Friday, October 16, 2015

Review - The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson

The Final Empire (Mistborn, #1)
Series: Mistborn #1 
Genre: Fantasy 
Published - Gollancz (2009)
Paperback - 647pgs
Source - Purchased 
Rating 5/5

Add It // Buy It 

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.

When a series or a book receives a lot of attention and a lot of hype, I tend to push it aside until some of the excitement has worn off. Understandably then, I’ve been keeping the Mistborn Series on the back burner, but the buzz for this book never seems to die down. 

After reading this gem, I can see why! There is a lot to like about this series and it really hit all the right buttons for me.

This is a high fantasy with a charismatic cast of characters and very cool magic system. The two characters we follow closely are Vin and Kelsier. They are part of a team of thieves which is one of the character tropes I adore. Vin is especially close to my heart, but she is just one in a group of characters I loved. All of them are filled to the brim with personality. Sanderson explores the grey areas of his characters and created a complex and interesting group I was really invested in. Every character has a story to tell and several sides of their character to explore. Throughout the society, magic and history of the world are all built into the story and the writing doesn’t feel info-dumpy.  It took me a long time to fully get a grasp on the magic system and what each metal's power was. To be honest though, I liked that. As I read more I was really submerged in the world and the magic and enjoyed the book even more. 

The number one thing I liked about this series was the writing. The tone is serious without being graphic. While I enjoy fantasy series like Game of Thrones, the crude, graphic, and gory worlds wear on me and make me feel like I'm slogging through mud. From the initial chapters of this story, I felt the weight and seriousness of the Skaa’s situation within The Final Empire without some of the gory touches fantasy authors often add. Plus the lack of constant violence, rape, murder and war was refreshing. (Ex. Fighting scenes without minute details of how intestines fall from the body) Then when Sanderson used great violence and death it had an even greater impact. The writing is quite skilled and I really enjoyed it. 

Sanderson also blended political intrigue with action and adventure in the best way. The balance between the two kept the story moving and my interest never flagged. Through the intrigue and adventure Sanderson did a thorough job of building the current and past political history of this world, and he created a solid foundation for the rest of the series.

Quick Thoughts: I’m very anxious to read the rest of this series and other books by Brandon Sanderson. After reading this first installment, I see why so many people have been raving about his books. This was an amazing introduction to the fantasy world and an adventure I will not be able to forget anytime soon!

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