The Final Empire is the first book in the Mistborn series by Brandon Sanderson. It is quite long, and took my nearly a week to read through. However I personally believe it was worth it. This was recommended to me by my older cousin, so when I picked it up and began reading I wasn’t quite sure how to expect. At first this novel appears like your typical fantasy rebellion book, however there are many plot twists that make it anything but typical.
The Mists rule the night…
The Lord Ruler owns the world.
For a thousand years the ash fell. For a thousand years, the Skaa slaved in misery and lived in fear. For a thousand years, the Lord Ruler reigned with absolute power and ultimate terror, divinely invincible. Every attempted revolt has failed miserably.
Yet somehow hope survives. A new kind of uprising is being planned, one that depends on the cunning of a brilliant criminal mastermind and the courage of an unlikely heroine, a Skaa street urchin, who must learn to master Allomancy, the power of a mistborn.
What if the prophesied hero had failed to defeat the Dark Lord? The answer will be found in the Mistborn trilogy, a saga of surprises that begins here.
I will admit that to start with I was just forcing myself through it so that I could tell my cousin that I had finished the book. However around half way through I started enjoying myself. I found a character that I really enjoyed the scenes of, and although there won’t many of them those scenes helped get me through until the plot all came together.
When the plot did come together…. oh my. The last 1/4 of the book was AMAZING. There was a new plot twist every chapter. So many secrets had been set up, which were really amazing when they were uncovered. Many of the characters turned out to be not quite what they seemed, and that was really interesting to see play out.
There was clearly a LOT of effort in the world building. There were numerous noble families, each with different sources of income and keep descriptions. There were also three distinct cultures, and two different magic systems which clearly had a lot of thought put into them. I really did like the Allomancy magic system. It made sense, and there were reasonable restrictions as to what they could do and how much power they could use. It also meant that there were many opportunities for creative uses of the powers.
To start with I didn’t feel like I knew the characters very well, and if I’m honest with you I still don’t. In comparison to some YA books that I usually read, because this series is a bit more adult, the characters were less of the focus. Instead, the plot was highly complex. I did like how the information was sprinkled through dialogue and description. It never felt like there was an information dump. The author was also very good at making you pity characters and understand their emotions. There is one character who appeared for a page or two, and then was never heard of again. However I can still clearly remember his character. I also really liked how the author spoke in simple language that really helped me enjoy this book that was aimed at slightly older people that I usually read. Books with more complex language often leave me feeling frustrated.
The main character, Vin, was really amazing. She didn’t feel like she was trying to hard to be different, and thus she was different. Despite living a hard life and not feeling as if she was brave, Vin had inner strength. She wasn’t reckless or painfully shy. Instead, Vin felt that she was not good enough. She struggled to feel accepted and struggled with abandonment issues. However Vin learnt to feel comfortable trusting others, which was really nice to see. All of the other characters also seemed realistic and struggled with real issues.
I really enjoyed reading The Final Empire once things picked up, and I do plan to read the next novel in the series soon. I did love plot and world, however I struggled to connect with the characters and found the pace very slow to start with. I give this book a four out of five.