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Mistborn: The Final Empire Hardcover – July 25, 2006
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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.
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
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Brandon Sanderson truly has a way with words and I'm looking forward to finishing the last book, I hear it's incredible!
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.
I don't think it is outstanding, but it does entertain and does offer an interesting magic system that does feel clever and unique enough, and it doesn't make the main characters invincible.
When it started to feel like it was on a one-way rail, it surprises by switching things around. It does this a couple of times, which is good enough to keep it fun.
Not all the secondary characters are equally developed and the romantic plot is quite generic and rushed, but these are not detrimental enough to the overall experience.
The main bad guy and his elite henchmen are well-presented, for they do exude menace and tension whenever they appear.
The writer does seem to love the word "maladroitly" as he uses it far more times than I've ever heard it or read it in my life.
I recommend it for a quick fantasy read. I will follow it up with its sequel.
Sanderson clearly put effort into creating a coherent magic system whose logic you can understand right away. It is as good as Mercedes Lackey's, but edgier. The worldbuilding is evident but not as dense as Tolkien's. The stakes are as well done as Lois McMaster Bujold's, and the plot twists are entirely Sanderson's own. There's even character death worthy of J. K. Rowling. Truly, to read this book is to come to understand how to write one--it takes a lot of work and planning. And I appreciate the work and planning that obviously went into this.
The pacing is fast and will keep you engaged.
Apparently, this book was written to answer the question, "What if the Prophesied Hero fails?" During the course of the book you will realize that the Prophesied Hero is not who you think it is. Read this one, you will love it.