Mistborn: Secret History Review — 4 out of 5


My heart stopped for a second after reading the first sentence, just like my heart stopped after I read the epilogue from Bands. Reading this novella pulled me back to the first time I read Mistborn. The nostalgia hit me hard; I was a mess after reading this book. Sanderson said this book held some answers after one read Bands of Mourning. I did find some answers, but a lot more questions followed up right after! The big question was the how and that part was answered right from the beginning of the book. I really quite enjoyed this read, and as always I want more. I didn’t think the Mistborn series could get any better without the original crew, yet Sanderson made sure to prove me wrong. And I’m truly glad he did. I don’t even know how and where to begin to explain how I’m feeling about this series. Once you enter the Cosmere Realm, it’s impossible to get out. I couldn’t read books after this one, not even Calamity. It’s as if I’m in a trance, as I often say, where I feel as though I am currently living in a dream but whenever I read the books within the Cosmere, that’s my reality. I was an emotional wreck after reading this novella, the Cosmere world, especially Mistborn just really pulls on my emotions.

This novella starts off where we last saw Kelsier from the original Mistborn series, the day he faced the Inquisitors and the Lord Ruler, Rashek himself. We got to see his side of the story during this face off, what had happened after the Lord Ruler had killed him. This whole novel is all about Kelsier, (*cue fan cheers*), about what happened to him and it sort of gives you an idea as to what he’s up to and how he ended up in Bands (really hope you listened to Sanderson and read it before reading this). From meeting Preservation, whom he calls Fuzz. As a way of greeting, Kelsier punches him in the face, this amused me. To meeting Hoid, whom he called Drifter, we witness him transfer from the Cognitive Realm to the Physical Realm. Finding out Kel was a wild card played by Hoid, then Preservation telling us that Hoid is known as Cephandrius in this world. We witness Kel see how Vin and his crew were controlled by Ruin, and how he couldn’t do much to help them. It was painful to see how he tried to stop Vin from unleashing the power, how he stabbed Elend to get Vin to use the power on him (yeah, he’s the reason as to why this happened). Kel wanted to get back into the Physical Realm, so he finds a way to help Preservation by stopping Ruin. We get to see Kel go on this mission while witnessing what’s happening to their world, how it’s slowly falling apart. The little detail that Sanderson adds here was something I quite enjoyed. The moments where Kel had to touch something from the Physical Realm in order to see his path towards it. It expands his vision, color starts to pour in and he gets to hear people talk, otherwise he only sees their spirit paired with a dull world.

Things got pretty intense from here on out. Preservation was fading and knowing Kel, he would never give up unless there isn’t anything left to do about it. So he leaves, promises Preservation to return and help him destroy Ruin. Preservation begs for him to stay and not leave him, but Kel isn’t the type to give up especially if he knows there’s a way to fix things. This was when Preservation let Kel inside him, Kel saw everything, how Preservation is everywhere and everything. From air to grass, he even saw the atium and asked to go back to see more. Kel saw the future and knew no matter what he did, he couldn’t beat Ruin. He heard it, “You are mine, Survivor.” But he did see who could, Vin. So he tells Preservation to continue with resisting and stopping Ruin while Kelsier heads West. Preservation warns him that what he saw may not be true, but Kel said it started off with him heading west so he has to do it. So Kel left and finds 2 Terris people; Khriss of Taldain and her employ, Nazh. They teach him about the Ire, the Shards, and Ati. Khriss said Ati seems to not know how to Splinter another Shard, or perhaps he doesn’t have the strength but Kel isn’t aware of what the Shards mean. Khriss explained it as the Shards being a piece of god but not god himself.

The gods, Ruin, Preservation, Autonomy, Cultivation, Devotion, altogether there are 16 of them. A force or a being, they weren’t sure but 16 people together, killed him. Ripping apart his being and dividing the essence between them, becoming the first who Ascended. They were a group who wanted his power and others thought his death was the good option. Two of those created this planet, including the people on it. This part was quite intriuging to read, especially since they were expanding on about the Cosmere itself, the Shards and which gods rule what world. The fact that they are aware of this seems like they’re breaking the fourth wall. We also find out that the Ire are the Elders who’ve been here a lot longer than most. Albeit, I learned later on that they are part of the Elantris world, which means Sanderson may have these two series to correlate with one another! Now back to the story; they advised Kelsier to find the Ire and seek their help. From here on out Kel meets the Ire, noticed they weren’t on his side of the battle and did what he does best, trick them into doing what he wants. The way he planned this was quite ingenious and amusing. Seeing how the Ire were trying to steal Preservation’s power to have for themselves was something I did not expect. I was hoping they would be one of the good guys. Once Kel got the Orb, he runs back as fast as he could but once he returns he finds Preservation thinning out of existence. His thread of essence was slowly fading away, once he followed it he saw how Ruin was growing a lot stronger.

Kel felt Preservation’s power running through him, he noticed that Vin seemed to notice his presence. He chased her, I was getting goosebumps, I remembered this scene. She had assumed it was Kel or Preservation. Then he talks about how he’s enjoying this moment, how he missed doing this with Vin. His protégé now at her excellence. But Ruin intercepts and harms Kelsier whenever he tries to come close to Vin. This was also when Elend’s brother came in the picture and tried to take Vin away. Things started to get darker from here. Kel witnessed how Ruin had full control over Vin and Elend, how he used Kelsier’s voice to get inside Spook’s head and how his brother Marsh is so inhuman, that he seemed to be soulless while he sat there with ash falling on him. A horrific sight for Kel, especially since he couldn’t do much about it. Kel knew the plan was to have Vin take Preservation’s powers, so Kel had to find Vin and get to her. To tell her not to use any metal, but this task was a lot harder than it seemed. As Kel was about to find Spook or Sazed, he felt Preservation dying. His energy fading, Kel couldn’t find his thread of essence. He screamed and yelled for Preservation. This was too heartbreaking to read, I was tearing up.

Kel then decided to take Preservation’s power and give it to Vin, that was the only way. He wouldn’t let Preservation die without his plan working. He begged for Preservation to give him the power so he can give it to Vin. Before Preservation died, he told Kelsier to do better, to do what he told Kel years ago at the Pits.

To survive.

Then Kel the dead Ascended.

Kel tried to fight Ruin, but their powers clashed like fire and water. He could hear everyone’s thoughts but they couldn’t hear him. Ruin was too strong. He tried to get to Vin and just as she seemed to have heard or felt his presence, Ruin pulled him away. Kel tried to reach his brother and heard Marsh encouraging himself. Telling himself to remember who he was and fight. This was both saddening and beautiful to hear, knowing how Marsh was during all this. It gave Kelsier hope, knowing his brother is still fighting even after all he’s been through. Since Kel couldn’t be of help in Luthadel, he decided to go with a different strategy. This was when he decided to go to Spook and reach out to the boy. Kel and Ruin were fighting and countering one another’s words. Ruin kept telling Spook to kill the woman, and the Allomancers but Kel just kept repeating “hope”. Then Spook pulled the spike free from himself. Kel wondered why Preservation’s Connection was stronger with Spook than Vin. Kelsier held Spook as he fell and saw how all the boy ever wanted was to be like Kelsier. It broke Kel’s heart, the amount of faith Spook had on Kel. The things Spook went through. Kel told him to fight and Spook did, told people to move and leave. Then Sazed came up and Kel felt comfort and warmth. This was so sad. Kelsier felt every pain Spook had when he stepped, but he encouraged the boy, no, the young man to continue onward. He can talk to Spook, due to the strong Connection. Kel knew that madmen and those with Connection to Preservation can talk to him, and he noticed that Spook had this in him.

So he kept on trying.

The place was on fire, Kel heard Spook’s thoughts. He thinks Kel never cared about him, that he didn’t matter. How everyone had jobs that were given to them. Kel weeped as he apologized to Spook, saying “I’m sorry, for what you must do, Survivor.” Then Spook entered the flames and saved the city. That’s when Spook had a dream of Kel. Kelsier told him that he’s a hero and this was when Kel told Spook about the spike. Told him to tell Vin and to remember it when he wakes up. The next day Goradel left Urteau with a metal plate, a message written on it for Vin. Kel realized Preservation’s plan later, when Marsh was breaking Vin. He pulled her earring and Kel knew, the message was meant for Marsh not Vin. Kel used this moment to attack Ruin, to distract him from what his brother had done. Then Vin consumed Preservation’s power.

Kelsier saw that Elend was seeing ‘the Beyond’ and ran towards him when Marsh was about to kill him. But he was too late. He held the man, knowing Vin would be outraged. But, instead she was amazing. She fought and glowed and destroyed Ruin.

Then it turned rusting heartbreaking from here.

Elend tripped his way in the Cognitive Realm, then Vin showed up. I cried during this scene. Their reunion. It was so sad and heartwhelming all at once. Vin thanked Kelsier and he was so proud of her. The daughter he and Mare never had. Kelsier begged for her to stay. Sazed entered and said he fixed both Vin and Elend’s bodies if they wish to return, but they both decided to move on together. Broke my heart to see Kelsier feeling alone. Not truly understanding love, yet he was so proud that she now smiles. I did quite enjoy when Ruin entered the Cognitive Realm, Kel went up to punch the man. Kel didn’t want this to be his end, so he speaks to Sazed for a bit, both not knowing this would be where their expedition led them at the end. Kel told Sazed to fix Spook up a little and to make him a Mistborn. Kel then asked Sazed if he could be in human form again, but Sazed said it wasn’t possible yet Kelsier knew that he was lying and even as a god he was still a terrible liar.

In the epilogue it shows us a POV of Spook. Spook was still trying to get used to his new life of normalcy, he’s the king now. He saw a note on his desk, with an earring. He recalled a dream of someone telling him to find metal from Kredik Shaw and forge it.

When he put it on, Kelsier popped up in his room. Kel said Spook has both a broken mind and had a spike, that’s why Spook can talk and see him. This was when Kelsier reels Spook to plan a way for them to use the spikes to help Kel gain his human form.

Kelsier’s story has not ended yet. It just begun, so will the fun and like he said “The end was not the end.” Because “there’s always another secret.”

Professional Reader


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