Brandon Sanderson is one of my favourite authors and many say that The Final Empire is the perfect entry point into his books. So of course I had to pick it up and find out what all the hype’s about.
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As you’ll know, I’ve read Brandon Sanderson before and even reviewed him on here before. I read The Way of Kings before I picked up The Final Empire, but had heard that The Final Empire was considered the best place to start with his books so decided to pick it up and I can say I am very glad I did.
Plot – 4.5/5
The Final Empire (often mistaken for being called “Mistborn” as the series is called “Mistborn” and some versions of the book cover have “Mistborn” written larger) features a fairly cliche plotline of there’s a group of people who are the poor people of a kingdom and then there’s one evil overlord who rules the place whom they decide to overthrow. However, I’ve never read a book that features such a grown-up and politically-charged reason for overthrowing the great “baddy”. It really captivated me. It all starts out with a young woman who must master the incredible magic system of Allomancy after she’s dubbed a “Mistborn” one of the few people around who can master all of the metals.
I loved the plot in The Final Empire because it featured some fascinating moments and character-building plotlines but also one of, if not, the best magic systems in any fantasy series. Essentially certain people have the ability to use metals around the world to perform different abilities. What I enjoyed most about this was the science behind it – each metal represents a different ability and these powers have their own rules and limits which can only be bent if thought about intelligently.
Back to the plot – Sanderson, as with his other novels, isn’t afraid to switch up the direction and pacing of his story quickly – this is true in The Final Empire too. One moment the characters could be having a quiet meeting, the next there’s a fast-paced fight scene. It’s great as it keeps you on your toes and can engage you suddenly. I’ll warn you – there’s also quite a big moment in this book that I wasn’t expecting at all.
Characters – 4.5/5
Brandon Sanderson writes fantastic characters – he clearly set out how he wants them to come across from the start and continues with that throughout the series. However, there are fantastic storyline elements added in that force the character to evolve or to adapt. Vin is a powerful character who has grown up on the streets and so doesn’t take any cr*p from anybody. She suffers from trust issues as she’s never had anybody she can trust but this develops as she realises those who she is surrounded by can be trusted. She’s bright, stubborn and is thrown into an environment she’s not ready for which all make for a compelling character.
The supporting characters are all a diverse selection of personalities too. Without giving away any spoilers, there’s are loveable characters, characters that will frustrate you, characters that you’ll absolutely adore and more. Sanderson, as I said, knows how to incorporate fleshed-out characters into a fantasy environment very well.
The Final Empire summary – 5/5
The Final Empire very much impressed me. In my Goodreads review, I stated that every fantasy fan must read this book because it has a fantastic magic system, genuinely likeable characters and an intriguing world with enough lore in it to immerse you in its back story. The highlights for me have to be how Sanderson has clearly decided to take a cliche trope in fantasy and play with it – adding in surprising moments, arguably fantasy’s best magic system, and an utterly fascinating world that leaves me only wanting to explore it more.