The Final Empire
A thousand years ago evil came to the land and has ruled with an iron hand ever since. The sun shines fitfully under clouds of ash that float down endlessly from the constant eruption of volcanoes. A dark lord rules through the aristocratic families and ordinary folk are condemned to lives in servitude, sold as goods, labouring in the ash fields. But now a troublemaker has arrived and there is rumour of revolt. A revolt that depends on a criminal that no-one can trust and a young girl who must master Allomancy - the magic that lies in all metals.
Reviewed on 27th April 2011
After reading Brandon Sanderson's contributions to the end of the Wheel of Time series, and really enjoying them, I decided to have a go at some of his other work, and was not disappointed.
The Final Empire has been ruled over by an evil overlord for a thousand years, oppressing the 'skaa' slave class and ruthlessly manipulating the nobility. But now someone new has arrived, one who survived what no one has before, and he plans revolution.
Although a number of plot elements follow what I like to think of as the standard fantasy template (good vs. evil, mentor/mentee relationship, chosen one), the detail of the world Sanderson creates is rich, and slowly revealed to the reader in satisfying chunks through Vin, the main character. The system of magic is well thought through, and although I initially thought it would be hard for him to continue to describe without becoming repetitive, it actually makes for some pretty tense action sequences.
Towards the beginning of the book it feels a little rough at the edges, and there are a few turns of phrase that seem a little out of place (probably just Americanisms that a US reader wouldn't spot), but overall it's an exciting and satisfying tale.
The plot is nicely rounded - you feel like you've got a full story at the end - while still leaving enough threads to entice you into reading the second Mistborn book, as I plan to soon. I'm glad I picked this up and expanded my reading of fantasy.