on 2 December 2008
I too, picked up a Sanderson book to judge his worthiness of finishing Robert Jordan's work. Having read Elantris and liked it a lot, I thought I'd try Mistborn and I am thrilled to say that it was brilliant.
The main character of the book is Vin, a young girl that has grown up on the streets of Luthadel and that very soon gets thrown into the middle of events that shake up the society she lives in. Several other strong characters as well as a great supporting cast all have a great influence on the person Vin becomes over the course of the story.
The book and Vin are both defined by the magic that we meet and how it is used. The actual world setting is quite depressive, with a tyrant, an enslaved underclass and not to mention the lack of colour due to constant ash falls all painting a pretty grim picture. However, into that picture a magical sort of magic gets introduced and lifts the characters and thereby the story out of that gloom.
Think Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and those actors running up walls and flying through the air and you won't be far off the image that came to my mind a lot during the reading of Mistborn. It has a different source but is equally as beautiful to envisage.
This was a real 'can't put it down' book and as a Wheel of Time fan, I now feel very confident that Brandon Sanderson will do a good job at finishing the series.
My star ratings are the result of the following breakdown:
How difficult was it to put the book down: extremely difficult = five stars
Would I buy the hardcover of this one: definitely (had the Hero of Ages hardcover on pre-order) = five stars
Am I likely to read it again: definitely = five stars
on 17 February 2016
I bought this after a recommendation from a friend, and overall I'm very pleased that I read it. However, there were some things that took away from my overall enjoyment.
First of all, the bad. The book would be about half the length it is if the word 'slightly' were removed. Everyone is nodding slightly, or smiling slightly, or particularly, cocking their heads slightly. If you played a drinking game where you took a shot every time someone in the book cocks their head slightly, you will die of alcohol poisoning. Also, there's a lot of winking going on. I can't remember the last time I saw someone actually wink, but in the final empire it happens all the time. The story also starts off slowly. I did. To feel an overwhelming urge to continue in the first couple of hundred pages. It wasn't necessarily bad, but it just didn't grab me.
However, I'd bought a physical copy of the book, so continue I did. And I am so glad that I made that choice. Which brings me to the good. Firstly, allomancy. It's Sanderson's take on Magic, and it is a stroke of genius. I hate reading books where magic is just a get out of jail free card. Allomancy is powered by ingesting different metals, it's rare to have the ability, and there are serious limits to what it can do. I felt far more at home reading about the main characters and their relationship with it than I have been in other stories where someone just uses magic and that's it, no explanation needed. Next, after the first third of the book, things really pick up. The nobility are portrayed well as double crossing villains hiding behind a veil of civility. They'd certainly give Dragon Age's Orlesian nobles a run for their money. The main villain of the book, the Lord Ruler, is masterfully crafted too. He seems one dimensional at first, but by the end of the book a lot more depth had come out about him. Most of the characters are put together well actually, when they're not wandering round grinning and cocking their heads.
I'd definitely recommend getting into this series despite its flaws, and I'm looking forward to picking up the sequel very soon.
on 30 July 2008
I checked this book out after I heard that Brandon Sanderson was picked to finish the wheel of time series, had no real expectations as he was a new name for me.
The story at first glance may not seem terrible original:
The world has been ruled for a 1000 years by an seemingly immortal God/emperor,the Lord Ruler, who according to the legends was a great hero who vanquished a world threatening evil before taking power.
Now he has divided society into Noblemen and Skaa, a slave class seen as subhuman by the nobles and treated accordingly.
The major difference between nobles and the skaa is that the nobles
can be born with a magical ability to increase their strenght,speed,senses and manipulate metals and emotions by "burning" the metals in their body.By eating/drinking flakes and solutions of metals they can replenish the metals they use while "burning" metal.
Different metals have different properties, and usually the ones with the talent can only manipulate one of these,and are called misters. Howewer, some,called mistborn, are able to use all metals, and are essentially superhuman, often used by the noble houses as spies and assassins.
Although hunted, the Skaa also have some misters and mistborn being bastard children of nobles straying outside their class.
A Skaa Mistborn, a former thief having awakened his powers while escaping a slave mine where no one has escaped before,gathers a crew of Skaa thiefs and rebels with a plan to destroy the Lord ruler and conquor the capital.
Essential to his plans is the 16 year old girl Vin, who unknown to herself living as a thief on the streets, is also a Mistborn.
I quite liked the magic system in this book,the metal "burning" system feels both new and fresh, and is well conceived and used. The writing is good and fluent,with both humour and action sequenses that work, the characters are interesting if sometimes a bit shallow.
The story feels familiar for anyone who's read some fantasy and sci-fi, but still works.
Overall a good read and a interesting premise.
on 5 September 2010
As a young woman (Slightly older than Vin) familiar with fantasy novels, this book immediately appealed to me. Within minutes of starting it, I knew it was a book unlike any other. I wasn't familiar with any of Brandon Sanderson's work, but his poetic, natural, powerful style pulled the novel along at a fast pace.
The story centres around a young girl (Not unlike most fantasy novels) who struggles with the terror that the evil Lord Ruler forces over the world. This girl, Vin, is rescued by the overconfident, yet troubled, but sensitive Kelsier who teaches her, and all of us about a new magical world involving metals. (Which struck me as an exciting, beautiful new concept)
The bubbling romance between Vin and Lord Elend Venture was forbidden but was sensitively written as were all the characters. This novel seemed to remind us all to strive for aomething that seems out of reach, even if it seemly utterly impossible.
Within hours of reading the first few chapters I found myself racing to find the over two books which complete this series, and look forward to reading the rest, to see how Brandon Sanderson will continue and conclude this wonderful new fantasy series.
Overall an interesting new series with very few flaws.
I look forward the reading the rest of this series. Five stars, I would give it more if I could.
on 27 May 2012
Excellent story. One of the best I have read in a while - and I'm not a reviewer who dishes out five-star ratings most of the time ! Sanderson has managed to bring to life his cast of characters commendably and has created a well-developed society, complete with social and religious structures. Really impressive ! I must admit I was a bit sceptical at first when the author introduced the concept of the main character, Vin, drinking metals and gaining magic powers as a result. That does sound far-fteched, doesn't it ? But Sanderson has done a good job of not using this as a "magic" way for Vin to solve any situation she finds herself in. In fact, I could not help starting to really like her personality and her struggle in making her choice between becoming a revolutionary and making a quiet living for herself in a dictatorship.
I think the word "master piece" is used far too often by reviewers, but in this case I'm tempted to use it anyway. Sanderson has written not just a fast-paced, entertaining story of a class-struggle against a tyrant, but has managed to take it a step further and introduce elements that reflect something almost religious. Kelsier, Vin's trainer and personal mentor, emerges as a Christ-like character in the course of this first book in the trilogy, without crossing into the melodramatic. Vin and her band of rogues are credible people, with their own distinctive characters and might be dubbed Kelsier's disciples. Add in prophecies and a historic perspective to society and I must conclude I was really impressed by this novel. Highly recommended !
on 28 October 2010
If I dont have at least one book waiting unread on the book shelf I panic in case I am left without. This trilogy therefore was a panic buy based on the positive reviews and, more superficially, the fact they were on sale.
God bless random acts of purchasing! I wont run through a storyline synopsis as other reviewers have done it more elegantly than I ever could but I will recommend you treat yourself to this trilogy and lock your front door- you wont want anyone bothering you for a while.
The familiar theme is the world ruled by a tyrant, the oppressed peasant people, the young hero who seems to be 'no good' until an older cynical person see's promise in them, takes them under their wing and both blossom from this unlikely relationship.
What lifts this trilogy from the mundane is how well it is written, the skillfully crafted characters and the unusual fact that the magic in this world is born of a persons ability to burn metal within their body. These 'Allomancers' have an ability called Allomancy that allows them to "burn" (or use) ingested metals, thereby enhancing various physical and mental capacities. A person who is only able to burn one of the metals is known as a Misting. Anyone capable of burning more than one metal is capable of burning all of them; these people are known as Mistborn. Enter our hero....
The first book is the strongest of the trilogy, the second succumbs slightly to the fantansy 'filler' syndrome providing a tunnel between a enthralling start and an explosive finish but is is still a good read. And the third? Well get reading and find out.
on 27 January 2008
This is a pretty good book. It's quite inventive, in a genre that has become fairly samey over the years. The pacing and characterisation are spot on, the book draws you on to the end seemingly effortlessly, with heroes that behave almost like real people, who make the odd mistake, grow up, drift slowly off-mission, and have doubts about their own abilities and motivation, who get large numbers of people killed and actually feel guilty about it, and so on.
Some elements reminded me vaguely of The Matrix: the empire is policed by a handful of evil superhumans that noone has ever defeated before; a band of rebels trying to free humans by bringing down the system, even if it gets people killed along the way; some of the heroes are superhuman, but not as powerful as the "police", but one of them eventually beats a baddy and proves that they are killable, etc.
The book is pretty much self contained, with almost everything being resolved by the end, though it is strongly suggested that they might have accidentally doomed the world without realising it, hence leaving the door open for a sequel.
The one weak point to my mind is that the Inquisitors turn out to be ridiculously easy to kill once you know their secret. It's also a little confusing trying to match up the metals to the abilities and the labels for Mistings who wield them. As it happens, there is a table and glossary at the back, which I didn't discover until I'd finished the book - doh!
Robert Jordan/Wheel of Time fans will want to read this book especially, as Brandon Sanderson has just been selected to complete the twelfth and final book in the Wheel of Time saga, sadly left unfinished when Robert Jordan died late last year. If Sanderson's writing ability can be combined successfully with Jordan's extremely detailed notes and storylines then A Memory of Light should be next year's must read book!
on 4 December 2008
I have always been a huge fan of fantasy novels but have always found myself not daring to stray too far from my favourite authors (Feist, Jordan, Gemmell) after a few rather disappointing experiences. I too like the other reviewers picked up Mistborn on the basis of him being picked to finish the Wheel of Time saga and boy am I impressed.
The story at first doesn't stray far from the the usual fantasy stereotype of the young character coming from nothing and being developed to challenge the powers of evil. What is new and original is the way in which the metal-based magic system is portrayed, making for some interesting paradoxes and entertaining action sequences.
The development of the 3 main characters is also very well done, Vin is beautifully brought on through the novel, Kelsier's flawed overconfidence comes to a satisfactory twisted finish and Elend develops in a comfortingly quirky manner.
The book is well written with the little preludes to each chapter making a nice mirror which unweave parallel with the main plot. I have certianly been impressed with Sanderson's skills as a writer and I look forward to part 2 of the trilogy and also greatly to A Memory of Light which all being well should be with us at the end of 2009. Good work.
on 9 October 2010
Like many readers, I first heard the name in the context of the Wheel Of Time. The first thing I read by Brandon Sanderson was the "I wish I wasn't writing the Wheel of Time..." essay, which lured me in by the title, and proved to be a charming, mature, blog post that made me want to read fiction. Amazon turned up this book as looking like a good place to start.
I am impressed, the characters actually develop... the magic is well thought out... and the battle descriptions are (for once in the genre) actually worth reading rather than skimming through! Characters aren't as sublime as, say, Orson Scott Card's, but up there with the likes of Raymond E. Feist (in the early days, when it was good!) or David Eddings.
Certainly, by the time I was half-way through, I'd ordered the rest of the trilogy.
If I have one criticism, it's of the publisher...
... why publish an author's comments about the brilliance of the jacket design by XXX is this edition has a jacket design by YYY? Would it have been too difficult to either get the author to write a comment about THIS design, or just edit out the comments? Sloppy, sloppy, sloppy...
... that having been said, if the only criticism I have is of the editing of the author's acknowledgements, then I have no hesitation in awarding this 5 stars.
on 12 December 2010
I've been reading SF/FA for over 30 years now but been struggling to find many good ones for the last 15 years. Occasionally one comes up and this is it. Thoroughly enjoyable with a very new/novel slant on magic that I haven't come across before which is gradually unveiled throughout the book as the main character learns & develops her skill in it. The characters develop nicely as the book progresses with some action or otherwise happening constantly to keep you engrossed. Only down side is that I have finished it :( but at least there are another 2 books to go ! Enjoy.