages into the final book in a series the writer should not be repeating the basics from book 1!  Have enough respect for the reader, please!

Again, examples?

With these 2 issues, the pacing and plot suffered.  The book also suffered from what many books suffer from, how to satisfyingly end a trilogy.  The ending has a rushed feel.  Too much of little significance occurs, the scope attempts to be grand, but ends up being obvious, too wordy, and a little preachy.

 ???  What, exactly, got more than a passing mention in the ending and was "of little significance"?  As for it being obvious, the mountains upon mountains of speculation and debate about it in these forums and elsewhere contradict you pretty thoroughly.  It may seem "obvious" in hindsight, but it took plenty of people by surprise.  As for wordiness and preachiness, I think you may be a little overly sensitive there.

As for the ending.  It was way too perfect and happy...obvious too.  The author was trying to do too much at once right near the end.  TIt felt forced and unnecessary.  Too much time was spent on infodumping and preaching.

Did the deaths of Elend, Vin, and large portions of the human race mean nothing to you that you think it was "perfect" and "too happy"?

Ruin's defeat and the restoration of the world to normal were pretty obvious, yes, but that's an inevitable consequence of the near universality of Good winning in the end in modern fantasy.  You don't read a series like Mistborn to find out if Ruin gets beaten, you read it to find out how he gets beaten and what happens to everyone else.  Vin's suicide and Sazed ending up with both powers were major surprises for most readers, and then there's the Atium-burning army, the true purpose of the Lord Ruler's storage caches disaster shelters, etc.  If you think it was all obvious, either you are thinking with too much hindsight or you are improbably good at recognizing and correctly interpreting foreshadowing.

Again, if you felt it was appropriate to continue to remind readers about what happened in the first book, even into the 500+ page mark of the 3rd book, then you are so wrapped up with your love for the author that your blinders are on.

Again, examples?

I get that people don't like criticism of their love interests, but the posturing here is juvenile and a little pathetic.  Not ONCE has someone actually addressed any of my points.  Just more of the typical attack the messenger and not the message.

A point.  Here's some arguing about the message.

He could do whatever he wants with the feedback.  If in his next trilogy/series, he insists on littering the books with constant reminders of obvious story points, I'll simply stop buying his books.  If enough people are turned off by it, they will do the same.  If that is what is desired, he can safely ignore the feedback of his readers.

You keep mentioning these constant excessive reminders of obvious things, but you have yet to give any specifics, and if any such excessive redundant reminders are present they are well enough disguised and/or woven into the narrative that you are the first and only person I have EVER seen or heard even mention them, much less complain about them.

The criticisms were made because I really enjoyed the series, despite it getting progressively worse.

You are very much in the minority with that opinion.  I, and most of the other people here, think it got progressively better.

I sincerely hope Mr. Sanderson takes some of the complaints in mind.  He is just shy of greatness, which is a lot to be said for a very first trilogy.  Who knows... maybe the editors are to blame for adding in the constant reminders.  I've never encountered a series with such problems before.  It is very easily corrected.

And again...  Nah, I've said it enough already.

shadow9d9

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Re: Mistborn trilogy review and feedback
« Reply #9 on: July 18, 2009, 10:28:11 PM »
Well, there's how you overwhelmingly concentrated on the things you considered negative.  That kind of cherry picking can make anything seem to be bad.  If you had balanced your review with things you thought Sanderson had done right in WoA and HoA, then you would probably be getting a much better reception.

Except I highly rated the series and stated "Nothing has ever gotten a 5, and everything 4 and above is a solid "recommend" from me. "  Therefore, I still solidly recommended the first 2.

I also stated " Interesting world, unique races, fun characters,  unique magic-like system, well paced, plenty of unexpected twists, and just the right amount of description.  The ending was decent as well.  Very good."  Most of this applies to all 3 books.

I thought woa and hoa were not as good and stated why. 
« Last Edit: July 18, 2009, 10:52:39 PM by shadow9d9 »

shadow9d9

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Re: Mistborn trilogy review and feedback
« Reply #10 on: July 18, 2009, 10:51:51 PM »
The Well of Ascension suffered from some problems.  First, the pacing was not as brisk as the first book, and often became bogged down in characters reminiscing or thinking over the same ideas/reflections over and over.   I do not need to hear for the 15th time how it is difficult to be king.  The first 14 were plenty.  Less reiterating please.  It gets redundant.

That... really does not at all match what I remember.  Some characters may have thought about certain things several times, but it was not just mindlessly rehashing the same things over and over.  Characters develop and learn, and showing that requires showing how their views and thoughts change.  It's been a while since I've read the book, but what I remember of the "tough to be king" stuff is not redundant repetition - it's showing Elend getting frustrated, and then Elend learning and improving.

Elend repeating his poor confidence was something he thought over and over for the last 2 books.  It became ridiculous by the end.  Sorry you don't remember more.  Sazed and how he is lost in himself... over and over and over.  There was no development until the last 100 pages for Sazed.  He just whined the whole book with the exact same thoughts repeated.




Quote
I could understand some mild refreshers of the story at the beginning. Time might have elapsed between reading the books.  It had the effect of ripping you out of the moment.  The story would stop cold for a refresher paragraph on very obvious points from the first book.  Maybe this would have been ok if it was during the first 20 pages, but even 400-600 pagesin, random paragraphs would continue to repeat tidbits from the first book!  Very jarring, took you out of the moment(as mentioned), wasn't subtle, and was honestly a bit condescending to an intelligent reader.

Got any examples?  Beyond early refreshers on the magic systems and such, I did not notice any such phenomenon.  And before you ask, I am very intelligent and have an excellent memory.
Quote

You want me to go back through 2100 pages and start quoting every paragraph that reminded you-  Here is a short list of what was repeated multiple times throughout the second and third books just off the top of my head-
how the lord ruler was killed,
who Vin got her earring from,
how she drew upon the mists,
how allomancy works,
how vin felt at the balls,
what kelsier did-his sacrifice,
what kandra are,
what terrisman are,
what life was like under the lord ruler,
who Vin's brother was,
what happened to vin's brother,
how kelsier survived the pits and snapped,
how vin killed the lord ruler,
how Sazed was pierced through by Marsh,
how marsh turned into an inquisitor,
who left the picture of the flower... 

I turned to random pages and checking it out-  I did it for about 5 minutes and I came across these 2, which ironically are repeating the same thing 2 books later-

Hero of the Ages- page 106- "Hope is for the foolish..."
Hero of the Ages-page 402-"Reen had died protecting her..."   reiterating it again...
hoa- 182- "the book was alendi's logbook..."
HOA-223- "And the walls of course..."
HOA 261- 'They waited"
HOA-265- middle top paragraph- "She felt somewhat..." into the first paragraph "That day..."
HOA 383-"It had been one of Reen's..."
HOA-546- "So Vin did..."
hoa 598- "Somehow, she'd taken..."




Even smaller reminders were annoying-hoa- 222-"Vin crept past the guard post."  how many times is this repeated throughout the 3 books?  We get it.




Sorry you didn't notice, but I don't see how it could have been overlooked, unless you are used to having things repeated over and over.

Quote
With these 2 issues, the pacing and plot suffered.  The book also suffered from what many books suffer from, how to satisfyingly end a trilogy.  The ending has a rushed feel.  Too much of little significance occurs, the scope attempts to be grand, but ends up being obvious, too wordy, and a little preachy.

 ???  What, exactly, got more than a passing mention in the ending and was "of little significance"?  As for it being obvious, the mountains upon mountains of speculation and debate about it in these forums and elsewhere contradict you pretty thoroughly.  It may seem "obvious" in hindsight, but it took plenty of people by surprise.  As for wordiness and preachiness, I think you may be a little overly sensitive there.

Everything was rushed.  Vin fighting and getting ultimate power, the kandra ovethrowing the 1st gen, to be overthrown by the rebels, to be helped by the people.. the 16% getting their powers, then rushing to another cave, to fight and die...   It felt forced and unsatisfying to me.

Sazed got the power and made everything perfect.  Obvious and too perfect.  Everyone who dies is happy in the afterlife, a clear explanation is documented for everyone still alive in a tomb.  Just way too perfect and happy.




Quote
As for the ending.  It was way too perfect and happy...obvious too.  The author was trying to do too much at once right near the end.  TIt felt forced and unnecessary.  Too much time was spent on infodumping and preaching.

Did the deaths of Elend, Vin, and large portions of the human race mean nothing to you that you think it was "perfect" and "too happy"?"

They lived happily in the afterlife.

Quote
Ruin's defeat and the restoration of the world to normal were pretty obvious, yes, but that's an inevitable consequence of the near universality of Good winning in the end in modern fantasy.  You don't read a series like Mistborn to find out if Ruin gets beaten, you read it to find out how he gets beaten and what happens to everyone else.  Vin's suicide and Sazed ending up with both powers were major surprises for most readers, and then there's the Atium-burning army, the true purpose of the Lord Ruler's storage caches disaster shelters, etc.  If you think it was all obvious, either you are thinking with too much hindsight or you are improbably good at recognizing and correctly interpreting foreshadowing.
Quote

Sorry, as I said.  It was standard fantasy fare ending.  Happy and perfect restoration.  Add in pages of preaching and everyone living happily ever after in the afterlife.


Quote
He could do whatever he wants with the feedback.  If in his next trilogy/series, he insists on littering the books with constant reminders of obvious story points, I'll simply stop buying his books.  If enough people are turned off by it, they will do the same.  If that is what is desired, he can safely ignore the feedback of his readers.

You keep mentioning these constant excessive reminders of obvious things, but you have yet to give any specifics, and if any such excessive redundant reminders are present they are well enough disguised and/or woven into the narrative that you are the first and only person I have EVER seen or heard even mention them, much less complain about them.

I'm pretty sure the author and the editor are aware, since they went over the book many times.  I am not the first, nor will I be the last.  Fan forums are filled with people who are in complete love with a creator and will speak no ill will, or they will get pounced, like this thread.

Quotes from amazon- "with less of the repetitive soul-searching, angst, "

"Too much preaching about the wonders of faith for my tastes. Too much perfect god-like power,...poor pacing and repetition, deux in the machina and an unsatisfying ending."

"There was way too much repetition about where each character came from, their pasts in this book. We know that already. It was if the author was trying to fill the pages but I got so tired of reading the same sentence over and over again every few pages and every chapter."

"It's still amazing work, satisfying because it tied up all the (major) plot threads (while leaving some to dangle with tantalizing promise). But it was so hurried in the end!"

"In a nutshell, those first 400 pages amount to the repetitive documentation of all the angst suffered by the main characters over a variable number of armies sitting outside their walls, political problems, and "who am I" soul-searching."

"The narrative doesn't flow well, mainly because Sanderson interrupts the flow of the story with constant thoughts and feelings from every single POV character. There is a lot of "inner" dialogue going on in their heads, often reflecting on what the narrative has just explained. This results in a somewhat sluggish pace, forcing us to go through a lot of emo crap which serves little purpose in the overall scheme of things. . ."


Quote
The criticisms were made because I really enjoyed the series, despite it getting progressively worse.

You are very much in the minority with that opinion.  I, and most of the other people here, think it got progressively better.
Quote

Being in the minority does not affect the validity of an opinion.  Additionally, many, many reviews on amazon pointed to Hero of the Ages as the worst of the 3.  Really, do you expect a fan forum to have much open criticism?

Additionally, people in general like to stick with what they are familiar with and are afraid to be critical of what they love.  You see this in every genre of every hobby.  Unless something is abysmal or shockingly bad, there are always tons more glowing praise and few negative reviews.   Look at congress.  They overwhelmingly are supported by their own state, yet congress as a whole has a 19% or less approval rating.  Everything is great if it is yours.

« Last Edit: July 18, 2009, 11:40:55 PM by shadow9d9 »

JakobLayn

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Re: Mistborn trilogy review and feedback
« Reply #11 on: July 18, 2009, 11:11:07 PM »
OK but you forget the fact that Brandon Rushes almost pretty much everything he writes Elantris, TFE, WoA, HoA, and WarBreaker. its called the Brandon Avalanche, and yes even though he is repepetitive he ties it in to the present. You bring up valid points about the fans loving the work and not being overly critical...but thats whats fans are for they're thier to help increase sells and to promote the books. Fans are pretty much the best PR that can get. In fact its the only PR that you don't buy but actually pays you
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JakobLayn

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Re: Mistborn trilogy review and feedback
« Reply #12 on: July 18, 2009, 11:14:24 PM »
How do think that the same Congresmen/women are voted back in again ;D
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shadow9d9

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Re: Mistborn trilogy review and feedback
« Reply #13 on: July 18, 2009, 11:14:36 PM »
OK but you forget the fact that Brandon Rushes almost pretty much everything he writes Elantris, TFE, WoA, HoA, and WarBreaker. its called the Brandon Avalanche, and yes even though he is repepetitive he ties it in to the present. You bring up valid points about the fans loving the work and not being overly critical...but thats whats fans are for they're thier to help increase sells and to promote the books. Fans are pretty much the best PR that can get. In fact its the only PR that you don't buy but actually pays you

I am still updating the last big post, but I just added this-

"I turned to random pages and checking it out-  I did it for about 5 minutes and I came across these 2, which ironically are repeating the same thing 2 books later-

Hero of the Ages- page 106- "Hope is for the foolish..." paragraph
Hero of the Ages-page 402-"Reen had died protecting her..."  That paragraph- reiterating it again..."


Remember, he has reread the books multiple times... he even annotated it in on his site.  It would be very easy to reduce the amount of repetition.  

At first it felt like he was just trying to catch people up to the story in case they forgot, but it continued andgot worse through book 2 and 3.  Besides, at the end of the book, he includes recaps of the prior books.  Why not just add this to the BEGINNING of the book and remove the repetitive reminders?

shadow9d9

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Re: Mistborn trilogy review and feedback
« Reply #14 on: July 18, 2009, 11:15:14 PM »
How do think that the same Congresmen/women are voted back in again ;D

That is the point.  They are great if they are yours.