Mistborn: The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson: Book Review

Title: Mistborn: The Final Empire
Author: Brandon Sanderson
Series: Mistborn
Publication details: July 31st 2007 by Tom Doherty Associates (first published July 17th 2006)
Genre: Epic fantasy, high fantasy

The Mists rule the night.
The Lord Ruler owns the world.

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.

A refreshing, highly entertaining, fantasy read.

The Mistborn series was never in the my to-read list. But in 2018, I got hooked with fantasy, and a lot of fantasy Booktubers recommend Brandon Sanderson. I have already read Steelheart and Firefight by the author, and I liked them both. Thus, when the Manila International Book Fair came, I went ahead and bought the first two books in the Mistborn series.

In this first book in a series, we follow a crew of thieves as they try to overthrow a tyrant, the Lord Ruler, who has been ruling the Final Empire for thousands of years. Not only will they challenge a powerful ruler, but they will also challenge the mindset and norms of the people. And in the midst of all is Vin who, despite her unbelief and doubt, will have to trust not only the crewmembers, but also and most especially herself.

I went ahead blind with this one. The first few chapters are quite slow yet attention-grabbing. The author took his time introducing the world, and setting the mood for the reader. Thus, I was easily intrigued and was eager to know how the plot and characters will come together.

I also liked the political and social commentaries laced within the story, but aren't overpowering the fantasy and action elements. For me, it made the book more interesting and more thought-provoking.

There was a time, a brief one, when I thought Mistborn is one of a cliche fantasy read. But I was wrong. It has the usual fantasy elements, but the magic system and the turn of events are all unique to me. The flow of the story is also smooth. And I liked how each event is weaved together creating a thrilling and entertaining read.

Some scenes felt quite slow but thankfully, not dragging. There are anticlimactic events but later on I accepted them realizing that being anticlimactic made the story more 'representational' of what the real world is. (Haha! I cannot express my thoughts clearly.) Also, I think that's the signature style of the author. There are, however, redeeming factors because of the succeeding events and the ending.

Alas, the ending! The revelations and the events toward the end surprised me. There are mysteries that left me wanting to read the next book ASAP! It's one of those books where you'll find yourself asking "wait, what just happened?". And thankfully, I have the second book so I read that immediately after. πŸ˜‚

The world-building is amazing. I believe Brandon Sanderson is well-known for his world-building.

As I have mentioned, the author took his time introducing the world in the beginning of the book. And as I read along, he also made sure to remind and/or explain the magic system so as not to confuse the reader. I also appreciate that there is some sort of index at the end of the book for reference.

The allomancy, their magic system, is unique. It's powerful but at the same time with limitations that make the allomancers and mistborns human. And while the government and the society aren't totally unique in terms of tyranny and the oppression, this part of the plot still has some twists that made it more interesting. Even the creatures are something I haven't read about before.

When I started reading, I really had no idea who the main character is. πŸ˜‚There are a lot of characters who the author equally focuses on. Luckily though, they did not confuse me.

The different characters gave me a wider view of the world and the plot. Some of them I find unrelatable, but overall they are three-dimensional, and are entertaining to read about.

I especially liked how despite their differences, they can still work together. The amount of trust in the crew is also something to take note of, given their 'professions'.

I really, really liked the writing style of the author. The writing is detailed but without being dragging and boring. It easily grabbed my attention, played with my emotions and then eventually rooted me in. 😁

The story is easy to follow and understand even with the technical terms because the author carefully explains or describes the elements. I can now understand why Brandon Sanderson's name is automatically included when one talk about fantasy reads.


Overall, I really enjoyed reading Mistborn. As of writing this post, I already finished the second book, and I just bought the third one. Haha!

If you're starting with fantasy, I am one with most of the fantasy readers. I definitely recommend the Mistborn series. I also cannot wait to read the other books by the author!