[Review] Mistborn: The Final Empire (Mistborn #1) by Brandon Sanderson

Emblems: Mouse Over for Details

Author: Brandon Sanderson
Series:
Mistborn #1
Genre: Epic Fantasy
Publisher: Gollancz
Pages: 643
Published: March 3rd 1997
Source: Personal Copy
Goodreads | Amazon (UK/US) | Book Depository

First sentence:

Ash fell from the sky.

Blurb

Once, a hero arose to save the world. A young man with a mysterious heritage courageously challenged the darkness that strangled the land.

He failed.

For a thousand years since, the world has been a wasteland of ash and mist ruled by the immortal emperor known as the Lord Ruler. Every revolt has failed miserably.

Yet somehow, hope survives. Hope that dares to dream of ending the empire and even the Lord Ruler himself. A new kind of uprising is being planned, one built around the ultimate caper, one that depends on the cunning of a brilliant criminal mastermind and the determination of an unlikely heroine, a street urchin who must learn to master Allomancy, the power of a Mistborn.

Thoughts

I’ve read this twice now, second time being quite recently as part of a Group Read which has the natural ability to make reading almost anything fun.

However this is a book that stands as an enjoyable and engrossing read in its own right. Sanderson manages to achieve a seemingly perfect blend of action, intrigue and character development.

In the context of a group read, we found plenty to speculate upon and discuss as we went through. We found — upon reflection, mostly — a great deal of extremely well written foreshadowing for the books many big reveals and twists so that even as you experienced that, ‘Oh snap!’ moment, it didn’t feel completely out of left field.

In fact, for one of the bigger events, there were threads linking it right back to extremely early sections of the book. So if you’re wanting something to really dig your teeth into, Mistborn: The Final Empire delivers.

This is not to say you require a degree in English Literature to appreciate the story however! Sanderson has such a way with writing that even the most action heavy sequences where Mistborn are fighting with all the powers of their Allomancy with metal flying in a storm, bodies pivoting around spires through the air and more, you can form a crystal clear image in your mind and follow it blow for blow.

Then when the fighting is done and they’re back picking up the pieces of their crew, you can see it change them. You can see the struggle to find courage in the face of what surely seems to be impossible odds. You can witness the transformation in Vin from untrusting and ill-used street kid to powerful woman struggling to trust someone yet so desperately wanting to be able.

If you’re a fan of fantasy already, or simply looking for a place to begin, Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn: The Final Empire comes highly recommended. For existing fans, Sanderson turns many of the tropes completely on their heads by asking a simple ‘What If?’ question. What if the hero lost, and evil won? How would this world look 1,000 years later? For those looking to get started, this is a well-written highly engrossing story which won’t do double duty as a doorstop and has a definite end point, being a trilogy rather than a gargantuan 12-books-and-counting-yay! experience.