Secret History by Brandon Sanderson (Mini Review, Spoiler Free)

Secret HistoryInformation

Goodreads: Secret History
Series: Mistborn #3.5
Source: Purchased
Published: January 26, 2016

Official Summary

Mistborn: Secret History is a companion story to the original Mistborn trilogy.

As such, it contains HUGE SPOILERS for the books Mistborn (The Final Empire), The Well of Ascension, and The Hero of Ages. It also contains very minor spoilers for the book The Bands of Mourning.

Mistborn: Secret History builds upon the characterization, events, and worldbuilding of the original trilogy. Reading it without that background will be a confusing process at best.

In short, this isn’t the place to start your journey into Mistborn. (Though if you have read the trilogy—but it has been a while—you should be just fine, so long as you remember the characters and the general plot of the books.)

Saying anything more here risks revealing too much. Even knowledge of this story’s existence is, in a way, a spoiler.

There’s always another secret.


As you can see from the official summary, saying basically anything specific about this book is considered a spoiler (I’ve seen bloggers agree), which makes it really hard to write a review. However, I’ll try to be as vague as possible while still being helpful.

I’m torn on this book because on one hand I thought it was fascinating to read–not necessarily because of the secrets revealed but just because it has a really great plot. Sanderson knows how to write excitement, and he doesn’t fall short in this novella.  It’s just a really good read.

On the other hand, I’m a little sad I read this because it really exemplifies Sanderson’s need to try to explain everything about his fantasy worlds.  I follow the school of Tolkien in thinking it adds something to a fantasy to have some things left unexplained, to believe there’s also something more, wonderful and mysterious, just back another layer.  Sanderson is all about stripping away mystique to prove to readers he has an explanation for everything, and I don’t always want one. However, I’m a sucker for anything he writes, so he could publish something titled “How Exactly My Entire Cosmere Functions” and I would buy it.

I’ve seen other readers suggest reading this only about Mistborn #6, which is what I did. However, I think I personally would have been fine reading it after Mistborn #3 and perhaps would have preferred that.  It’s been a while since I read the original Mistborn trilogy, and I would have liked to remember more of the details from that in order to read this novella.  That said, a general knowledge was sufficient, if not ideal.

4 stars Briana

11 thoughts on “Secret History by Brandon Sanderson (Mini Review, Spoiler Free)

  1. Bailey says:

    Hmmm that’s too bad. I probably won’t read it then. I like that Sanderson is methodical, but at times, it’s too much for me. My favorite novella of his so far has been The Emperor’s Soul because it was so story oriented rather than methodical.


  2. Jamie Wu says:

    I think it definitely should be read after Mistborn #6 for best enjoyment of Mistborn #6. Some of the scenes might be less impactful otherwise. Sanderson does like to explain everything, and I love it, though I can see why some people might not. The Stormlight Archive doesn’t reveal as much, the magic system is definitely less defined, though that probably is because it’s only two books in.


    • Briana says:

      Sometimes I like the explanations, and sometimes I think he could benefit from trimming them, so maybe I’m just a fickle mood reader. :p Mistborn is possibly the worst for in-depth descriptions of how how magical fight scenes work, so The Stormlight Archive is a nice break from that!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Briana says:

      As far as I know it’s only available as an ebook, and I also found out about it from a blog! So I guess they’re not doing a fantastic job of advertising it. :p


  3. Ellen @ Quest Reviews says:

    I think I read Mistborn back in the day… remind me… is it about people who are like crucibles, they can swallow metals, burn them inside their bodies, and then become superpowered while the metals are in them? Is that right? Or is this a whooooole other book? I checked the Wikipedia page for Mistborn and was inconclusive.

    Needless to say, whichever book I DID read, it was pretty awesome, and I need to finish out the series.


  4. Lianne @ says:

    Great review Briana! Thinking on it now, I think it can be read after reading the third Mistborn book instead of waiting until you finish Bands of Mourning as I also found it didn’t greatly impact books 4 – 6 (though I think it will affect book 7) 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Briana says:

      I didn’t really think it would have spoiled anything for book 6 for me, but some people think it would so…I don’t know! I guess anyone who’s really adamant about avoiding spoilers should just wait? I actually had no idea there was going to be a book 7 until I finished 6 and it clearly wasn’t over.. :p


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