Book Review: The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson ★★★★

The Final Empire

“I never wanted to be feared. If I regret one thing, it is the fear I have caused. Fear is the tool of tyrants. Unfortunately, when the fate of the world is in question, you use whatever tools are available.”

I cannot get over how beautiful the UK covers are for this series!!! SO much better than the US ones.

This was a great book and a fantastic start to a series! It was a little slow-going for me in the beginning and it took me a while to really connect with the characters, but once I did, I really loved it.

This book had a duel perspective and while I generally enjoy that, this one had me a bit conflicted. We start off the book in Kelsier’s point of view and it really gripped me from the start. But then, we switch over to our main protagonist Vin and I found her to be a little bit boring in the beginning of the novel. Fast forward a few hundred pages and I felt the exact opposite 😂. I thought Kelsier’s chapters made the story lag and I wanted more of Vin’s perspective. All in all I guess I just wasn’t clicking with them at the right times.

Which is kind of how I felt for the first 400ish pages of the book, to be honest. I thought the beginning was pretty slow and then, once we started getting more into the magic and the heist plans, it began to pick up for me. But I never felt totally invested in it. I never connected to the characters like I thought I would and it was really the last hundred or so pages that made this a 4 star read for me. Something about the writing just did not do it for me, despite us being in the head’s of two of the main characters. I definitely enjoyed it overall and I love the world that Sanderson has crafted here, but I am thinking that maybe this was just a set-up book and the next books in the series will be more in line with my expectations. Maybe I just over-hyped this one in my head a little bit, based on all of the amazing reviews I have seen about it.

There is no denying that Sanderson is a fantastic storyteller and an amazing world-builder. The lore and magic system of his world were hands-down the best parts of the book. I kind of enjoyed the little snippets that we got from the Lord Ruler’s old logbook the best, too, is that bad? They were some of the best written parts, in my opinion, and they added such a rich backstory to the Lord Ruler and his ascension to the throne. I also loved how these little bits of backstory seemed to parallel with Kelsier’s own journey and made his fate uncertain to the reader, whether or not he was good or evil. Really great!

Vin as a protagonist was fine. I didn’t really feel too strongly toward her one way or the other. She improved throughout the book and her character arc is promising. I am thinking that over the course of the trilogy we will really see her grow and come into her own. I liked that we were learning about the world and the magic with her, because it made the information feel more seamless and organic, and less info-dumpy. Vin was not always privy to Kelsier’s planning and scheming either, so it kept us readers in the dark a lot of the time, too. This made the climax and the twists at the end even more shocking and effective. I do think that Vin has a bit of “chosen one” syndrome and could easily become boring if she just falls into that “all powerful, can do things even people twice her age who have been trained for years can’t do” trap. I am hoping that is not what happens with her character.

A couple things that kept me from really gushing over this book, like I thought I would, were the pacing and the writing itself. I thought the pacing was pretty slow to start out with and picked up a bit, plateaued again near the middle, and then was very rushed at the end. It felt a little off overall, but I forgive it as a slow-burn first book in a series where things will need to be set up, of course. I was a little confused by the events here too, as it seems to me like the story played out too quickly in just one novel. I am not sure which direction Sanderson is going to take the sequels now, because the main villain and plot was kind of wrapped up in book one, which I was not expecting. I do trust him though, because he seems to have a solid plan for his world.

Most of the time, the writing was fine. Nothing like gorgeous, but decent and effective. However, when the characters would have inner monologues or even just stray thoughts (whatever was portrayed in italics depicting their thoughts), I was not a fan of that! I did not think it was done well and it was not subtle or nuanced in the slightest. The outspoken dialogue was okay, but those inner thoughts felt very juvenile and clunky. I hope that those are cleaned up in later books, as well.

Overall, I very much enjoyed this reading experience, after a bit of a slow start. The ending really kicked it up a notch for me. I also loved the “found family” aspect of these books! That’s one of my favorite tropes. I am excited to read more in this series and universe, and continue to learn why the world adores Brandon Sanderson. I want to be a superfan, too!!

No way I’m going out in that mist! I like my bones where they are, thank you very much.

Thanks for reading, friends!

Title: The Final Empire (Mistborn # 1)
Author: Brandon Sanderson
Genre: Fantasy| Epic/High Fantasy | Adult
Publication Date: July 17th 2006
Page Count: 647 pages
Buy It: Wordery Book Depository

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