The Final Empire – Mistborn Trilogy by Brandon Sanderson: A Book Review

I first became aware of Brandon Sanderson when he took the helm of the Wheel of Time series after the author, Robert Jordan died. Taking over such an epic is a difficult thing to do but Sanderson used Jordan’s notes and expertly delivered. I never really considered him as an author in his own write until I started to watch Daniel Greene a Wheel of Time YouTuber, he spoke regularly about his Mistborn series and so I found a slot and tried the first in the Mistborn Trilogy.

The novel is essentially a fantasy political and action thriller. It is set in a fantasy world that is completely under the control of an immortal god like being. The plot focuses on a group of people who represent the subjugated underclass who are trying to overthrow the the ruler.

The heroes are a mixture of thieves and talented magic users. Magic in the Mistborn series is unique and well thought out. It is called Allomancy and is based on the metabolising of metals and alloys. It gives them telepathy, strength, enhanced senses and all sorts of other abilities. On the face of it this concept seems absurd and a rather incongruous way for a magic system to work but Sanderson explains its so well and introduces so many nuances and rules that it very quickly goes from being an alien concept to a very clever and complex backdrop with which to play with.

The lead character is a gang leader called Kelsier and he is a complex man with hidden depths. We get to learn about the world by following a young girl, Vin, who learns she can do allomancy and becomes a powerful, strong female lead.

The story evolves at a stead pace and explores themes of slavery and class in an engaging way. The antagonists are genuinely scary and the whole plot rattles along nicely. It starts to feel like a standard modern fantasy and as a reader you can revel in the world building and the intricacies of the magic system, but as the book enters its last third the narrative shifts into a more interesting dynamic. There are a couple of interesting reveals that satisfyingly wrap up the plot but also hint at future complexities in the latter parts of the trilogy.

The Final Empire, is an enjoyable read. It is an intelligent read and it is one that delivers on what it promises early on. Well worth the read.

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