Mistborn: Secret History by Brandon Sanderson
Published: Dragonsteel Entertainment, Ltd. (Jan 26, 2016 )
Posted: Goodreads (Jun 30, 2016)
(5 / 5)
(Secret History and this review contains spoilers of the first three Mistborn novels.)
Did the survivor actually persist past death? What secrets does the Eleventh Metal hold? What is the larger state of the Cosmere Mistborn: Secret History explores those questions in the form of a novella.
The best way to read Secret History is after the 2nd novel of the Wax & Wayne series, The Bands of Mourning. So, including The Eleventh Metal (a short story prologue to the Mistborn RPG, revolving around Kelsier’s theft of the Eleventh Metal), this should be the 7th Mistborn “story” you read.
Regardless of what the author says to the contrary, his novellas *are* great (I really enjoyed Sel’s second story, the novella The Emperor’s Soul). That said, Secret History is essential reading if you want to dive into his Cosmere, fill in some gaps, recall events in the series, and read another Mistborn story.
What I really loved about it? It acts as a series companion, recap and original story all in one.
It would have been so easy for the author to write a series companion, or even to approve someone else to write it for him (as is the case with Stephen King’s The Dark Tower companions, though the Concordances were great). Brandon Sanderson stayed true to the spirit of Mistborn and wrote such candid revelations in story form. Does it work for Secret History? It does. It’s as if you’re seeing the world from a different perspective, a bird’s eye view, as it unfolded in the novels.
Unlike a companion, this is actually enjoying and fresh even though some of it repeats events in the series (the storytelling runs parallel to the story in the novels). It serves as a great resource and is interesting in its own right. (It runs parallel, the postscript stated, because it was actually written in pieces at the same time. This makes the fit great!)
Secret History explores almost every unanswered question you could have after reading the series. So much is discussed like Kelsier’s fate (obviously), inquisitors, godhood, Ruin and Ati, cosmere cosmology, and other things. If you’re a fan, this is what you’re looking for.
The only flaw? During just a few scenes Kelsier’s involvement felt like it was unnecessarily injected into some scenes. But it’s a strange criticism since the series was written with this in mind (the post script). Yet I couldn’t help feel that the original trilogy fit just as fine as it was. Good reading but at times it didn’t seem essential.
My reason for not letting that perceived flaw lower my enjoyment of this book is that Kelsier’s involvement – although the main story – is actually inconsequential to some degree. The storytelling is what matters. Sanderson’s ability to solidify Mistborn’s world in the imagination of readers is where Secret History thrives. Plus Kelsier’s story *did* did matter at other moments along the way.
The conclusion of Secret History left me wanting more. I can only hope that there’s similar stories in the future.
To continue to discuss the book would only give unnecessary spoilers. Suffice it to say that I thought Secret History really helped flesh out Sanderson’s world while providing an entertaining read from a great perspective. 5/5