The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson

details
Title: The Final Empire.
Series: Mistborn #1.
Writer(s): Brandon Sanderson.
Publisher: Tor Books.
Format: Hardcover.
Release Date: July 25th, 2006.
Pages: 541.
Genre(s): Fantasy.
ISBN13:  9780765311788.
My Overall Rating: ★★★★☆.

thoughts

Empires are often built on power. Many must suffer through an eternal life of misery filled with pain, sweat, and blood, for others to live spoiled with love, riches, and glory. History, however, shows that such societies are bound to fall and it all comes down to the determination of the people to bring about change. Thus begins a revolution. While they may seem peaceful at first, they can turn violent, deadly, and chaotic on a whim, provoking the necessity of change if peace is ever to be reacquired, this time not under any form of monarchy but a system where individuals hold onto their freedom and rights. Introducing us to a meticulously innovative world set in the Cosmere universe, writer Brandon Sanderson presents us with the first book of the Mistborn trilogy and demonstrates his incredible ability to brings stories to life.

What is The Final Empire about? Set in a dichotomous world where distinctive disparities separate the nobility from the poor and enslaved skaa population, society strives on the backbone of a dynamic founded on oppression. The story follows a street urchin known under the name of Vin who possesses a unique ability that she refers to as Luck that allows her to soothe a person from erupting on an emotional level. This is where criminal mastermind Kelsier enters the picture and wishes to recruit Vin to his gang and teach her Allomancy, a magical art that consists of consuming certain metals to exhibit unique enhancements, from physical strength to emotional manipulation. While the opportunity seems too good to be true, the twist lies in Kelsier’s latest and ultimate job for his crew: to overthrow the Final Empire and change the social stratification once and for all.

“The only reason to be subservient to those with power is so that you can learn to someday take what they have.”

— Brandon Sanderson

At the core of this tale is a revolution in the making. It remains the driving force of multiple key characters, an idea tickling the protagonist’s curiosity, and an event that will shake the foundation on which sits the Lord Ruler for the past millennium as he symbolizes an Ascended Avatar of God, a Sliver of Infinity. Many have learned that writer Brandon Sanderson should never be underestimated for his impeccable ability to build worlds and universes. This story is a prime example of his raw talent. Sprinkling history throughout the narrative while also discussing the ongoing power dynamic that is rooted within society between nobility and skaa are enough to grab your attention from the very beginning. But to start a rebellion, the people need to believe in the cause, to perceive it as a tangible ultimatum, and that is only half the battle that Kelsier and his crew have to fight.

It’s when writer Brandon Sanderson introduces his Allomancy magic system that the story takes flight and enters uncharted territory, allowing Vin’s character to serve as the subject of training and self-actualization within the narrative but also the vessel of theory and practice for the reader. Intricate yet also accessible, the mechanics behind the magic in this world is bound to prompt awe and wonderment in you. Not only does it contribute to the various power relationships that exist within the society, but it also paves the way to what might be some of the most entertaining and cinematic action sequences in epic fantasies. Trust me when I tell you that these moments play out like video games with clever strategies at the heart of every confrontation, likening them to chess games but with physical consequences. There’s simply no reason to not fall in love with it as you progressively learn the ramifications of each metal’s characteristics and how the user can manipulate them.

While this epic heist adventure builds up masterfully, it is necessary to mention that the characters are responsible for a lot of the success of this story. The most stand-out personage is Kelsier and his mysterious self filled with unparalleled knowledge about Allomancy and the world around him, on top of his eerie recent past as the survivor of a deadly prison pit, making him one of the most marvelous characters to follow. With plans within plans, it is near impossible to see where he’s heading but you know that he’ll do anything to get what he wants. Then comes Vin who started off with a personality as hard as a rock with little character besides her perseverance and instinct for survival. While she does slowly break down the wall she built around herself during her childhood, I did feel like the romance that later builds up around her was a bit rough around the edges and difficultly fit with her personality. It is worth noting that the banter between the other crew members is hilarious and made the entire team a joy to follow nonetheless.

The Final Empire is a stunning and magical universe presented through an insane heist where the score is a system based on power and persecution.


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44 comments

  • Great review! Completely agree with your thoughts on Allomancy. It does bring a sense of awe and wonderment for the readers.

    Also in typical Sanderson fashion, the last quarter of the book, with its emotionally draining and action-packed climax, left me gasping for my breath. So many epic duels, right!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you! I appreciate it a lot. I’m glad to have finally got around to this one, having only read The Way of Kings before (yes… I still need to continue that doorstoop’ing series).

      I love the battles in this book! The action sequences of are so vivid and brilliantly described, it’s hard to not have an EXACT idea of how things go on! 😮

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    • For real! I like how authentic and natural it felt from the moment that they show up! Those action scenes were just so much fun to visualize! I could sooo see myself playing the characters and dishing out those sweet Allomancy-based moves hahah

      Liked by 1 person

  • Started reading the first book in the Mistborn series, and had to read everything in quick succession: they are that good! The first Brandon Sanderson book I read was Alcatraz versus The Evil Librarians, and it was such a delightful read, I had to get more of his books. Great review Lashaan

    Liked by 1 person

    • I totally understand! I feel like dropping everything I’m reading just to go through the rest of the series too right now hahah

      Ohhhh it’s actually the first time I’m hearing another blogger mention that series! I’m glad to hear that Sanderson just doesn’t know how to disappoint! My first of his was actually The Way of Kings and I was completely mesmerized by it! 😮

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  • Glad to read your thoughts on this one, Lashaan. I absolutely loved Mistborn and agree with your take. For me it was a 5 star compared to a 4 star for The Black Prism, and I think that was because I’d read Mistborn first, so The Black Prism’s new form of magic didn’t awe me quite as much as I’d already been awed by Sanderson’s. And now most of the big new inventive magic systems I just find interesting but not awe-inspiring. But I enjoyed both immensely. And despite the magic system I think I was most drawn to the characters. I’ll be curious to see your take on the rest of the series if you finish it. I’m tempted to say more now but don’t want to influence your reading. Great review!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ohhh that’s interesting that if things had gone the other way around, Black Prism could’ve maybe gotten that extra star. 😀 I totally understand about modern epic fantasy stories. I’ve often heard that people have been greatly inspired by Sanderson’s magic system and everything now feels like a derivative. I definitely look forward to continuing on with this series and to see how I fare! Thanks for reading, Todd! 😀

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  • I have to confess I have not read anything by Sanderson yet: every time I think about picking one of his works I tend to get scared by the sheer number of titles he published and their huge page count – still, this one looks very intriguing, particularly because of your comment about “plans within plans” that makes it sound irresistible… 😀
    Thanks for sharing!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • What? Maddalena! You haven’t read anything by Sanderson?! Watch out for the Sanderson police. They could arrest you for such things! 😮

      On a serious note, I think this is a wonderful entry-point to Sanderson’s Cosmere universe. You could also just go with his first novel Elantris and work your way from there (it’s a stand-alone story for the time being with a sequel in the works).

      Thanks for reading! I look forward to the day you share your wonderful and insightful thoughts on this bad boy! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

      • the Sanderson police??? Now I’m worried!! I knew, I knew I was in danger of something like that, but I was thinking more along the lines of Sanderson fans armed with torches and pitchforks! 😀 😀
        But I promise: one of these days I WILL add Sanderson to my TBR!

        Liked by 1 person

  • *fist bump*

    Ha, another modern classic under your belt and thankfully you once again have the great taste of liking it 😀 I am really glad to see that it still stands up as a good story 14 years later. Sanderson was still making his name as these were released but at the time, my goodness, it was the best thing ever! He can truly tell a fantastic story.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yep. It was on my yearly TBR resolution and I’m glad to have finally gotten around to it. I look forward to seeing how things develop and, hopefully, I won’t run into things that will disappoint me! But yes… Dude can write! 😮

      Liked by 1 person

      • If you like this, you’ll like the rest of it. I think his writing gets better and better as time goes on.
        I’ve got his debut book (Elantris) to re-read sometime next year and I’m expecting it to be a bit rough 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  • I’m glad you enjoyed it, Lashaan! I must confess that this was the only Sanderson that I really liked, as the subsequent books in the series were much, much worse (as I believe you’ll discover for yourself soon enough ;)) But this book was really decent; the magic system, Kelsier’s character, a solid storyline… Though you seem to have already noticed the faults that killed a lot of enjoyment in the sequels 😉 Great review! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh wow! I’m actually very intrigued by this. I’m very curious now to find out what happens in the subsequent books to have made you so disappointed. 😮 At least we both agree that this one is a brilliant installment that has its spot in the history of epic fantasy stories! 😀 Thanks for reading, Ola!

      Liked by 1 person

  • I do not read a lot of fantasy and dystopian but this actually sounds like I would enjoy it. Wonderful review, Lashaan. I will have to see if I can find this at my library. I am intrigued by the type of magic in this book, it is not something I have read about before.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much, Carla! Wow. The highest of honors for book bloggers! To incite others to give the books I enjoy a try for themselves! 😀 I do hope you get to try this one out someday soon and I hope it will make you want to read more of this genre. 😛

      Liked by 1 person

  • I recently read Starsight – my first Brian Sanderson – and really enjoyed it, and I’ve been told to pick up Mistborn since. It sounds really different from Starsight, which is all in space. I really like the sound of the magic system. What you said about the crew makes me wants to read it the most though – the side characters were my favourite in Starsight too.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yep. Read your reviews for those Sanderson books! Still need to get to them someday but man, this one is a wonderful beginning to what should be a pretty cool series. Hope you get the chance to give it a try someday, Lydia! 😀

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  • Fantastic review as always, Lashaan! I’m really glad you enjoyed this book so much! I completely get what you mean about the action scenes playing out like a video game! Apparently, they were developing one based on the book at some point, but it got cancelled 🤷🏻‍♀️. It would be cool to see though!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much, Belle! I appreciate it so much. Wow, that is so sad. I actually think there’s a lot of potential for Mistborn to be an epic fantasy action adventure video game, developed like the Witcher 3 game. Hopefully someday someone will create it. For the time being, I hear there’s a TV series/movie in development and Sanderson is currently writing the script for it! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

      • I was thinking that also! I’ve never played the Witcher game haha, but something about the TV show does remind me of The Final Empire. That’s awesome to hear about Sanderson 😮 – I’m gonna look that up!

        Liked by 1 person

  • This book sounds so cool! I love the fact that it feels like a video game! 😍 From your review, I thought it would deserve a good 5 stars, why only four ? 😯! Amazing review, Lashaan 🤗

    Liked by 1 person

    • Same here! That doesn’t happen often without it feeling weird. Here, it’s perfect! I wish someone worked on that game already hahah I have it 4 mostly because of the whole romance part that was introduced later on. It just didn’t click with me hahah Thanks for reading, Caroline! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  • Super interesting review for what seems to be a really captivating book, Lashaan! It sounds incredible how intricate and detailed this invented world is and definitely makes me want to check out the book! Thanks for sharing 😊

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  • I’m so glad you enjoyed this book Lashaan! I’m also excited for you to read the rest of the trilogy. This is probably one of my favorite fantasies, not only because of the amazing characters (which you highlighted really well in your review), but also the in-depth world-building and magic system that Sanderson creates. It was so utterly immersive, and each book got better and better. Although I haven’t started the rest of the series (as I understand, the next trilogy takes readers to years forward), I’m excited to read them all at once.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I can definitely see why it might be a favourite! That magic system alone makes me drool for more hahaha Yep, the second trilogy is a whole other set of characters! I look forward to checking out book 2 and hope you’ll have fun with the rest if you ever do give them a try in the near future, Aila! 😀 Thanks for reading!

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