Mistborn: The Final Empire
Author: Brandon Sanderson
Series: Mistborn, #1
Length: 541 pgs.
Publisher: Tor Books
Publication Date: July 17, 2006
“For a thousand years the ash fell and no flowers bloomed. For a thousand years the Skaa slaved in misery and lived in fear. For a thousand years the Lord Ruler, the “Sliver of Infinity,” reigned with absolute power and ultimate terror, divinely invincible. Then, when hope was so long lost that not even its memory remained, a terribly scarred, heart-broken half-Skaa rediscovered it in the depths of the Lord Ruler’s most hellish prison. Kelsier “snapped” and found in himself the powers of a Mistborn. A brilliant thief and natural leader, he turned his talents to the ultimate caper, with the Lord Ruler himself as the mark… more“
Mistborn features one of the most interesting and fresh concepts I’ve read in a long while. Sanderson’s construction and execution of a unique magic system – Allomancy and Feruchemy – is a true wonder. At times, the magic terms and uses confused me, but I could work through it since there was a handy glossary in the back. The detailed world-building feels distinct and well-rounded.
This book features a cast of lovable characters, and even though not every member of the crew is fully fleshed out – barely know the backstory of Ham, Breeze, Clubs, Spook, and Marsh -the character interactions seem natural and lend credibility to the characters’ relationships and subsequent actions in the face of conflict.
Kelsier is a charming presence during the few times that he assumes POV. I especially enjoyed reading the chapters in which he is the leading voice. Vin is a young and endearing protagonist with room to grow; she has her faults but her cleverness is appealing and her youth contributes to her conflicting emotions and actions – there is much for her to learn; it feels as if we are watching her grow and evolve with each page. The romance between Elend and Vin is subtle, though sometimes a bit too subtle. The moment I Love You’s are thrown out, you wonder just how they got there even though they have chemistry.
My favorite character is, by far, Sazed; he reminds me of a mix between Sebastian Michaelis and Silas, the butler from Sorcery of Thorns – mild-mannered, intelligent, compassionate, and caring but also very dangerous and skilled.
The plot and pacing lulled in some places: a rinse and repeat of events. Vin goes to a ball, has some conversations, and learns some information, the crew gathers about and talks strategy, then they execute strategy off-page. Rinse. Repeat. The ball scenes were interesting but could detract from the overall narrative when not much progressed as a result. However, the fast-paced, tightly controlled fighting sequences elevated and supported dips in the pacing. There were also times when I thought switching the POV to Kelsier more often as he visited other sites and crew members would aid readers in gaining a better grasp on parts of the scheme that were outside of Vin’s control.
This was a politically plotted narrative, thus a grand portion of the book is dialogue and strategizing. It was definitely setting the stage for the next book, which I hope will feature more bouts of action and moving parts that don’t keep Vin anchored to the socialite scene. Politicking is fun, but to a certain degree before the pace begins to drag.
I really can’t wait to move on to the next book in the series. Brandon Sanderson is a true wizard of an author. I’m looking forward to finishing out this series and exploring some of his other works!