The Year of Sanderson – The Final Empire (Mistborn I)

Sometimes, I worry that I’m not the hero everyone thinks I am.

The philosophers assure me that this is the time, that the signs have been met. But I still wonder if they have the wrong man. So many people depend on me. They say I will hold the future of the entire world on my arms.

What would they think if they knew that their champion–the Hero of Ages, their savior–doubted himself? Perhaps they wouldn’t be shocked at all. In a way, this is what worries me most. Maybe, in their hearts, they wonder–just as I do.

When they see me, do they see a liar?

Okay, okay.

2015, I decided, would be the year of Brandon Sanderson for me, and I have every intention or reading as many, or all of his books by the end of the year. Notably, this is my second reading of ‘The Final Empire’ in the last 6 months.

My first foray into Brandon’s remarkable mind came at the end of last year, where despite having started The Way of Kings 3 or 4 times, Steelheart became the first Sanderson story I would ever finish. Now I’m a Sanderson Fangirl. I have Sandersonitis. I’ve been Sandersoned.

OBSESSED.

If men read these words, let them know that power is a heavy burden. Seek not to be bound by its chains. The Terris Prophecies say that I will have the power to save the world.

They hint, however, that I will have the power to destroy it as well.

The Final Empire is the story of a race of people, Skaa who have been enslaved for a thousand years by a tyrant conqueror, the Lord Ruler. Every part of their existence is controlled by the Lord Ruler, his Obligators and the hellishly frightening Inquisitors. Metal spikes for eyes? Yukky.

The Skaa needed a hero. Enter Kelsier.

Kelsier is the son of a Skaa and a Nobleman. He is also Mistborn, able to internally burn metals to enhance his physical abilities. He can hear better with tin, he is made stronger through pewter, he can burn brass to soothe the emotions of others. He can push steel and pull iron. The ability to burn metals is called Allomancy, though only those who can burn ALL the metals are called Mistborn. Most can only burn one metal at a time and the science was a bit lost on me, but, basically it is awesome.

Not all in the Final Empire have the ability use Allomancy, and the Skaa who can burn metals are hunted.

Kelsier, Mistborn Skaa ex-thief, and his crew of misfits take a job. One that will create discord among the noble houses, allowing the Skaa to build an army in secret. A job, that if they are successful, will bring down the Lord Ruler and put a stop to the oppression of the Skaa. In the process he is introduced to Vin, a 16 year old girl-thief from the streets of Luthadel who can influence others, but thinks it is merely the result of luck. She is brought into the fold an becomes Kelsier’s protégée.

Vin has suffered betrayal after betrayal by those around her, and is deeply mistrustful as a result. Her development as a character comes after falling in with Kelsier and his crew, Vin and Kelsier forming a father/daughter type bond as the story progresses. But Kelsier is keeping secrets, and Vin will look into the eyes of betrayal one more time.

The basis of the story is one we see in Fantasy all the time – the downtrodden v the evil ruler, but Sanderson does it so bloody well! The writing is impeccable, and nobody world builds like Sanderson. NOBODY. The Final Empire itself, is a Feudal society, existing in a land of mist and ash. And, Sanderson writes the best prologues – stories within the stories and GAH! He is basically a Jedi of writing. I can’t even deal.

Though all the characters were extremely well written, for me, this is Kelsier’s book. My first impression of him was that he was a bad dude. As the story went on I felt like I should still be thinking that way, but I didn’t. Kelsier is ruthless because he is broken. He feels no guilt for his actions because he has been betrayed. But, he uses that to rally Skaa, his fearlesness becomes notorious, as he becomes legend  – The Survivor.

It is too much, I suppose, to even hope for. A single, unified empire of man? It could never happen.

I wish I could read this book for the first time again. But, since I can’t I will try to force everyone I know to read it so we can discuss it all time, have entire conversations using Breeze quotes only. That sort of thing.

5 + Stars. Read it. Read it now.

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