The Hero of Ages
by Brandon Sanderson
Recommended Ages: 14+
The only person qualified to interpret those prophecies, however, is a feruchemist named Sazed, an expert in all the extinct religions of the pre-Lord Ruler world. Unfortunately, he has lost hold of his own faith, or perhaps he has lost the ability to believe in anything. His lack of belief is challenged in these last days of the world - challenged by a youth named Spook who, impossibly, develops new powers; challenged by the hopes that gather around a heroic figure, similar to the late Kelsier, whose revolution against the Lord Ruler started it all; challenged by the tidings of a shape-changing kandra who finally puts Sazed in touch with the last surviving members of his people's forgotten religion. But while Vin, Elend, Spook, Sazed, the kandra TenSoon, and other fascinating characters struggle to hold back the tide of Ruin, events are racing ahead of them. A vast army of giant blue berserkers is closing in on the last refuge of mankind. A badly outnumbered defense force stands between a dark god and its heart's desire. And to the very last, the whole truth about the mists that seem to be destroying all life remains elusive.
Whether the story ends in mass extinction or not, may be judged by the fact this trilogy is succeeded by an additional series of three books, starting with The Alloy of Law. How happy or unhappy the ending is, I wouldn't tell you for the world. All I will say, for now, is that it's a surprise of eye-popping, gosh-wow amazement, tying up the loose threads of a phenomenal piece of fantasy world-building. Allomancy, feruchemy, and hemalurgy seem to be an endlessly intriguing, at times disturbing, triad of interrelated magics. The story's richly-textured thought world does not shrink from questions of theology, from creation to destruction, from fanatical belief to cynical despair. Politics, military tactics, moral dilemmas, and relationship issues all see significant treatment. And of course, the combat scenes are out of sight. If you haven't read a book by Brandon Sanderson (such as Elantris or the "Reckoners" trilogy), you have only to read one to believe what I'm telling you: He is a storyteller who can make you forget the hand-cramps that come from holding a really heavy book for hours on end. I look forward to doing elbow curls with more of his books.