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Mistborn: The Final Empire Paperback – May 13, 2014
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Title: Mistborn( The Final Empire) <>Binding: Paperback <>Author: BrandonSanderson <>Publisher: TorBooks
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That’s basically the premise for Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn: The Final Empire. Ash falls constantly from the sky, allowing only sickly plants to grow; an eerie mist descends at night; most of the world is enslaved; and the Lord Ruler has reigned as a god for a thousand years.
Sanderson makes several other fun tweaks to the standard epic fantasy formula. Allomancy, the primary magic system in the novel, involves ingesting flakes or beads of metal and then “burning” those scraps internally to unleash various powers. The heroic prophecies in the story were already fulfilled long ago—by the Lord Ruler, who saved the world only to take it for himself. Each chapter begins with an excerpt from a logbook the Lord Ruler wrote before that betrayal, snippets that humanize the archvillain by revealing a man wracked by self-doubt and struggling beneath the weight of expectations.
And one of the last hopes for humanity is a young girl.
Vin is sixteen, scrawny, and a thief. She’s been using Allomancy without knowing it for years (burning trace bits of metal for minimal effect), but when she comes to the attention of Kelsier, a thief himself and the story’s mentor figure, he brings her on for the biggest job of all: overthrowing the Lord Ruler’s “Final Empire.”
I didn’t like either protagonist initially. Vin is a sympathetic figure—she was beaten repeatedly growing up, both by her brother and her former crew leader—but her attachment issues came off as clichéd. So did Kelsier’s roguish flippancy. And the structuring of Kelsier’s band of thieves felt a little too much like the formation of a Dungeons & Dragons party. (Let’s see, we need a Smoker to hide us from our enemies, a Soother to calm them if they find us, a Thug to hit them if soothing fails, etc.)
But there was enough originality in the setup to make me stick with the story, and I warmed to the characters eventually. The Final Empire isn’t high literature, but it is creative fantasy, and that was enough to make for an enjoyable read.
(For more reviews like this one, see www.nickwisseman.com)
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.
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.
Brandon Sanderson truly has a way with words and I'm looking forward to finishing the last book, I hear it's incredible!