Mistborn: The Final Empire (Book No. 1) Mass Market Paperback – July 31, 2007
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“Intrigue, politics, and conspiracies mesh complexly in a world Sanderson realizes in satisfying depth and peoples with impressive characters.” ―Booklist on Mistborn
“Enjoyable, adventurous read that. . .should satisfy even easily-bored teens.” ―Locus on Mistborn
“A fascinating world . . . one that deserves a sequel.” ―The Washington Post on Mistborn
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There is a lot of violence. Gory violence. I need to remind people that this is a young adult book with lots of adult themes. Young adult does not mean it is okay to read to your children. This book should be read by people who are over 18, but that is my opinion. I would never want this book read to anyone under 14, though just 14 or 15 would be pretty messed up too. I don't remember the story containing any harsh language, and I don't remember any sexual scenes. However, there are mentions of 'whore-masters' as they call them in the book. Prostitution is not a main theme, and it is very minor and only mentioned off on the side, not affecting any main characters. There are mentions of a rape-and-kill situation of a CHILD, but the child is not harmed in the end.
The book contains very dark themes, just as one would expect from their type of setting. Morals are all but thrown out the window with murder and such, so that's another reason not to read it to children. It should be read by someone who understands what their morals are.
So this book was really really enjoyable.
Our main character, 16-year-old Vin is working as a theif to a street criminal when she is recruited to work with the infamous mistborn, Kelsier. Keliser is wanted by the Empire as a fugitive who escaped their jail several years earlier. Vin, having known only heartless criminals, learns that sometimes people can be nice and trustworthy.
Kelsier, being the iconic crazy guy that he is, plans to overthrow the empire to free all the Skaa slaves from abuse and oppression. With many hiccups and problems along the way, the stakes are high as he takes on the immortal and godlike Lord Ruler.
The magic system in this world is wonderfully unique, as Allomancers eat metals and each metal gives an Allomancer a different ability. Most Allomancers are just Mistings (who only have the ability to use and burn one metal). Then you have the rare Mistborn who can use and burn all of the metals.
I loved all of Kelsier's crew and I have to say my favorite is Sazed because he is the scholar (and I always have a soft spot for the scholars). Sazed is not your typical Allomancer. He actually stores his abilities in metals so that he can draw upon them later. Sazed is also a kindhearted and loyal companion to Vin.
I love this whole book, however as I was reading the 4th section there was a lot of repetition of points that were being made about the way this world works that allowd me to predict the ending and all the details quite accurately. I would have liked for it to be less predictable, but I still really and truly enjoyed the ending. The whole book and the magic system were very well constructed and there were so many good characters to love. Also this book made me tear up, and for it to do that on top of everything else is quite as feat as I'm not a cryer.
Loved this book and plan to start the next one in the series very soon!
The series is set in a world where there are massive “ashfalls”, from volcanoes, and other ecological disasters. In the midst of this, the ruler and “deity” over the world, known as the “Lord Ruler” controls the massive caste system in his world-wide empire. The upper-crust, called the “nobility”, are those whose ancestors are said to have supported the Lord Ruler's rise to power as he fought against the evil forces destined to destroy the world before his “ascent” to “godhood”. The truth is that the Lord Ruler is *not* a god. He is a man who gained power upon doing the mighty deeds of legend, and in the intervening years grown more and more evil. He has destroyed all of the prophecies and religions in the world before his time. Thus all truth is removed from the world. Only a small underground network of scholars is left trying to use magic to preserve knowledge and seek out the truth.
The nobility rules over the under-class, called skaa. These people are shorter in stature, though arguably stronger physically, and lacking the traits which give them magical powers called “Allomancy”. Allomancy is the ability to take swallowed amounts of specifically mixed metal alloys of different varieties, that are then “burned” by the Allomancer's body to perform feats. These Allomancers are split into groups according to their ability. Either an Allomancer can burn only one metal granting them a specific power, or they can burn *all* metals to exercise all of the powers. Those that can do such are called “Mistings” and “Mistborn”, respectively.
The Lord Ruler, to prevent the existence of skaa Mistings and Mistborn, who could rebel against him, outlaws romantic relationships between the nobility and the skaa, only allowing such to take place if the nobleman kills the skaa before she can become pregnant, as well as trying to kill so-called “half-breeds”. Some such half-breeds escape alive and turn to crime to survive, or a few legitimate businesses while hiding their abilities. This is a world where the Lord Ruler uses magic, physical violence, and psychological warfare, to oppress the populace. This is about to change.
One of the “thieving crews” of skaa decide to attempt the impossible. They are to attempt to help the insignificant skaa rebellion to overthrow the Final Empire and kill the tyrannical Lord Ruler. Things seem to be impossible, and indeed, there are many setbacks. But in the end, it just might happen.
The best part of the story is that the author learned from such greats as Robert Jordan, and Robert Jordan's inspiration, J. R. R. Tolkien. What I mean by this is that Sanderson managed to infuse the story with the same sense of wonder and friendship that Tolkien used in *The Lord of the Rings*, as well as the same emphases on themes of friendship and sacrifice, and a detailed, well-though out mythology.
The systems of Allomancy and Feruchemy, the other major (also metal-based) magic system are very intricate. The author clearly spent quite some time thinking over his systems of magic, and the story certainly benefits from it. The various ecological, and geographical, aspects of the world and it's problems, are also described in *pain-staking* detail.
Perhaps the best part of the book, in my opinion, was the earlier referenced focus on friendship. The ways that the characters love each other and look out for each other. Vin, one of the two main protagonists of the novel, is looked after and tutored by another half-skaa Mistborn, named Kelsier. It is Kelsier's vision and planning that results in the team's successful rebellion at the end of the book.
Vin starts out not trusting anyone, but slowly, over the course of the novel, Kelsier and his crew invited her into their midst. They slowly show her the true meaning of friendship and help her to learn that people, *can*, indeed, love and trust each other.
I can't really think of anything to dislike about the book, except that I wish that the “love story” was not so rushed. It made no real sense in the tale. We have Vin's point of view, but not her love interest's. That really made it hard to “root” for the characters. Or, at least, to root for the love interest. Only the passion of Vin makes the couple anything interesting. Oh, don't get me wrong. The love interest *is* interesting, but his thoughts are so limited on any subject, and most of the time he has a point of view, he spends hardly any time thinking about how he loves Vin, or “Vallette” as he knows her, as compared to other topics.
All together a fun novel, and a good introduction to the “Mistborn” world. I look forward to starting the second book, *Mistborn: The Well of Ascension* soon.
Top international reviews
This book focuses on a young street thief called Vin who despite beatings and mistreatments has continued to survive in the harsh realities of The Final Empire. Vin is a Skaa, a sort of peasant/serf class who are used and killed by the nobility and the Lord Ruler, an immortal god who rules over the empire. During a job with her thieving crew Vin is introduced to a world she doesn't realises existed and is shown there is more that can be done than merely survive.
My synopsis is pretty vague there but I don't want to spoil too much of the story. Brandon Sanderson has a great writing style and sense of pace, while there is a lot of great action scenes it's littered with quieter more character driven moments. Speaking of which, the characters in my opinion are excellent, well written, humorous, and easily rememerable thanks to their stand out personalities and abilities. Seeing Vin grow as the book goes on as she starts to trust people more is really well written and the world she inhabbits is equally both interesting and depressing in equal measure.
The magic system that my friend enjoyed reading game rules is no less fantastic in the actual novels. I say magic but it's more of a power or ability some people have where swallowing small amounts of metals and then burning them in their stomachs like a fuel will allow them to perform certain actions ( being kind of vague again XD ). Depending on the metal swallowed, depends on the ability it can do, there are a limited amount of metals that do anything and not everyone can use every type. The thing I like about it the most I never really felt like there was much of a Deus ex Machina type moment, the power is limiting and at the same time versatile. The reader knows the extend of what the characters can do yet Sanderson often manages to find new ways to use those abilities within those boundaries. It's very clever and feels really unique compared with any other fantasy book i've ever read.
The book is also surprisingly substantial at nearly 700 pages yet never seems to outlive it's welcome. All in all The Final Empire: Mistborn book one is a fantastic fantasy novel and I can't wait to get to the latter books I haven't read yet as well as some of his other works.
+ Characters are great.
+ Well written.
+ Magic/Power system is superb.
+ Interesting setting.
But more importantly, the novel is filled with characters that have depth and meaning behind their actions, they drive the story rather than are driven by it. I don't mean to say that the characterization is always deep and perfect, because there are some of the peripheral characters that edge towards one-dimension, but the core is rich and satisfying. The main characters, a teenage girl street urchin called Vin and her violent yet principled mentor Kelsier, grow and change as events unfold and feel very convincing throughout. Their magic is limited by interesting, understandable "physics" that makes the difficulty of their task - ending a terrible caste system whereby most of the population are slaves, by defeating the god-like Lord Ruler and his powerful administration - feel plausibly hopeless and desperate. Finally, it is the story arc in this series that I like most. It does not feel like evil itself is the problem that is most difficult to overcome - but instead, making something good.
If you are considering reading this book, then you probably should.
Mistborn is basically a heist book set on a world where the 'Dark One' has won and has been ruling for a thousand years. Certain people can burn metals which allows them to do certain things like become stronger, manipulate emotions or push/pull off of metal etc. In this world we are introduced to Vin, a young orphan working for a thieving crew of Skaa (lower class) whose path interacts with Kelsier and his crew to formulate a grand plan.
The book is mainly told from the POV of Vin with a few Kelsier POV sections thrown in as well. Vin is a great character, she starts off very distrustful and reticent but gradually comes out of her shell as she comes to terms with the crew and her new situation. Her joy in learning the Mistborn skills is palpable and I think is one of the main reasons this book was so successful. I do think she became too entranced too quickly with the noble lifestyle, you don't get over the years of what she went through that quickly but other than that I enjoyed her journey.
Kelsier is great and I actually I think I prefer him now than I did when I last read this over six years ago. Yes he can be vain and thinks far too much of himself but it is mostly justified and it is great seeing his plan come together. I remember disliking him somewhat due to his attitude to the nobility but honestly if you think about it it is entirely understandable. I'm not saying I condone wanton killings but if we lived in a world like they do I would understand the complete hatred that Kelsier and others have.
This is actually a really dark book by Sanderson standards. The world is awful but feels quite real and is a place you really wouldn't want to live in, especially for the Skaa. These themes of eugenics is somewhat touched on but only in a fairly superficial manner. Vin and Kelsier are done well but I feel the other characters we only get a very broad stroke picture of them. We get a few POV's of Elend towards the end and he really is very vanilla, and I hated the insta-love thing that was going on, particularly from Vin's perspective.
However the vast majority of the book is fun to read. The magic system is great as you expect from Sanderson (if you like the technical ones) and the world is amazing. The Lord Ruler is a great character and I would love to know more about those early years of his during the consolidation. The pace is fast and doesn't let up really at all. Okay maybe some people would find the ball scenes a little slow but I actually quite liked them apart from the Elend bits. Overall a great opener to a series and looking forward to the sequels.
4.5 stars rounded up.
From the start this book will draw you into its world, Brandon Sanderson’s world building here is second to none and it shows as I found it very easy to imagine the world that was being portrayed as well as being very detailed without being cumbersome.
As well as the world building the characterisation is exceptional, from the start you are drawn into Vin and Kelsier’s world and their minds. When a character grows you to grow with them as Brandon Sanderson makes you care for the characters and what they are going through.
The magic system in the book revolves around the digesting of certain metals to give you particular abilities and it shows that a lot of though went into the development of it. I enjoy the traditional trope of magic systems that quite a few books have but the one developed in the book is outstanding as it is very well constructed and you are always wanting to learn more about it and the properties each different metal has as well as strategies developed for them.
This book is a true page turner and without giving away any spoilers it will make you laugh, cry and angry due to how much you care about the world and its characters. All I can say is that are some truly brilliants shocks and twists in this book that once you finish it you will want to immediately pick up the sequel.
This book helped me re-find my love for books and it is for this reason I always highly recommend this book to anyone I know and it is a great book that everyone should read. Some people might not agree but I would put this on the same level of greatness as The Lord Of The Rings.
This may well be one of my favourite magic systems in any book I've read so far. Any good magic system has logic and it's fallbacks and those are really felt within this book. On top of that we see the book constantly keep to these rules by telling us how the characters are performing each feat, rather than just expecting us to presume that's a form of a certain type of magic.
On top of the amazing magic system, there's a very solid group of characters who are very likeable. A main character who shows development, another protagonist who just keeps throwing surprises and a support character whom you can't help but love and feel is very similar to that of a certain large lovable Harry Potter character.
The story is typical of fantasy stories (there's a big baddy who rules the land and they want to kill him) but it throws in enough lore and interesting curve balls to keep you reading and want to understand more and find out the answers to questions.
All fantasy fans should read this book.
Such a cool magic system, really believable and understandable, but still absolutely magical. It reminded me of falling in love with Melanie Rawn's Sunrunners for the first time all those years ago :)
Some of the plot was a bit tropes-by-numbers - thieving crews, poor waif from the streets who has learned not to trust anyone and now has to learn how to trust new people, evil all-powerful dictator, etc. However, Sanderson wove such good characters and great plot twists in amongst it all that the foundations became part of a whole greater than its parts.
I felt the book was a little bit long and that made it drag overall, although I'm not sure I could identify any particular parts that dragged in and of themselves, so I'm not really sure whether that could have been remedied or where. There were a lot of showdowns that weren't actually the final showdown and that did start to grate on me a little, but then the final showdown was so cool that I forgave it in the end.
Pacing issues aside, this was a fantastic fantasy romp and really moving in parts. Definitely recommended.
It took me a little while to become properly immersed in this book, which is why I haven't given it 5 stars, but especially after the halfway point I really did start loving it!
I loved Vin's character, and her relationship with Elend, plus the entirety of Kelsier's crew, and while I was never really sure how much I liked Kelsier himself, he was a really interesting character to read about.
I also really enjoyed the concept of Allomancy in this book as it was a very different take on magic to most of the stuff I've read in fantasy books before.
I'm excited to see where the rest of the series goes with the mysterious 'Deepness' and the aftermath of the Lord Ruler's death, plus the development of Vin's powers, and I am definitely going to start 'The Well of Ascension' soon.
Like Harry Potter you have to suspend reality and take on board a whole new set of 'rules' for a world that is possibly post apocalyptic. Ash falls from the sky instead of rain, the plants are brown, not green, and the lord ruler has been on the throne for 1000 years. The whole book is supposedly about revolution and the mistreatment of the underclass, but really it is about friendship, loyalty and betrayal.
I enjoyed it, and have already started to read book 2 of the series.
I stuck with it though and was rewarded well. It became intricate, with characters revealing themselves as more 3D than they originally had been portrayed. The story also transformed itself and became better and better as it built itself up.
I don't think Sanderson's work is for everybody. He has a different and unique style and uses well-explained magic systems to explain how the universe works. I've not had a 100% hit rate with recommendations for this because of his style though. Overall though, I still recommend to nearly anyone (even if they're interested outside of the sci-fi or fantasy genre) to give this book a try. Heck, there's not much excuse anymore, considering you can pick up a used copy of this book for 1p + delivery.
I had heard a lot of positive things about this book before I attempted to read it. But with my historical relationship with reading, I wasn't sure if I'd actually finish it. So I began with the sample... Which I confess, I was surprised at how much of the book was in the sample... About half way through it I got myself the physical copy. Later on I bought the Kindle edition so that I could read it a bit more on the go I became that hooked with the plot. This meant I managed to go from about page 240 to the end of the book this week (I've been on holiday so plenty of time to sneak in extra day reading). I'm usually a very slow reader. I began reading just before Christmas and it now the middle of Feb for future reference.
I found myself somewhat confused about the magic system early on, but the video I found on YouTube contained spoiler warnings for the first 3 mistborn books, so stopped watching and continued trading hoping it would make sense as patterns emerged with the book. I was rewarded by the book explaining enough of the system to me for me to understand what the characters were talking about when referring to how they use their magic.
Ultimately the story surprised me in several places especially in the second half. I think it was more or less the first third - half of the book which was more world and character building from what I recall. However the story never really stops developing the world as things progressed which I really liked.
I look forward to seeing where the next book(s) take the characters.
Also the Lord Ruler has given me some inspiration for a future D&D campaign... I think my player would appreciate such a foe!
I love the simple beauty of the cover. It makes you want to discover or even rediscover what is contained within the pages and I think the colour choice, whether intentional or not, sets your imagination into motion and adds to the mystery of the world of mist and ash fall.
Another great thing is that this book is affordable too. I was kindly bought the anniversary edition of Elantris, which is absolutely stunning but nearly four times the cost plus the shipping.
If you have not read the mistborn books then I would highly recommend you do so as soon as you can and I would suggest you buy this edition too. Kindles are convenient and brilliant but this book is something you would end up paying twice for if you get the digital copy first as its too lovely a thing to not have on your shelf at home.
The plot, A world similar to 16th/17th Century Western Earth. No Guns, but pointy things a plenty. Slaves which are the oppressed majority, Nobility who are the uncaring landlords to these slaves, an economic system which depends upon cheap labour and the unceasing exploitation and aggressive control of said slaves. All topped off by a single world ruler who is considered to be God, with the personal power to prove that’s what he actually is.
I agree at this point your thinking. "Why bother it sounds dull?"
Add to this mix a group of conmen come freedom fighters and a young girl who has only known poverty and lawlessness all her short young life but who has a very faint magical talent, a charismatic if not probably insane thief. Then layer above this one of the most ingenious and well thought out magical systems I have come across, and yes I am still making it sound far less interesting than t truly is. Vin, our female thief reluctantly becomes involved and to her horror has to pretend in part to be a minor noble. Kelsier our hero never explains the grandeur of his plan, even we the readers don’t see it until its happened and the effects of his actions cause a chain of events he could see but no one else had expected.
This is truly a book I could not leave alone. I’m not a speed reader and this is not a short book, but even I managed at my plodding speed to devour it over the course of a weekend. Fortunately my wife was very understanding as she vacuumed around me and brought food and drink to me.
What a fabulous book, I wondered why it wasn’t a film, but then was grateful it isn’t, Hollywood for their part would butcher it as usual when converting epic books to a 2 hour format. The fantastic events which played out in my imagination put there by the superb and effortless writing style of the author Brandon Sanderson surpass anything the film makers could achieve. If you like Fantasy and you like a seriously compelling story, but you haven’t yet read this, please read it.
The pacing was very good, I didn't feel overwhelmed by the introduction of lots of different characters, and there were plenty of mysterious and intriguing elements of the world introduced that made you want to keep reading more. I liked the ending and the way the story was set up throughout was very well done, and I have even more appreciation for it having read the next two books in the trilogy as even though the story resolves well by the end of book one, Sanderson does well to expand this and add plenty of mystery and twists.