I finished this book several months ago and it's taken me quite a while to finally get this review of it out of my draft box. Hopefully that means I can now start to make some progress on clearing the other half a dozen or so reviews that are still sitting in there! :D Warning: the rest of this post contains major spoilers!
The previous two books in the Mistborn trilogy were certainly epic and suspenseful reads but The Hero of Ages is even more so and is the best series finale that I've come across ever since I first read Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows almost 10 years ago! The threats and perils that the characters face feel so intense and real in this book and Sanderson does a truly superb job of tying up all of the various loose ends of the trilogy in it e.g. we finally get to learn about the true nature and origin of the mists, how Scadriel came to look like it does, and the true identity of the Hero of Ages.
Another aspect of this book that I especially loved was the reveal that the threat to the world was so much greater than the Lord Ruler and that the Lord Ruler was actually well-meaning and good in comparison to how evil and terrible Ruin is! In that sense this trilogy reminds me so much of the experience of reading J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle-Earth books - where with each novel there was always brand new information revealed that would considerably enrich our understanding of everything that had gone on before. Because Tolkien first gave his readers The Hobbit, an epic story in its own right, and then followed that up with the even more epic The Lord of the Rings in which we learn that Bilbo's discovery of the one ring was far more significant than we thought. And then Tolkien eventually went on to follow the LOTR up with The Silmarillion in which we learn that the War of the Ring is only a tiny part of a history that has spanned 10s of 1000s of years and that the villain Sauron pales in comparison to how terrible Morgoth was.
Yet another aspect of this book that I especially loved was its wonderful character development. It was fascinating to find out how Elend has developed his new Mistborn powers and Spook, who has only been a fairly minor character up until now, gets far more page-time in this one and ends up getting one heck of an awesome character arc! And the ending of this book! It was so beautiful and moving and perfect that I was pretty much an emotional mess at the end :') I was so happy for Sazed and Spook! I was sad that both Vin and Elend died of course but I was glad that they both died together as I personally feel that it would have been far more tragic had one died and the other survived. And we know from Sazed's final letter to Spook that there's an afterlife in the Mistborn world and that the two of them are together and happy which I loved! And Kelsier even got to have a presence in this book as well!
This Mistborn trilogy is an amazing series that I would completely recommend to any fantasy fan and I'm certain that these books are going to continue to impress me in the future. I really want to read Sanderson's second Mistborn series as well now although I don't think I'm quite emotionally ready for those books yet and have decided to check out some of Sanderson's other fiction for a while. At the moment I'm currently reading his standalone novel Warbreaker and then later on in the year I'm hoping that I can make a start on his YA series The Reckoners :)