Author: Brandon Sanderson
Published: July 17th 2006
Pages: 647 (Paperback)
Series: Mistborn #1
Synopsis from Goodreads: A thousand years ago evil came to the land. A dark lord rules through the aristocratic families and ordinary folk labor as slaves in volcanic ash fields. A troublemaker arrives. A rumored revolt depends on an untrustworthy criminal and a young girl who must master Allomancy, metal magic.
Epic fantasy is not a genre of which I have had much experience. Yeah, I have read a few high fantasy novels in my days, of course, but not nearly as many as I should have considering how much I actually enjoy them. Epic battles, magic, and if you’re lucky, dragons — why on earth would I pass that up?
Well…it’s quite embarrassing, but a huge part of why I seldom pick up these — often giant — books, has been just that: the mere size of them. 650+ pages tend to intimidate me, because…what if I don’t like it? Yes, if necessary, I do put down unfinished books from time to time, but it never feels very good, you know? Fantasy has therefore felt like too big of a commitment to me, but I won’t let this silly excuse hold me back any longer! Towards the end of last year, I made a silent promise to myself to crawl out of my comfort zone, and start exploring this huge and epic part of the world of books!
And now here I am, once again declaring my love for a book I normally never would have picked up. Without this promise to myself (or all the helpful people with recommendations on the internet for that matter), I wouldn’t have gotten to experience the awesomeness that is allomancy, or met any of the fabulous characters that resides in the Final Empire. And that, my friends, would have been plain sad.
This book may not have dragons, but it has some other great elements, whereof the magic was one of my absolute favourites. The synopsis doesn’t describe it that well, so I’m just going to give you a quick description of it. You see, in this world, some people can perform something called allomancy. To use allomancy, you need to do two things: 1. be born with another allomancer in your family, and 2. eat metal. It sounds pretty funny when you put it like that, but yeah, there are ten different kinds of metals, and when you have one of them in your system, it gives you a special ability. Which ability you get depends on which metal you have consumed. Most allomancers can only “burn” one of the ten metals, but some people, like our main protagonists, can use all.
Sounds super intriguing, right? I don’t know about you, but I have definitely never come across anything like it before, and I think it’s a very interesting idea. It was also what caught my attention, and made me want to pick up the book in the first place. Plus, other than the fact that it brought more originality to the story, it also put a nice limitation on what people could and could not do with their magic. I don’t like it very much when the characters have infinite power, and can do whatever the hell they like, for as long as they want. It creates a bit more suspense when you don’t know whether or not our heroes will run out of metal when they most need it. ;)
Then we have the other highlight of The Final Empire, which, in my opinion, is the characters, aka the most fabulous criminals ever. I thoroughly enjoyed each and every one of them, but, naturally, I liked and got the most close to the main protagonists. Vin, who in the beginning of the novel doesn’t even know of her own powers, was such a kick-ass character, and I loved reading from her perspective. Thanks to her harsh life on the streets, she is the very definition of distrusting, but she is also very smart and tough. Her development throughout the story is amazing, and I sure believed in it.
“In a way, the beatings were self-defeating. Bruises and welts mended, but each new lashing left Vin more hardened. Stronger.”
After that we have our second protagonist, Kelsier, and I’m actually not quite sure who I liked more (meaning I loved them both like crazy). Unlike Vin, you never really know what Kelsier is really up to, and he’s a lot more secretive. It’s kind of like this: First you see him through the eyes of strangers, and they see him as a troublemaker, but easy to like nonetheless. They see his big smile and they are swayed by his big words. Then you get to read from the perspective of Vin, who is closer to him, and cares about him, but also sees his other side. She sees his arrogance and his search for vengeance, his cruelty even. And last but not least, when you’re absolutely sure that you have gotten a hang of him, you follow Kelsier himself, and see that he may not be as self-important as many of his friends perceive him as. But who should you believe?
“Men rarely see their own actions as unjustified.”
Before moving on, I must say that I absolutely loved the relationship between Vin and Kelsier, which is kind of a mix between mentor-student, father-daughter, and friend-friend. Their scenes together were awesome, and it was so fascinating reading about how they saw each other throughout the novel. People often notice details about others that they don’t necessarily think about themselves, and they also interpret actions differently depending on their own experiences. For example, an act of selflessness can easily be perceived as betrayal in the eyes of a person who is used to being left behind, and so on. Being able to see the characters through different eyes is definitely what I love the most about multiple PoVs
“She always does that, Kelsier thought. Wherever she is, she tries to be as small and unnoticeable as possible. So tense. Vin didn’t sit, she crouched. She didn’t walk, she prowled.”
When it comes to the writing itself, it was nice and clever as well. The pacing was great, and even for me, who haven’t read that much epic fantasy, it wasn’t too difficult to follow what was happening. All the new terms and such were described well and at the appropriate moment, which I think is very important.
I could probably babble on and on about this book and everything in it forever, but to keep it short, just know that I really enjoyed reading it. The magic system and the characters were brilliant, and the plot was exciting and full of twisty twists. It was also hilarious, and awfully sad at some points (prepare yourself). You’re definitely in for a lot of action and excitement (and gore!), and if you’re a fan of fantasy, I believe you will like this very much. :)
To say the least, I loved this book, and I don’t regret one bit committing my time to it and the rest of the series! ;)
“Breeze raised an eyebrow, then laid a hand on Yeden’s shoulder. “You should try not to talk so much, friend,” he suggested. “You’ll sound far less stupid that way.”
“Lord! He’s either incredibly smooth or socially incompetent.”
“Good wine,” he said with a grunt. Then he looked over at Kelsier. “So the Pits really did drive you insane, eh?” “Completely,” Kelsier said with a straight face.”