He was… what had Fuzz said? A Cognitive Shadow? A force of mind, holding his spirit together, preventing it from diffusing.
– Brandon Sanderson, Mistborn: Secret History
Secret History is a companion story to the Mistborn saga and should be read right after the First Era (after Hero of Ages). It tells the story of Kelsier after him getting killed by Lord Ruler. Originally it was published as a standalone ebook, but now it’s a part of Arcanum Unbounded: The Cosmere Collection.
Brandon Sanderson said that he doesn’t like ressurections. Neither do I. Kelsier’s revival had been plotted though long before he was killed so it feels natural. Sort of. I mean, everyone and their mothers had expected it. And yet the way it was carried out… Kelsier simply being stubborn and refusing to go away? Meh. The rulse were bent and I hate when authors do it. It’s cheating. I sincerly believe that Brandon could come up with something better.
But that’s the problem of the whole book, not only Kelsier’s ressurection: it feels forced. We follow Kelsier all the time and his interactions with other entities are inferior to what we’re accustomed to from the other works of Sanderson. Encounters are short, unrewarding1 and rather irrelevant. Brandon managed to use 40.0002 words to do a recap of first 3 Mistborn books and describe Kelsier running between places. Not very great.
However, Secret History defends itself by giving us some answers about cosmere and how it works. We learn about 3 cosmere Realms, the nature of death and some other technicalities. And we learn the new motives of Kelsier: he wants to return to Physical Realm.
Due to these it is a must-read for deeply Invested (hehe) cosmere geeks who absorb all the smallest pieces of lore, do 2-3 re-reads, read all the wobs and discuss their theories on Reddit. To all the others – ordinary people who simply like a good story – I feel it’s an easy pass.