The Final Empire (Mistborn, Book 1)
The Final Empire (Mistborn, Book 1)

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Product Description

Brandon Sanderson, fantasy’s newest master tale spinner, author of the acclaimed debut Elantris, dares to turn a genre on its head by asking a simple question: What if the hero of prophecy fails? What kind of world results when the Dark Lord is in charge? The answer will be found in the Mistborn Trilogy, a saga of surprises and magical martial-arts action that begins in Mistborn.

For a thousand years the ash fell and no flowers bloomed. For a thousand years the Skaa slaved in misery and lived in fear. For a thousand years the Lord Ruler, the “Sliver of Infinity,” reigned with absolute power and ultimate terror, divinely invincible. Then, when hope was so long lost that not even its memory remained, a terribly scarred, heart-broken half-Skaa rediscovered it in the depths of the Lord Ruler’s most hellish prison. Kelsier “snapped” and found in himself the powers of a Mistborn. A brilliant thief and natural leader, he turned his talents to the ultimate caper, with the Lord Ruler himself as the mark.
Kelsier recruited the underworld’s elite, the smartest and most trustworthy allomancers, each of whom shares one of his many powers, and all of whom relish a high-stakes challenge. Only then does he reveal his ultimate dream, not just the greatest heist in history, but the downfall of the divine despot.
But even with the best criminal crew ever assembled, Kel’s plan looks more like the ultimate long shot, until luck brings a ragged girl named Vin into his life. Like him, she’s a half-Skaa orphan, but she’s lived a much harsher life. Vin has learned to expect betrayal from everyone she meets, and gotten it. She will have to learn to trust, if Kel is to help her master powers of which she never dreamed.

Readers of Elantris thought they'd discovered someone special in Brandon Sanderson. Mistborn proves they were right.

Customer Reviews:

  • One of the most creative books in the genre
    The best thing about Mistborn is the basic premise. A great many epic fantasies (most? all?) follow the same general idea: the end of the world is coming due to some sort of great evil, and one man or woman is prophesized to stop that evil. Mistborn basically starts a thousand years after that prophesized hero failed. The grey and ash-covered world is ruled by The Lord Ruler, an evil immortal "god." Man is more or less separated into two groups: noblemen and the skaa, who are slaves to the noblemen. The idea is that the noblemen are descendents of The Lord Ruler's supporters right around when the world ended, and the skaa are...everyone else. Some of the noblemen are born with magic powers, referred to as Allomancy that works by swallowing different metals that the person "burns" to release the magic. An Allomancer who can burn one metal is called a Misting; an Allomancer who can burn all ten Allomancy metals is called a Mistborn (you either can burn one or all of them). Occasionally, due to noblemen fraternizing with their slaves, skaa are born with Allomancy. They are hunted by the book's version of the Gestapo, called Obligators and Inquistors. The first book in this series follows Vin, a young girl skaa who has been a part of an underground skaa thieving group. She gets noticed by Kelsier, a Mistborn from an elite underground skaa thieving group, who discovered his powers are suffering in, and escaping, the Lord Ruler's most brutal prison. Kelsier realizes that Vin is also a Mistborn and recruits her to be part of his plan to overthrow The Final Empire and free the skaa. Vin, however, has been terribly abused during her times on the street and is reluctant to trust Kelsier, or anyone.

    I would say this book's greatest flaw is that sometimes the characters are a little clich¨¦d and stereotypical, Vin especially. Kelsier is definitely more interesting--he is greatly flawed as the "hero" figure with a tendency toward fundamentalism and egocentrism.

    With that said, I think everything else about this book was fantastic. The plot moves relatively quickly, despite the fact that the characters can be clich¨¦, you still care about them and what happens to them, and the plot twists are not always foreseeable from a mile away (unlike, say, in Eragon). I heard some people complain about the dialogue, but I'm usually remarkably sensitive to bad dialogue, and it never bothered me once in this book. I agree that Vin sounds a bit too educated for an orphaned street urchin, but I can allow for artistic license there so that Vin can still be an engaging protagonist.

    This is, without a doubt, one of the most creative books I've read in the genre. By the time you get to the end, you'll question basically every tenet you believed to be sacred to the field of epic fantasy.
    ...more info
  • a favorite series to inspire a halloween costume
    Other reviewers have done a great job with synopsis, etc, so I just wanted to say I love the "Mistborn" series! Great characters (nice to have a female lead), great story, great magic...I can't wait to (finally) read book 3. This series inspired me to be Valette, your honorable courtly assassin, for Halloween this year :)

    (and yes, my costume included a pouch of "jumping coins" and vials of "allomantic metals"...too much fun, even though 100% of the people didn't get the reference)...more info
  • one of my favorites
    I'm a very picky person when comes down to books, so after looking for a good read for hours, right before leaving the library I came across this book, Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson, if it hadn't been for its cover I probably would have never noticed it, and I know they say don't "Don't judge a book by its cover" but boy were they wrong about this one, after sitting down and reading the first chapter I was almost completely sure that Mistborn would fall into my top 5 books, just like its cover, a great book, it had some flaws, but small things compare to the genies work Brandon had done with the main characters and magic system, after reading the hall book I felt like a 5 year old wishing Pok¨¦mon were real. Brandon elaborated on the magic system and on the ash covered world so well every time I picked it up it completely swallowed my for hours. In all a great book, and after reading the 2nd book of the series, Brandon became one of my favorite authors.
    I thank god Brandon picked such a good cover artist, or I would have never read this piece of art.
    ...more info
  • Original system of magic and good plot twists...
    I really enjoyed the magic system of this book. Pretty creative blend of alchemy and jedi mind tricks.

    When Kelsier first started flying around at the beginning of the book I thought it seemed rather silly. Almost like fantasy meets a comic book. But as the story progressed I found myself really getting into it. Yeah the battles between the mistborn become an actionfest but I found myself NOT rolling my eyes but instead sitting at the edge of my seat.

    The plot twist near the end is quite good and well thought out. And I found even my cynical middle agedness giving in to the innocent romance.

    Overall a very good book. I don't think you'll be disappointed....more info
  • Masterful characterization that truly ropes you in
    I was drawn to Brandon Sanderson's books, as likely many of you were/are, because of his selection to finish the Wheel of Time series. I am happy to say that after reading Elantris and the first book and a half of The Mistborn Trilogy I believe Brandon is an excellent choice to conclude the series (while no one can ever replace Robert Jordan, I believe that in Mr. Sanderson we have a worthy successor). This tale of an immortal god/ruler and his empire and the people that would overthrow it is a fascinating read, pulling you in from the beginning and keeping your mind wandering back to the book whenever something manages to pull you away. His pacing is excellent, mixing just the right amount of description and characterization with action, while he delves deep into the emotions and personalities of each of the main characters the story never seems to drag and it is easy to forget that you are reading as you see the tale woven in your mind. With the passing of Mr. Jordan I have now found a worthy man to call my favorite living author....more info
  • Highly Entertaining, Unusual yet Familiar
    Mistborn, Final Empire is the first of three Mistborn books. There are three books, but (as is occasionally the case with the first volume of a trilogy) this volume stands very nicely on its own.

    This first volume is Brandon Sanderson's second published work, and it is a phenomenal early work. It is a strong, excellent work.

    Sanderson prides himself on the creation of new and unique magic systems. He also likes to write magic systems with strong rules; as he says, it gives the work a "grittier" feel. "Grittier" is definitely an appropriate word to use.

    Yet, unlike some "grittier" fantasy, it didn't come across as obsessively gory or profane. (Think George R. R. Martin)

    The magic system in Mistborn is very unique, and very well thought out. Magic can participate in the plot in a very important way, and yet it is entirely understandable and believable -- because of how well-crafted the magic system is and how well the reader can understand it.

    The plot reveals a few of the bones of the underlying archetype, yes, but it puts some interesting "meat" on them.

    My biggest complaint is that sometimes the characters are too precise in their self-analysis. Yes, I understand that some of the characters are very introspective. Actually, most of the time it's wonderful. But every once-in-a-while, one of the characters (usually Vin) thinks just a bit too clearly about her own motivations. When this happens, it feels like Sanderson himself stepping into the novel and telling us something directly, and a few times it pulled me out of the story for a moment.

    I still give this entry the full 5 stars, and I heartily recommend that you buy and read it.

    Afterward, visit Sanderson's website, because he has "bonus features" on his website for the book. He includes a few "deleted scenes" and annotations for every chapter. They tell you what he was thinking as he wrote, what he was trying to accomplish, and sometimes lets you read multiple versions of a passage that came from earlier drafts....more info
  • Up there with Jordan and Martin
    I am a big fan of Robert Jordan, George R.R. Martin, and the like, and I originally got this book because Sanderson is writing the rest of Jordan's Wheel of Time series. I was not disappointed. As a matter of fact, I was pleasantly and unexpectedly engrossed, entertained, and addicted. The book is hilarious (I laughed out load many times), fast paced, focused, and well developed in its characters, plots, and themes. I expected some good reading, but what I got was a riveting, funny, real story that I am very excited to follow. I only hope I won't have to wait too long between books to continue my new found adventure....more info
  • Excellent read
    I'm a big fan of the late Robert Jordan, and I recently picked up Sanderson's works because I heard he was writing the last book of Jordan's series, and wanted to get a feel for him - to "see if he could do it." But whether I think he can satisfactorily write the last book in Jordan's series is unimportant. What matters is: I'm just glad I discovered him in the first place.

    Two big things I loved which other reviewers have not touched on:

    1.) Unlike many "adult" fantasy series, this book is absent of out-of-place coarseness and vulgarity. I don't say this because I'm prude. It would always floor me, when reading other fantasy series, when characters would belt out the same extremely vulgar swears we use in modern-day life. It's distracting and rips you out of whatever immersion the story had built up, and is sheer laziness on the author's part. You've created this entirely new world, why not throw in some entirely new swears to help build the world and keep the reader immersed?

    2.) The magic system. Ok, I know other reviewers have already talked about how awesome it is, is really, REALLY awesome. At first, when I learned they "burned metals", I thought it seemed ridiculously random. Burn metals? Why not chew plastic? Or lick dirt? But the more I read, the more incredible it became. It even reverted me back to a little kid's mentality, as I pictured what it would be like to use those powers in my everyday life. Driving home in the falling snow - "Now I would burn Tin." Can't get the door open - "Time to flare Pewter." It's an incredibly fun system of magic, I can't get enough of it.

    Now, as other reviewers have said...Kelsier and Vin are extremely well-done characters, the others...not so much. But that's because they're not really the focus of the book - and they don't *have* to be. The world itself is so intriguing, with the class differences, the falling ash and red sky, the Lord Ruler and the thousand years of destroyed history and don't really care that we don't know *exactly* what drives someone like Breeze or Spook or Clubs. We know their personality and their place in the group, and that's enough.

    This was an extremely satisfying, enjoyable read, and I can't wait to get the next book....more info
  • What a great begining!
    MISTBORN is an original take on an often over done genre. Brandon Sanderson did a wonderful job in creating this new world with new magic and enough common elements that the reader is not lost, yet enough intrigue to keep your attention peaked. I will definitly be buying the next book of the series for this one! Way to go!...more info
  • Thoroughly enjoyable read
    This book deserves more than a four-star rating, but not quite a five. I totally enjoyed this book, and would've given it a five-star rating if the ending had one less twist to it. I've asked my husband to get me the next book in this series for Christmas. Mr. Sanderson has created characters that are engaging and real. It's jam packed with action, but it's not overwhelming. It's a keeper....more info
  • Enjoyed this series
    I was browsing through the Amazon site...following threads and recommendations from other books when I came across this series of books. I had a new Kindle and was going on vacation, and wanted to take some light reading along. This was a great choice.

    I enjoyed this book so much I quickly ordered the second and third books in the series. I love this writer's style, and the characters he has created here.

    Very satisfying series of books, and I look forward to reading other books from this author. I'm a new fan....more info
  • An excellent twist on the "normal" fantasy storyline.
    I highly recommend The Final Empire. This book is well written, descriptive, and extremelly enjoyable. Brandon Sanderson (the author) takes you into a unique world of his making and tells the tale of a very unique young women. An excellent read....more info
  • Pure Evil genius
    [...] I have never seen someone come up with as many way's to inflict pain onto the protagonist. I ENJOYED IT! No but seriously everything he does is new and fresh, from the magic system to the dangers, to the character development. If i had to pick a video to describe it would be this video. It pretty much sums up the feeling of the book. Enjoy! [...]...more info
  • Not another Hero story.
    Well think what happens after the heroes in all the stories wins and defeats the evil that is covering the land?
    How do you keep everyone happy? The easy answer is you don't.
    In this story happily ever after is is not in the cards.
    Not a story for those who like the perfect hero or text book story.
    It will keep you thinking and make you ask. "If I saved the world could I do better?"...more info
  • Take a Chance
    In reading the synopsis of this book it didn't sound very interesting to me. The sample chapter also didn't really sell me on this book. The whole burning metal thing seemed to be a stretch. Because of Amazons four for three deal and the fact that I really enjoyed Elantris by Sanderson I gave this book a try. I must say that I found the whole magic system interesting and I was really glad that I bought this book. The only bad thing is due to my lack of confidence I now have to wait for book two to show up to continue the story. I hope you give this a chance too. It really is an enjoyable read. ...more info
  • Wow. W-O-W

    That is what I said when I put this book down, finished. Just . . . wow.

    I've never read anything by Brandon Sanderson before, but hearing that he would be finishing the Wheel of Time Series that I recently started, I figured I should get an idea of how good a writer he is and if he is capable of finishing such a complex story.

    Long story short, I was not disappointed.

    The first thing that jumped out at me was the originality of the setting and premise. "Mistborn" is set in an almost post-apocalyptic world where, in the distant past, the farmboy turned demi-god failed and evil took over. The world is a wasteland ruled by an invincible mage tyrant, choked with ash and soot that falls endlessly, dominated by a brutal upper-crust of nobleman, and shrouded at night by veils of eerie mist filled with strange beasts. Few people even remember that the sun was yellow once, or that plants are supposed to be green and healthy, rather than brown and dead.

    The consistency with which Sanderson fleshed out this unique world impressed me a great deal. If there was anything wrong with the worldbuilding, it was that the maps included were a little difficult to read and follow, but there wasn't much traveling done in this book anyway, so that was a minor issue.

    In terms of character development, Mistborn excelled. Seriously, this is a freakin' George R.R. Martin level of characterization, here. Vin and Kelsier are of particular note, but just about all the minor characters had their own unique charm that made them individualistic and the interaction between them that much more believable.

    I get the sense that Sanderson was influenced in part by Robin Hobb, because like her, he sometimes names characters after concepts. However, this works out a lot better for him than for Robin Hackwriter, and is done with a good deal more subtle technique. The pseudo-nobleman with a cane who manipulates emotions is named "Breeze", the super-human soldier is named "Ham", the ambitious noble family are called, "The Ventures" and so on.

    And then's there the dialogue. I won't lie to you; I'm not easily impressed when it comes to dialogue, and Mistborn blew me away. The characters, far from sounding like tired actors trying very hard to read a bad script like in most fantasy, actually sounded like real people, and every few lines there was wit or good-natured mockery.(For example, when Kelsier was writing down a list of potential problems to his plan, one of the crewmembers said the plan was absolutely crazy. So, Kelsier wrote down as one problem that one of his crew had a "hopelessly bad attitude.")

    The plot starts out good and keeps getting better. The resolution and ending were excellent. The author successfully tied up a great deal of loose ends and dropped a lot of plot twists in very few pages, without even giving the feel of it being rushed.

    The romance sub-plot, minor as it was in this book, was great. Yeah, none of that "fated true love" bulls**t here. To avoid typing out an essay, I'll suffice to say that Sanderson triumphed yet again.

    The Magic system was extremely original and innovative, and at the same time very deep, complex, and interconnected, with a lot of potential. My only real complaints would be that I would have liked to see even more Allomantic powers, and also some characters that would actually bridge the gap between the "weak" Mistings and "super-powered" Mistborn, which was a rather uneven balance.

    I could go on and on and on and on about how awesome this book is, but I'll end here with saying that you'll be hard-pressed to find a better, more intelligently-written series than Brandon Sanderson's Mistborn. The Final Empire receives 5 glowing stars, and my highest recommendation....more info
  • Not cookie cutter. Thank God!
    Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson is an excellent fantasy novel that was hard to put down. I, like many others, wanted to see what the author who was going to finish Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series was all about. I have to say he didn't dissapoint.

    Excellent read. I couldn't put the book down. What makes this book so successful IMOP is the history. History is essential to any good fantasy story and its impact on the characters in the present is what drives the story.

    If you want an enjoyable, fast paced, and "new" epic fantasy you need to read this novel. Read Elantris as well. Fantastic!...more info
  • Born Creative...
    Mistborn is a rare find. In today's slim pickings among fantasy authors, you are seldom given the kind of story which is truly a feast for the imagination such as the words penned by Brandon Sanderson in The Final Empire. This is a unique book in many ways, and by hearing some of the descriptions of it, you might just get an unfair impression of it. I think you should give it a chance, even if you are concerned you might not like it, just because it is such a memorable read.

    The best thing about this book is simply the story. This book is really just about the main plot, and this main plot is as interesting as any I have read in a long time. So many books try to focus on character driven plots, or subplots, or multiple threads, and usually the main plot suffers as a result. Not so in this case. This is a simple straight forward plot to follow from beginning to end. It is not without pseudo "flashbacks," loose ends, or plenty of exposition, but it is direct and comes to its own conclusion between the covers.

    The second thing that impressed me with this book is the magic systemS (plural). While the powers described in this book are quite reminiscent of the powers of a good jedi, the means to that end are quite unique. Not only that, but there are two systems in this book which are in some ways related, but in other ways totally unique. Really, Allomancy and Feruchemistry are some of the most interesting and fresh ideas in magic I have ever read about, and I wont spoil your enjoyment of the book with more description than that.

    The books suffers some equally unique problems, which I feel are somewhat unique to this author and his style of writing. Some of his dialogue in this books is quite expositional, but there are many passages of instruction, and debriefing which are necessarily thus. This gives the reader the feeling of attending a rather unique lecture at times, rather than reading a book.

    A favorite of this author is the perspective change. While he spends most of his time in the perspective of one of the two main characters, he abruptly switches a few times, and this feels a little jarring. Also, his writing doesn't really feel like it is from a personal perspective at all, but more of a casual observer. Also, Brandon never jumps to secondary characters for perspective, which would have made the whole experience more interesting. The book does begin with the perspective of a minor nobleman, but thinks better of including other perspectives in the rest of the book, which I feel is mistake, and makes the other characters seem that much more flat.

    The characters themselves are hardly unique, and might be considered "stock" characters from the fantasy vaults. Their histories give them their unique colorations, but the characters themselves alone and apart from this book would hardly be memorable. It is this marvelous setting and the opportunities it provides which, in turns, lends the characters some opportunities to gain some charisma. I've heard of character driven plots, but I feel this is more plot-driven characters, which really, in all honesty, has some very good merit.

    The most disturbing thing about this Kindle read is the rather large number of type-o's, including things like periods for commas. Clearly, editing was not a high priority for the publisher, and the quality of the print suffers for it. I really had hard time reading bits of it where words were misspelled or punctuation was absent or incorrect. I only mention this because the word may have had one incorrect letter, and the word was changed to an entirely different word, such as word vs. ward, or cord vs. card, that sort of thing.

    Overall, I would highly recommend this book, having given my earlier caveats regarding the writing style and the typing errors. I know that this book is worth enjoying despite a few minor obstacles....more info
  • Explosive talent hits the fantasy genre
    I enjoyed fantasy books as a teenager, then I grew up and could not get into them anymore. It's like many fantasy authors use excessive detail of strange lands and people to get past their thin plots and boring dialogue.

    Then Mistborn was highly recommended to me so I read it. Wow. The raw talent of this author is evident from the first few pages. Each of the characters exude personality and reading of their interactions is enjoyable, humorous, and often insightful.

    Then there is the action. Instead of the typical confusing battle sequences with vague magic use, the action in Mistborn is tightly focused and creates a vivid picture of what is happening. Many of the scenes reminded me of The Matrix for their sheer intensity and grace.

    But, what good would a book be without an intriguing plot? I won't describe it, but I was hooked from the beginning and the ending left me amazed and thinking about it for days afterward.

    This is not just fantasy at its best, this is writing at its best. ...more info
  • Two words: Buy it!
    After reading Brandon Sanderson's debut, Elantris, I was compelled to read his other works. The first entry in the trilogy, Mistborn, has not disappointed in the least. In the Final Empire, you'll find a stirring tale of a broken world where humanity lives in constant fear, subjugated by the fallen hero from a desperate era. The cruelty of this mad emperor creates a new hero with one purpose - to destroy him. Brandon Sanderson is one of the most creative fantasy writers I have seen in a long time, and this book tackles class-warfare and reverses the traditional fantasy archetype of the Hero's Journey. If you enjoy fare a little bit more complicated than dragons and princesses, this book is for you....more info
  • A bit of a lengthy letdown, Vin would have been a better main character
    Bottom Line: Try before you buy
    So, I've never read Sanderson before, nor did I know about him finishing Jordan's (Wheel of Time series) last novel until after I had already bought the book.
    Started the book, was very impressed with the world building, and thought the use of metals was an interesting twist of the use of magic. But after a while, the book got kinda...boring, meaning it was taking forever to go anywhere that captured my the point I put the book down and left it there twice (almost wasn't going to pick up back up).
    When I finally started reading again, I skimmed ahead and discovered the story got a lot better when Vin was sent to act as part of a House member, just took way to long to get her to that FOREVER. The book should have started there because it was the most interesting part of the story, and the part of the story where the real action begins, to me. And the most interesting character, was really Vin. She should have been the focus of the whole story, and her plight being caught up in Kelsier's war. Most interesting relationship, was Vin and Elend. Too bad there wasn't a whole gosh darn darn more of them, and the tension between them weaved and dragged out in the story.
    If you enjoy really detailed world building, and you don't mind the story being dragged out, then maybe you'll like this book.
    If you need a little more action and movement in your stories, with a great character to follow, maybe pass on this one.
    Lorna Freeman, E.E. Knight, Holly Lisle are much better for adventure fantasy....more info
  • Has promise, but needs work
    I liked the plot and setting of the book. Brandon Sanderson is like your Michael Crichton or such, where he weaves a nice tale but the characters are lacking. So, if he could improve on that, and also his vocabulary (I can't count the number of times someone "paled" in this book) then this series has places to go!...more info
  • Modern fantasy masterpiece
    This is an absolutely excellent piece of modern fantasy that rivals Martin and Hobb. Sanderson absolutely hits a grand slam with the first novel in his trilogy.

    What is so good about it?

    1.) The magic system is coherent and constant. His rules of Allomancy are very in depth and well thought out; they are consistent and the imagery used to describe it all left me with a lot to picture and imagine in my mind. It would make for a hell of a good video game. Excellent job on the magic system.

    2.) His descriptions of using Allomancy are very vivid. He sticks to his own rules and describes the fight scenes involving Allomancy run like a movie. It is very well described.

    3.) The main character developes really well. Vin's character development is 2nd to none including the works of Hobb, Martin, and the first few Jordan books. Excellent work on imerssive and enjoyable main characters.

    4.) Excellent pacing. This book doesn't drag at any point. I put the book down each evening excited to get home from work and pick it up again. His description give excellent detail and not oppressive, unlike some other fantasy authors.

    5.) Ties up a lot of loose ends. I think a lot of fans can really appriciate an author that cleans up his own story. Sanderson ends the book explaining almost everything except a few historical plot points, a perfect spring board into his next novel.

    Summary: Sanderson has done a tremendous job on the first book in his Mistborn series and I am very eager to start the next one!...more info
  • Excellent Book
    One of the best fantasy books I've read! I highly recommend it and all the books in the series....more info
  • a great story
    Mistborn is an amazing story, that's set in a very unique and creative universe. Well worth the time and money spent engrossed within it's pages....more info
    The first novel in New York Times bestselling author Brandon Sanderson's Mistborn trilogy is an introduction to a fantasy world of class and standing where the poor suffer under the iron fist of the nobility who ignore them and pretend they don't exist. Mistborn: The Final Empire reveals a unique realm where the mistborn possess powers of magic never before seen in any other fantasy novel.

    Vin is a sixteen year-old skaa, a peasant girl who has never really known her parents, abandoned by an abusive brother, and spends her days working in a field with no hope of change. That is until a tall and imposing stranger by the name of Kelsier shows up, dismisses her abusive boss like he is garbage and pays attention to her for the first time. He tells her she possesses powers she is unaware of and then takes her away from her life of slavery, for she is mistborn.

    The mistborn are very few in number, but the powers they possess are to be feared by many throughout the realm. By ingesting small amounts of metals, a mistborn is able to "burn" a particular metal and exert a certain kind of power with it, also known as an allomancer. Different metals that are burned result in different powers. Steel allows one to push on metal objects such as railings, doors, coins, belt buckles, wherever there is metal nearby to be used, allowing one to push themselves into the air to great heights. Iron allows one to pull on metals in one's surroundings, pulling them up walls and across open spaces. Zinc allows the mistborn to inflame emotions in others, to make them angrier or sadder, or more fearful. Brass is a soothing metal, allowing the user to calm and dampen other's emotions. Bronze allows the mistborn to detect whether allomancy is being used by others nearby. Copper allows mistborn to hide their use of allomancy. Pewter, one of the most useful of the metals for an allomancer, allows them to greatly enhance their physical abilities, so they can be stronger, have faster reflexes, and move exceedingly fast. Pewter also allows them to sustain injuries and barely notice the pain and not be hindered when under attack. Tin enhances one's senses, allowing them to detect sounds, sights, and smells better than any human. These are the basic metals that all mistborn can use. But when the small supply of ingested metal is extinguished, the allomancer must find more, or find themselves with simple, ordinary human abilities.

    Then there is the metal atium. A very rare metal that can only be found in small amounts within the crystalline caves of the Pits of Hathsin. It is here that prisoners are put to work to search for the metal and suffer constant wounds from crawling through the narrow tunnels. If the prisoner does not find a piece of atium, he or she is executed. Atium serves as the most expensive metal in the realm, which everyone hungers for. The Lord Ruler gives out small amounts to his nobles and keeps the rest for himself. But when a mistborn swallows and uses atium, they have the ability to see future actions, choices made by an opponent during a fight, making it the most important and useful metal for an allomancer.

    As Vin begins training with Kelsier, who is also a mistborn, she discovers she is to be part of a group plotting to overthrow the Lord Ruler, who has controlled the world for over a millennium, subjugating all to his tyrannical and merciless power. With the help of the religious group, the Steel Ministry, which is controlled by the Inquisitors: a trained and bred group of people with giant spikes hammered into their eyes; they are feared by all for their terrifying appearance, as well as for their allomantic abilities.

    But there are those - Pewterarms, Seekers, Soothers, Rioters, Lurchers, and Coinshots - who are able to use only one of the metals, and Kelsier has chosen the gang carefully, selecting specific people with specific talents and powers, and fully believes he can kill the Lord Ruler and the make the world better.

    Sanderson's first book in his planned trilogy opens up a world with unique magical powers and astounds the reader, as well as keeping him or her reading nonstop to find out what happens next to the well developed and fascinating characters. Mistborn: The Final Empire will make the reader go out and buy the next two books - Well of Ascension and Hero of Ages - in the series, just to find out how it all ends, and who remains alive on the last page.

    Find more reviews, as well as a selection of my writing, and a link to the book review podcast BookBanter at info
  • Unique magic, great characters, exciting story!
    The Final Empire is a great fantasy book! I've been a faithful Amazon consumer for many years and have never reviewed a book until now, even though I spend lots of time reading other people's reviews... I know, bad me, but this book is so fresh and exciting I figured I'd take the leap (burning pewter of course).

    I am currently re-reading in preparation for the last book of the trilogy to come out next month and I have to say I'm just as impressed as I was the first time. The characters are complex but not so much that you can't figure them out. The story is engaging and suspenseful and the end is not typical at all.

    Vin is excellently portrayed and I'm happy the story is about her, but I have to say that for my money I think the character of Kelsier is fantastic. His not so subtle manipulations of everyone around him (for the common good) and his brutal decisions on what's best for the people and how to bring them about is very compelling, especially at the end of the book.

    I also read and loved Well of Ascension and can't wait for the third. If any of these reviews sway you at all and you're a sci-fi/fantasy fan you NEED to read this book!...more info
  • wonderful visuals in imagination
    A very thought provoking book about resistance against an oppressive government. It was reminiscent of an old England type setting, and it creates some wonderful visuals in imagination. The protagonists are very likable by the personalities they portray. It's a book about teamwork, overcoming the impossible through careful planning and infiltration; but also how a hero can stand against improbable odds and incite the spirits of the oppressed. ...more info
  • Lucky random choice on my part
    I wanted another series for my Kindle, and picked Mistborn based on the high reviews. It turned out to be an excellent choice.

    Others have summed up the pro's & con's nicely. The plot was interesting, the magic was unique, and the series was well planned.

    I really did like how the whole trilogy was planned from the beginning (as far as I could tell). I was reading the first book, and was wondering how he managed to stretch the conclusion into a 2nd and even 3rd book. It became readily apparent that the author had indeed planned for 3 full books of excellent content.

    Anyway, great series....more info
  • Easy fantasy read with a great plot
    Fantasy is not usually a genre I enjoy reading... all the books are the same, tedious, and boring. For me, they usually have an overly detailed environment, with a cliche quest, and a lot of movement via magic or horses. Something has to really pique my interest in order for me to (a) start reading a fantasy novel and (b) keep reading it to the end.

    This novel strays enough from the norm that there are refreshing plot elements brought into the genre. There is magic, but it's a pretty cool system. The plot centers around a thieving group... and the hero of prophesy had failed his quest 1000 years ago. This novel is the future of failure. Which is a little different. What is not a little different is that the plot really is about the same "good" overcoming "evil". The pace of the novel moves along appropriately, snowballing at the end.

    I'm really glad that there are more books in the series. This first book is a strong start. The reading level itself isn't too difficult, it's very straight forward writing that allows focus on plot and characters....more info
  • Pretty Good Book
    "Mistborn" is the 2nd novel by Brandon Sanderson and the first of his "Final Empire" trilogy (The Final Empire (Mistborn, Book 1), The Well of Ascension (Mistborn, Book 2), The Hero of Ages: Book Three of Mistborn). Similar to the other two of Sanderson's books I've read (Elantris and Warbreaker), the world, the magic system, and the idea, itself, are very good. Unfortunately, there's one area where "Mistborn" is a bit lacking: the characterizations. The two main characters (Vin and Kelsier) are fairly decently fleshed-out. But, the remaining characters are left almost entirely undeveloped. Also, in the society Sanderson has built, I can't see how ANY of these characters could even exist: with no education or other social support structure, they're ALL, somehow, fully capable of blending in and socializing with the upper crust. This is especially obvious with Vin. She's only in her mid-teens, has specifically received absolutely no education, and has been living as a thief without even parental upbringing (though her brother did try beating some behavior patterns into her) since she was about five. Yet, with a couple of weeks of tutoring, she's able to pass herself off at, essentially, royal balls. Even Henry Higgins required several months to do something similar.

    Regardless of the problems with characterizations, I did find the book interesting to read and would have liked to have given it an additional half star. But, Amazon doesn't have that ability. So, I'm rating it an OK 3 stars out of 5....more info
  • Best book in awhile...
    Picked this up off the shelf as a last minute choice. Wanted to try something new.. and i got it. :) Its the first time i've been excited about a book in awhile. Fresh ideas, new magic systems, great plot twists. I've since purchased his other books and am glad to have found a new author to stalk in the sci-fi/fantasy section....more info
  • A Pretty Decent Book
    I read the author's first book, Elantris and liked it. It prompted me to check out his new series. Unfortunately it's not nearly as good.

    The whole premise of the book is unique - a weird mist covers the world and a ruthless ruler rules over the people. Somewhere in that though the book sort of gets bogged down. Im more than half way through it and nothing really major has happened. The characters aren't really unique or interesting save kelser and vin. I've found myself more bored than anything.

    I'd have to say this book is more of a rental from the library than a purchase. There's just not enough happening, not enough interesting characters, and a stagnant plot. That being said the book isn't bad, it just needs a jolt or something to get things going. Hopefully in the next book he can do a little retooling and go back to what worked in Elantris....more info
  • Intriguing characters as well as magic and history--a good one
    The Lord Ruler is immortal--everyone knows that. They also know he harbors a grudge against the Skaa--the ordinary people of the land, and remembers the nobility--descendents of those who helped him in the early days of the Final Empire--fondly. Although the Lord Ruler is said to be a god, the Skaa continue to rebell--without much success or hope. When the Skaa rebellion hires an elite thief, one with the Mistborn talents reserved to the nobility and the Lord Ruler only, the rebellion takes a more serious role.

    Since her brother abandoned her, Vin has worked for a thief guild. She uses the hint of talent she calls 'luck' to protect the guild and sway suckers into falling into the scams and deceptions on which the thieves depend. But when her guild leader goes too far and tries to scam the Iron Ministry of the Final Empire, she becomes hunted by the Empire--and swept up in the rebellion.

    Trained by Kelsier, lead thief, Vin learns that her 'luck' is really Allomancy--a kind of magic based on the 'burning' (digestion?) of metals. Becoming a part of the rebellion gives Vin the family she's always wanted, but also puts her in horrible danger.

    MISTBORN represents a major step forward for author Brandon Sanderson's dealing with characters. Rather than the semi-perfect characters of his earlier novel, ELANTRIS, Sanderson gives us complex and flawed characters, rich world-building and an intriguing magical system.

    MISTBORN is not flawless. I would have liked more explanation of how Allomancy evolved, what, exactly, the nobles are, and a better explanation of why the Lord Ruler did what he did. Perhaps, however, these questions will be answered in later volumes in the series. Overall, MISTBORN is a huge and complex novel--and well worth the read.
    ...more info
  • Right up there with Martin, Erikson, Keyes, and Gemmell there's Sanderson
    After reading the first 4 epic novels of the Malazan Empire by Stephen Erikson (GREAT!), I decided before the next I would try out a new author. And who better than the guy chosen to finish the Wheel of Time series. My decision between Elantris and Mistborn was a hard one, but since the bookstore only had Mistborn, I got that one. This guy can write his butt off! The characterizations in his book are so believeable, I found myself saying, "NO!" and "OH HECK!" It's rare to find a good book that brings out emotions in you, like watching a thrilling movie. But this book draws you in, makes you an observer to the scene, and has you crying out as if you're there. (Ever watch Wheel of Fortune, know what the phrase is and yell it to the TV screen???) Yep. That's what you'll do here. One of the best, and just bought book 2 yesterday. Yeah!!!!...more info
  • Such Uniqueness!
    In the fantasy field where uniqueness is rare, Mistborn is a trilogy where uniqueness is ubiquitous.

    There were moments of incredible intensity that made my heart pound twice as fast, and there were moments of sadness and melancholy that gave me tears. The ending, however, follows the excellent tradition of "happy" endings but with more to come.

    It is rare for an author to give you so many questions in one book, yet answer them so perfectly in the second (while raising more), which are ultimately satisfyingly answered in the third.

    Buy it!!!...more info
  • Excellent!!
    I was very impressed with this book! I won't repeat the synopsis as so many have done a great job at that already. This was a fun and interesting read. It was unique, but if I had to compare it to others in the genre it would be something like "if Gene Wolfe wrote the Belgariad" or something vague but interesting like that. Hmmm...or maybe "a Marvel comics version of the Wheel of Time". The imagery was great and I could almost see the graphic novel version as I was reading.

    Since the sequels are out for Kindle now....I'm off to pick those up too!...more info
  • Excellent novel
    You are going to want all 3 books in this series. They are wonderfully written and I am now a fan of Sanderson's work....more info
  • Great book...
    I really enjoyed Elantris by Brandon Sanderson so I looked into Sanderson's other books. The Final Empire was an excellent book I'm glad that I looked into Sanderson's other books. At first the book seemed a little cheesy with the metal burning but as the story progressed the characters grew on me. The action is very entertaining with the superhuman abilities that the metal burning provides. I really enjoyed The Final Empire. I look forward to the other books in the series....more info
  • Excellent writing, interesting new fantasy idea
    This book is sort of a mystery fantasy, were the readers comes to realize that the truth about the world is truly not how the characters originally perceive it.

    In my opinion, this book is excellent storytelling and pacing. I read it through almost non-stop. The worldbuilding is fantastic, and the characters are interesting. The ending is unexpected through it makes perfect sense. I liked the romance, though there's not much of it, and liked that there were no sex scenes.

    Genre Reviews info
  • Unique and great
    A unique fantasy is something that when you find it, you know that you are onto something great, or entirely the other way. Well, happily Sanderson has done something great. What makes this unique is not that the heroes have to overcome the evil ruler, because you know you've heard that before.

    Or that the evil ruler has monstrous minions, because we have seen that before also. But that those evil minions are such that no one can remember ever defeating the minions, or the evil ruler who is immortal as far as everyone knows. Yet that too has been read elsewhere.

    What separates The Final Empire is magic. Not everyone has the ability, but those that do access their magic in such a well described and unique way that the entirety of the magical world makes sense and is needful to its resolution. Complexity and depth make this work breakout from the others in the genre.

    The plot moves at a decent pace though the buildup to the crescendo of the climax has some lulls. Once that climax triggers though, a great deal happens both expected and unexpected making the book a very worthwhile read....more info
  • Original and well done
    Sanderson's second book is as original and inventive as the first, Elantris.
    In this book, he brings an original magic system, original setting, and an original idea: what if the bad guy wins? Though some of the character development is lacking, the overall grittiness of the setting and plot and the cleverness of the magic system easily make up for it. Personally, I didn't like the second book as much, till the end, but this and the third installment are very well done.
    Also, Sanderson was chosen by Harriet McDougal, Robert Jordan's wife, to complete the Wheel of Time, so you know he's good in someone else's eyes, too....more info
  • Marvelously done!
    Mistborn: The Final Empire is, to put it simply, the best fantasy novel I've read in years. The story of a dismal world in which the prophesied hero was defeated and the people subjugated by a dark lord for centuries, it tells the tale of the newest revolution against the oppressive and greatly feared Lord Ruler by the lowly skaa.

    Sanderson did a marvelous job of creating a unique and interesting world, with an especially promising new system of magic powered by metal - this was particularly inventive and superbly utilized. The reader is drawn into the setting by the masterful descriptions and excellent narrative voice woven into the story by the author. The action sequences occur infrequently enough to keep from being overwhelming, but also often enough to add an excellent feeling of tension and danger. Not only are they well-paced, they're expressed in such a clear way as to evoke a vivid picture in the mind of what is happening.

    The characters were both realistically complex and easy to relate to, with well-developed personalities and believable emotions. As the plot develops the reader plumbs their depths and they become more and more real. Interactions are alternately tense, tender, and revealing, all coming together to form a strong web of human connections the likes of which any author would aspire to create.

    In the end, there is suitable closure but a definite opening for the next two books in the trilogy. One could almost read this as a stand-alone novel, though after becoming so invested in the characters and the story I can't see why anyone wouldn't want to keep reading.

    Mistborn: The Final Empire is highly thoughtful, meticulously crafted, and an extremely enjoyable read. I would recommend it not merely to fantasy lovers, but to readers new to the genre who deserve a good first impression....more info
  • One of the Best ever . . .
    This book, and the series as a whole, is one of the best (if not the best) I have read. Great characters, a steady plot, original magic and a world that seams plausible. I was reminded of afantasy version of Star Wars as I was reading this book. I highly recommend it....more info
  • a clear classic [no spoilers]
    "Mistborn: The Final Empire" begins a fantastic fantasy trilogy established in a distinctive world. The author supplies all the aspects necessary for a superb novel, an overpowering tyrant, the oppressed masses, political scheming, well-developed and balanced magic, a host of appealing characters, and disturbing bad guys. The storyline flows at an addicting pace, delivering the different forms of magic and reasonable action while addressing political tensions at the appropriate times.

    The book focuses between two characters. The young Vin, a destitute yet gifted Skaa in a thieving crew and abandoned by her brother, must fend for herself. The other is the methodical Kelsier, formerly a crew leader and prisoner, now a powerful Skaa Mistborn. Kelsier has ambitions to overthrow the Lord Ruler, an omnipotent godlike ruler, and recruits various individuals to support his plans.

    Other than Vin grasping concepts and skills a little too easily, she's a viable heroine. While Kelsier may have a master plan, events force him to adapt the plan accordingly by making the best of an otherwise bad situation.

    A comprehensive appendix including characters and their abilities would have been useful. Also check out the author's web page at for excellent inside information and deleted scenes (he provides warnings before any spoilers).

    I highly recommend this series to any fan of the fantasy genre.

    Thank you....more info


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