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Mistborn: The Final Empire (Book No. 1) Mass Market Paperback – July 31, 2007

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Sanderson's eerie second fantasy (after 2005's Elantris), set in a mist-haunted, ash-ridden world, pits Kelsier, "the Survivor of Hathsin," against the immortal Lord Ruler's 1,000-year domination of both the Great Houses and their serflike "skaa." Through Allomancy acquired in the Ruler's most hellish prison, Kelsier can "burn" 10 metals internally, fueling superhuman powers he uses to assemble rebels in a loose plan to destroy the nobility, the empire and the Lord Ruler himself. Kelsier uses Vin, a street urchin with the same Mistborn powers Kelsier possesses, to infiltrate the Great Houses' society, where she falls in love with philosopher prince Elend Venture. This mystico-metallurgical fantasy combines Vin's coming-of-age-in-magic and its well-worn theme of revolt against oppression with copious mutilations, a large-scale cast of thieves, cutthroats, conniving nobles and exotic mutants. The fast-paced action scenes temper Vin's interminable ballroom intrigues, while the characters, though not profoundly drawn, have a raw stereotypic appeal. (July)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Booklist

The Sliver of Infinity, the Lord Ruler, is the locus of religious and temporal order in a world in which the skaa are slaves or worse. Half-skaa erstwhile thief Kelsior is the only person to survive and escape the Lord Ruler's most brutal prison, in which, however, he discovered he has the powers of the Mistborn, which are based on the internal "burning" of certain metals, all of which the Mistborn can use, while most others can burn only one. Now Kelsior plans his most daring raid ever, into the center of the palace to discover the secret of the Lord Ruler's power. Beforehand, his band finds the half-skaa orphan Vin in another thieving crew, where she's useful because she brings good luck. She is also Mistborn and, if she can master and learn to trust her powers, will enable Kelsior's crew to infiltrate the nobility and possibly overthrow the status quo. Intrigue, politics, and conspiracies mesh complexly in a world Sanderson realizes in satisfying depth and peoples with impressive characters. Regina Schroeder
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 672 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Books; Reprint edition (July 31, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0765350386
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765350381
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1.1 x 6.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,030 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #8,013 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

I'm Brandon Sanderson, and I write stories of the fantastic: fantasy, science fiction, and thrillers.

January 2015 marks the release of Firefight, the sequel to Steelheart. When only evil people gain super powers and become tyrants, it's up to normal people to hunt them down. There is a free 5-chapter preview ebook of Steelheart here on Amazon that you should check out, with a corresponding sampler audiobook on Audible. My Firefight book tour in the US lasts throughout January.

Recent short releases are Legion: Skin Deep (sequel to Legion), the further investigations of an average man whose many hallucinations are all experts in their own fields, and also my novella Sixth of the Dusk, set in the same universe as Mistborn and Stormlight, revolving around an attack on an island trapper's way of life.

My biggest recent epic fantasy is Words of Radiance, written as a love letter of sorts to the epic fantasy genre. It continues the story of the Stormlight Archive that began in The Way of Kings, and it's the type of book I always dreamed epic fantasy could be. October 2015 and January 2016 will also see the release of two new Mistborn books, Shadows of Self and Bands of Mourning.

Mistborn and the Stormlight Archive are among my most popular works, as are my concluding volumes to Robert Jordan's epic series The Wheel of Time. My novella The Emperor's Soul won a Hugo Award in 2013. That year also marked the release of my first young adult fantasy, The Rithmatist.

Sample chapters from all of my books are available at brandonsanderson.com/library -- and check out the rest of my site for chapter-by-chapter annotations, deleted scenes, and more.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

174 of 185 people found the following review helpful By J. C. Amos on May 8, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I really wish that amazon would introduce a more intricate rating system than five stars, as this would get about 4.5 stars from me. After many failed attempts at starting up various fantasy series, Brandon Sanderson has delivered something refreshing and vastly entertaining. This is very nearly a five star novel, though there are a few simple discrepencies that keep Mistborn from being legendary.

- I was immideately pulled in by the bizarre world environment here. The idea of a land completely covered in ash at all times is strange and interesting.
- The "magic" system, if it can be called that, is unique and a breath of fresh air. For me, a lot of fantasy is ruined by overuse of magic and lack of explanation about how magic works. His use of metals and Allomancy is genius and it's apparent that Sanderson invested a lot of time into this system. It's fun and believable.
- Sanderson displays great world-building talents in Mistborn. Not only to we have a strange backdrop in the environment, but good history to fill it with. The mists and the Mistwraiths are weird and different.
- There is no lack of action here. While I might have liked a little more description on the larger battle scenes, the Allomancy battles were just plain fun to read. With the characters using their abilities to push themselves through the air and hurl large metal objects, it was almost as if they were battling superheroes, and strangely enough this really works. He paid great attention to the rules and science of the Allomancy he created and applied them to these battle scenes well.

- As others have noticed, characterization could use a little work.
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233 of 255 people found the following review helpful By B. Davis on February 8, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I picked up Mistborn on a lark- based in large point by the written praise of Robin Hobb (an author whose work I greatly enjoy. I have not yet read Elantris, the author's first work. So, with an open mind, I picked up Mistborn...

And was greatly impressed! I consider myself a fan of Jordan, Hobb, Martin, Erickson, Williams and have recently enjoyed the works of R. Scott Bakker. I can now add Brandon Sanderson to the list.

The product description, and some of the other reviews, give pretty accurate assessments of the story and plotline.

So, with that in mind, it's worth highlighting a few of the strengths and weaknesses of his story- with an eye toward hoping the weaknesses are resolved come book 2...


* Nice world-building

* Good story arch/plotline

* Original "magic" system


* Prose/dialogue/elocution: Several passages of inter-character discussions were ... just.. too explanatory. I (personally) try to gauge when reading items whether people in an actual conversation would speak the way an author portrays. And, unfortunately, especially after "major" plot points, I felt some of the conversations between characters were just... too long- near soliloquy's vs. being dialogue. Again, this is a style point and a personal tick of mine.

* "Generic" characterizations: Much has been made of Vin's ability to swiftly learn allomancy; however, both she and Kelsier were the most fully-drawn characters. Other characters- Marsh, Breeze, etc- were more shallowly drawn.
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87 of 97 people found the following review helpful By Eric James Stone on July 25, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Mistborn: The Final Empire is a fast-paced adventure with some fun characters, combining political intrigue with magical battles. The characters are interesting and the plot takes some unexpected turns.

The magic system is, perhaps, the element (pun intended, as you'll soon understand) that stands out most in the novel. Too often, the magic used in fantasy novels tends to either follow some rather stereotypical rules (casting verbal [often rhyming or using an ancient language] spells, potions, etc.) or to lack much in the way of discernable rules at all.

In the world of Mistborn, the magic system is based on swallowing certain metals that are then "burned" to provide the particular power granted by that metal. It means that in the strictest sense, the number of things that can be done with magic is limited by the less than a dozen known allomantic metals. (For example, pushing metal away is one power, and pulling metal toward you is another.) But by ingenious use of the various metals, Mistborn allomancers can do a lot of different things.

This is the first book of a trilogy, but fortunately it works well as a standalone novel as well. I've come to dislike being left hanging off a cliff at the end of a book.
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65 of 77 people found the following review helpful By Maria A on July 8, 2007
Format: Hardcover
For a thousand years, the Final Empire has been ruled by an immortal tyrant, but amidst the cities plagued by ashfalls, and a society torn by brutal class divisions, Kelsier, a charismatic underground leader, has devised the ultimate con game--a plan to overthrow the Lord Ruler himself.

The novel's lackluster premise is chock-full of genre stereotypes--the Hero, the Dark Lord on his Dark Throne, the oppressive empire. Eliza of the Pygmalion manifests yet again, as a young street girl puts on a gown and infiltrates the nobility--who have nothing better to do that backstab each other during endless balls. The Good Guys are immediately recognizable from the villains, and grey characters are an extreme rarity.

But as the story begins in earnest, the second half makes the book worth reading; once I read past the first 100 pages, I was reluctant to put MISTBORN down--I didn't, in fact, until I had finished the book. The author develops a magic system that is actually original and interesting, the characters' personalities deepen, and the plot takes unprecedented turns. Kelsier is no Locke Lamora[The Lies of Locke Lamora], but his bid for a military coup is far better thought out than he originally lets on. The ending is well done, with several clever plot twists, and I actually liked how the story behind the Lord Ruler played out.

All in all, MISTBORN is by no means a _great_ book, but it is definitely an _entertaining_ one, and I look forward to reading more novels by Brandon Sanderson in the future.
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