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The Final Empire: Mistborn Book One: 1 Paperback – 1 Oct. 2009
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About the Author
Brandon Sanderson was born in Nebraska in 1975. Since then he has written, amongst others The Mistborn books and begun the internationally bestselling Stormlight Archive. He was also chosen by Robert Jordan's family to complete Jordan's Wheel of Time Sequence. He lives in Utah.
Visit his website at http://www.brandonsanderson.com, follow him on Twitter at https://twitter.com/BrandSanderson and like him on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/BrandSanderson. Read his blogs at http://mistborn.blogspot.co.uk andhttp://mistborn.livejournal.com.
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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.
Top international reviews
The cover promises so much: What if the Dark Lord won? I wish this book had answered this question. So we enter this world in which the Lord Ruler reigns over the whole world. He is the incarnation of evil, and he’s a god! An evil, immortal God! But the world we see is quite… docile.
Ash falls from the sky, plants are a sickly brown instead of green (I stopped asking the question how anyone survives in this environment), the city is dirty, the Skaa (a people) are slaves to their noble masters. But I don’t feel any of it. The whole ambience feels indifferent, not threatening. So, I just didn’t care. The reason for this is fairly simple:
Tell vs. Show.
It’s all told. I didn’t see any evil deeds done by the Lord Ruler until it was too late for me to care. From what I’ve gathered any major city in Europe during the time of Industrialisation was much worse than The Final Empire. There was no torture of Skaa on page. All I had was the word of our protagonists who claimed that the Lord Ruler and the nobility are so terrible. But I didn’t witness any of it. On the contrary: It’s the gang doing all the horrible stuff.
It’s our “heroes” who kill people a random, who break in, kill guards, and steal, without provocation (on paper). Let me get this straight: They do have their backstories, and they have reason enough to hate the nobility, but they just tell us about it. We never see any of this unfold before our eyes.
It’s Skaa who mistreat Vin, not the nobility. It’s Kelsier who orders another Skaa thief to torture his comrade, not the nobility. It’s never the Lord Ruler or the nobility. The gang are actually terrible people. And we’re supposed to root for them because they sit together in a kitchen and laugh?
Then there’s Vin. She’s one of our protagonists, and she’s a very special snowflake. She’s so perfect I wanted to punch her in the face. But no, I can’t because she’s so much better than anyone. I’m sure she’d dodge the punch easily. How many times did I have to read that she mastered something within days or weeks whereas others needed months or years of practice? “Oh, I’ve never done it before, it’ll be a piece of cake.” The only flaw she’s supposed to have is to be mistrusting, but she only shows it when it’s convenient for the plot. The rest of the time she tags along and does what she’s told.
And the “political intrigue”. I’m rolling my eyes on that one. It’s just gossip. The rest, the real intrigue, again, doesn’t happen on paper. It’s just told by the protagonists. And it's so annoying because we’re stuck in Vin’s head for this part and she tells us what would happen if this person had this information. No action at all.
The worst thing about this book is that in between this whole nothingness of boredome there are a couple of scenes which are just perfect. They are intense, engaging, and well-paced. Unfortunately, it’s only a couple of scenes in 643 pages.
Don't waste your time on it. Two stars for the couple of good scenes.
The line spacing is minimal and the font just assaults your eyes. Better to spent extra and just buy the special edition for Mistborn.
P.S. Buy the 10th anniversary special edition hardcovers. They look amazing and the font is good too. Paper quality is top notch for that.
My first foray into Fantasy genre in two years has been worth the hiatus. After finishing the ASOIAF series and gobbling Tolkien Legendarium, I was finding a hard time trying to find something to read in Fantasy genre that could really perk me up again. Mistborn: Final Empire is the answer.
Though not deep as Tolkien’s World or as complex as Martin’s (and it may change as I move further in the series), the novel stands out for its plotting and clever use of intrigue. “There is always another secret” is the line that appears many times in the book and for good reason. The story unfolds in layers and there are more than one perspective to look at the incidents and character’s motives as the book progresses. By the end of the book, once you think, it’s probably falling in place, the whole story turns onto itself giving a final jolt of exhilaration.
Kalsier and Vin are the standout characters in the book. The character of Vin, especially, is a treat to read. Her growth for a scrawny and scared skaa to the leader of the Uprising under the aegis of Kalsier is inspiring. The two form a bond of progressive appreciation for each other, Kalsier admiring the young protégé’s abilities and Vin admiring Kalsier’s unceasing heroism. The secondary characters are good as well and their backgrounds provide a good supplement to the overall story.
One of the most important aspect of Fantasy genre is World Building. The world is dark and grey, a rather bleak dystopian society. Ash falls from the sky and in the night world is in grips of dark mist that eerily "feels" sentient from the description. Sanderson has done a brilliant job with formulation of Allomancy. Even though there are 10 metals / alloys and their powers a reader has to learn about, they are not difficult to get a hang of. The reader is slowly and steadily pulled into the strange and powerful world of Allomancy rather than bombarded with the concepts at one go.
All in all, a very good read. Looking forward to reading next book in the series.
Auch die beiden Protagonisten, die 16-jährige Vin und den erwachsenen und erfahrenen Kelsier, schließt man als Leser nahezu umgehend ins Herz. Es ist leicht, sich in die Rolle des jungen Mädchens hineinzuversetzen, die von allen ihr nahe stehenden Menschen bisher nur enttäuscht wurde, jedem misstrauisch gegenübersteht und angesichts der ernüchternden Perspektive auf ein hoffnungsloses Leben zu allem entschlossen scheint. Und auch Kelsiers Charme kann man sich unmöglich entziehen: Er hat in seinem Leben bereits so viele schlimme Dinge erlebt, ihm wurde alles genommen was er geliebt hat und trotzdem oder vielleicht gerade auch deshalb ist er fest entschlossen, das Unmögliche möglich zu machen und seinem Volk neue Hoffnung zu schenken – und das immer mit einem Lächeln auf den Lippen und jederzeit frohen Mutes. Dazu kommt noch ein Magiesystem, das mit seinem „easy to learn, hard to master“-Prinzip gleichermaßen einsteigerfreundlich und faszinierend ist. In Sandersons Welt gibt es nämlich zwei Kategorien von besonders begabten Menschen, die in der Lage sind, zuvor dem Körper zugeführte Metalle in magische Kräfte umzusetzen: sogenannte “Mistings” können jeweils nur auf ein bestimmtes Metall zurückgreifen, den deutlich mächtigeren “Mistborns” (wie Vin und Kelsier) stehen die gesamte Palette der acht verschiedenen Metalle und damit schier unbegrenzte Möglichkeiten zur Verfügung – wenn man gelernt hat, mit diesen Kräften umzugehen.
All diese Feinheiten bringt Brandon Sanderson seinen Lesern auf sehr geduldige und verständliche Weise bei, sodass man auch als Fantasy-Einsteiger keine Eingewöhnungsschwierigkeiten in die Welt des Final Empire haben sollte. Auch die Story selbst ist über weite Strecken des Buches eher übersichtlich gehalten und konzentriert sich auf eine kleine Anzahl von Charakteren, ist aber trotz des gemächlichen Tempos keinesfalls langweilig, weil es eben einfach viel zu entdecken gibt. Wer allerdings auf das große Spektakel hofft, muss sich abgesehen von ein paar kurzen, aber knackigen Actionszenen bis zum Schlussakt gedulden – dieser hat es dann aber so richtig in sich. Nach der zuvor weitestgehend geradlinigen Story kann Sanderson hier mit einigen überraschenden (und teilweise auch schmerzhaften) Wendungen aufwarten, welche die Geschichte gelungen abrunden und ihr ein wirklich sehr stimmiges und zufriedenstellendes Ende verpassen. Insgesamt betrachtet hätte ich mir dann aber vielleicht doch eine etwas komplexere Welt gewünscht, in der man auch mal mehr als nur einen kurzen Blick über die Stadtgrenzen von Luthadel hinaus werfen kann und mehr über die Geschichte des Final Empire erfährt – dies scheint sich Sanderson aber noch für die kommenden Bände aufzusparen. Zudem hätte ich mir Sandersons Welt ruhig noch ein wenig dreckiger und brutaler gewünscht, die Grausamkeit und Hoffnungslosigkeit des Lebens im Final Empire noch spürbarer und die Geschichte noch etwas emotionaler – mir sind die beiden Hauptfiguren zwar ans Herz gewachsen, manche Schicksalsschläge der Handlung hatten dann aber doch eine eher oberflächliche Wirkung auf mich. Nichtsdestotrotz hat mir der erste „Mistborn“-Band insgesamt sehr gut gefallen und mir während der mehr als 600 Seiten viel Freude bereitet und ich bin gespannt, wie es mit der Geschichte in den kommenden Büchern weitergeht.
The magic system and the world building is unlike anything.. though I have complaints about few characters.
But the story was amazing. Anyone will fall in love with it.
Would rate 3 🌟 for its quality, cover was beautiful and is really well binded, however paper quality and font is poor.
As for the plot definitely 5 🌟 , amazing journey a bit dark at some places definitely above 15 age group.
The book seems to be a pirated version of itself, the page quality is really bad and the maps are worse, I really want to read this trilogy but the book doesn't have a genuine look about it hence I'm returning it.
What I liked about this first book was - hands down - its intricate magic system. It was well-structured and easy to follow. I applaud Brandon Sanderson on its creation. The atmosphere of the setting also never failed to be immersive.
I never really warmed up to the characters however. I suppose most of them are not written to be instantly likable, I do recognize that. Nevertheless, as a reader I should still feel a kind of curiousity for the character's progress within the story. With Kelsier I had my ups and downs. I am usually a great fan of larger casts of charcters and was expecting to be intrigued by all the different players in this plot. I was dissapointed by how little use Brandon Sanderson made of these promising characters.
Vin especially made me want to get to the book's end more quickly, not in a good way. At some point I was even longing for some sort of romance which would have at least turned this character arch into a guilty pleasure for me. And my prayers were heard. But the execution did not meet my expactations unfortunately. I get that Vin is a teenager - her definition of "love" might deviate from my own if she has never encountered any stronger feelings for another person. The few bantery minutes she had with Elend and the bit of bonding over similar world views had me wonder about their sudden intimacy, however. You could say, I did not live for the romance. Not at all.
This is also due to some major pacing issues this book has unfortunately. While I was still planning on reading the second book in the series being about two thirds through the first one, I decided against it after finishing The Final Empire. I had liked the sort of slow burn character of the book until I was hit at the end with a wave of scenes which were the exact opposite. I am sad to say this but it essentially ruined the book for me.
While I would still recommend this book to anyone that values inventive magic systems and world building, I would not advise you to pick this up if you are interested in well-developed and interesting characters.
I have mistborn pb boxset and the font is thick and fine. I am not sure why many recommended that this 10th anniversary edition and it is better than PB edition. The font is small and HB is same size as PB.
I would recommend to go with PB only.
The concept of Allomancy was really unique. I loved the way it was explained gradually, if we learned few things by the story/narration then some of it was explained by the characters themselves. It is far better than dumping the huge pile of information in introduction pages or try to explain everything at once. I think that was the reason the 10th metal (or 11th for that matter) and Feruchemy became much more impressive.
As I said earlier, I absolutely loved the characters. Every character, no matter how small or big they were, had their own importance and they made the story what it is. I don't know why but Kell and Marsh somehow reminded me of Logan and Victor from the X-Men movie series. The character of Vin and her inner conflicts were described beautifully. Another character I really liked was of Sazed, I really hope reading more about him in next parts.
Similarly the narration was brilliant; especially the logbook part was really fascinating. There were certain events described so effectively that they literally gave me Goosebumps and then there were some others which made me sad or angry to the core. This proves the brilliance of Sanderson. The pre-climax part was as insane as kelsier himself was but I found the climax quite simple and plain. Maybe that was the beauty of it; it was so simple that no one saw it coming. But there are still few mysteries left and I can only imagine how they would reveal themselves in next part. I finished the novel quicker than my usual speed and now I am really looking forward to second part with a lot of expectations.
Overall I think it's a book that quite a few fantasy lovers will appreciate because of its uniqueness
I'd read the work Sanderson did finishing the Wheel of Time after Robert Jordan's death, and just now got around to picking up Mistborn. Kicking myself for not doing it earlier!
Sure, the magic system was perhaps a bit complicated and there were a lot of twists at the end, but the book set out to be adventure/fantasy/heist all rolled into one and it succeeded. Loved it.