Welcome to week 2 of Mistborn Mondays, to catch up I recommend checking out last weeks post where I discuss the premise of the series and a bit about the magic system.
If you are looking to get into fantasy, the next step in fantasy, or just a good read, this is where to start. Mistborn: The Final Empire is the book you are looking for, and one you wont put down. There is a reason everyone is talking about Brandon Sanderson. His writing is straight forward, he is the leading authority on magic systems, and his world building is seemingly flawless. The first book in the Mistborn series is a perfect example of how well Mr. Sanderson has plotted his books and uses that to raise the stakes and keep readers on the edge of their proverbial seats.
Mistborn almost did not happen. Publishers were unsure of an epic series that would cross timelines. Changing characters throughout an ongoing series is all but unheard of. I am certain some publisher somewhere basically said ‘let this guy do whatever the f*** he wants’. And the first book was put to print in 2006 from Tor Books, the trilogy completed within 3 years.
Mistborn is set on the medieval, dystopian world of Scadrial. Where ash continuously falls from the sky, the plant life lacks colour, and each night the mists consume the landscape. The people fear the mists and hide indoors when the sun goes down. That is where our story begins, with a thief and scoundrel who does not fear the mists, or the powerful ‘Lord Ruler’ who dominates this world. Kelsier, puts together a team of criminals with individual powers, and a young thief that is discovering she may have her own abilities. Conspiring and gathering an army, the rag tag group puts together the pieces to bring down the dark power that has ruled this world for a thousand years.
The plot may sound straight forward, but the book is full of unexpected twists and turns. Mistborn keeps you on your toes and is full of victories and disappointments. Parallel to the enthralling storyline, we are learning about the abilities and limits of the magic system, which have the feel of superpowers from an X-Men comic. The world is explained deeply, setting us up for a major trilogy, yet everything comes into play by the end of this first installment.
The characters featured in Final Empire are one of the novels biggest appeals. The anti hero party that Kelsier has assembled is full of unique personalities. Chapters that feature this group discussing their plans are a highlight, with humour and tension that feels genuine and familiar. From these ‘heroes’ to the mysterious antagonists there are many characters to love, all bringing something different to the story. Centering on Vin, the tormented young hero that is discovering her place in the party and the world. In the end the success of their plans may rest on Vin finding herself and the limits of her powers.
I will go on record and say: Mistborn includes my current favorite fight scene in adult fiction. Kelsier is pitted against one of the Lord Rulers powerful auxiliaries. The battle that ensues culminates everything we have learned about the magic. Showing us, the readers, the possibilities of the extreme abilities. The action is described effectively, the tensions and stakes are high, and our hero is everything we could dream of. On more than one occasion I have picked up this novel to reread this one scene.
The conclusion of The Final Empire wraps up the story well enough that it is fantastic as a stand alone. At the same time, it drops all the hints needed to draw you in to the next installment. ‘There is always another secret’ and the crazy ride of the first book is just the beginning.
Coincidently, yesterday, during my trip to the bookstore, I overheard a lady talking to her daughter about this book. She basically told her teenager that this was a must read, without any debate she had to read Mistborn. That solidifies for me, my recommendation that everyone should try this book. Not every reader can like the same book (don’t believe me check my opinion on Game of Thrones) yet the margins of people who didn’t enjoy this series are slim. I was a skeptic, my paperback copy was given to me, and honestly, the cover is horrendous. With a stereotypical fantasy painting that looks like a romance novel, with unattractive purple writing. After I peeled back that cover and started in I spent that week obsessed. I believe I texted Jenn from work to make sure the book was in a safe place and waiting for me to get home. A 5/5 read that will be looked back on as a classic; one of the greats of our time. Do not miss out.
Thanks booknerds, see you next Monday for Mistborn: The Well of Ascension.