Book Review: Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn: The Final Empire

Posted February 6, 2012 by Kathy Davie in Book Reviews

I received this book for free from the library in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review: Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn: The Final Empire

Mistborn: The Final Empire


Brandon Sanderson

fantasy that was published by Tor Books on July 25, 2006 and has 541 pages.

Explore it on Goodreads or Amazon.

Other books by this author which I have reviewed include The Well of Ascension, The Hero of Ages, Towers of Midnight, A Memory of Light, Dangerous Women, Games Creatures Play, The Alloy of Law, Shadows of Self, The Bands of Mourning

First in the Mistborn fantasy series.

My Take

It’s a corrupt world with a small group at the top cruelly oppressing the majority; its leader seemingly a God. But Hope is not something that can be killed.

Oh. My. God. This was incredible! A small cast of characters for such an epic and I could not put the book down. Tension, drama, incredibly diverse characters all fighting in the common struggle of power versus decency.

It took a while before I understood what the chapter intros were about. Do read these. It is essential for understanding events in the story at the end. Sanderson is very subtle about the hints and indicators he provides in an attempt to prepare you for the ending. He really does an amazing job of providing mysteries that he just keeps dragging out even as he provides us with lots of action.

You do have to wonder along with Vin what the Lord Ruler meant at the end. There has to be something that keeps the ash falling. The mist had to come from somewhere. Where does this power of Allomancy come from? Does it have to do with the mist? Is the mist a by-product of the ash spewn by the mountains? What about the atium? How does it relate to the mist or the Allomancy?

Kelsier is ruthless in eliminating anyone in his way or who could be more useful dead for the cause. But it’s a practical efficiency. He also devotes himself to teaching Vin about using her Allomanical gifts.

The Story

Vin is a child of the streets, abandoned by everyone she has ever known. Her brother Reen taught her with beatings to draw away from attention, to survive. That she will always be betrayed. And so her life goes until the day she meets Kelsier, a Mistborn. He was the best crew leader until he and his wife Mare were betrayed while on their greatest heist.

Kelsier has believed that the woman he loved had betrayed him, yet, she too was enslaved in the atium mines until the day she was beaten to death for not delivering her quota. A quota she had given to Kelsier. That day he Snapped and vowed to avenge her death, to lead a rebellion to take down the Lord Ruler.

That time is now. It has been two years since he escaped the Pits of Hathsin and he has roamed the countryside. Learning the people who are enslaved by their rulers. The leader of the rebellion, the one who took over from Kelsier’s brother Marsh, Yeden has hired Kelsier to make the rebellion possible. The greatest caper ever if Kelsier can convince the men he trusts to plan this, to pull it off.

An army of 10,000 men hidden from the soldiers, the Inquisitors, the Lord Ruler. Inflame the Great Houses into war. Disrupt the economy. Send the city garrison out on a wild goose chase. Remove the Lord Ruler.

It’s a small group that plans this destruction of their world. None believes it to be possible. Yet, they will try. And ain’t Lord Venture going to be surprised…

The Characters

Kelsier “Kell”, a.k.a., The Survivor of the Pits of Hathsin, later known as the Survivor of the Square, is a wanted man. The Lord Ruler wants to kill him for his thievery. The populace reveres him for escaping from the Pits of Hathsin. No one has ever lasted more than a few months let alone escape. He sees himself as a troublemaker. He is certainly interested in murdering nobles and then planting their bodies where it will cause the greatest disruption amongst House allies.

Vin, a.k.a., Lady Valette, has a Gift of Luck. She and her half-brother Reen made good use of it to survive from city to city. To find a place for themselves in a thieving crew. Now Reen has run off and left her and she hoards this small gift to stay alive. Until she meets Kelsier and discovers the truth about her gift. Vin’s task in the rebellion is to learn to use her myriad skills and attend parties and balls in Luthadel to spy on the nobles. A task at which she slowly learns of the nobles’ viciousness.

Dockson “Dox” is a runaway skaa from a plantation. His purpose in the rebellion is to organize space and supplies. Breeze Ladarian is a Smoother; he manipulates the emotions of others. Ham is a Thug and will handle security as well as train their army. Clubs Cladent is a Smoker; he will cloud the air and prevent the workings of their Gifts from being sensed by the authorities. Lord Renoux is a kandra, a sentient mistwraith who can replicate anything dead when they absorb their bodies. He poses as a weapons dealer and Vin poses as his niece providing her entrée into society. Sazed is a Terrisman, a Keeper, bred to work as a Steward; his job is to coach Vin and protect her in her guise as a lady of a noble house. Keepers are a special breed of Terrisman whose sole purpose in life is to remember and pass the knowledge on to the next generation. Each Keeper tends to specialize in an area and Sazed’s specialty is religions and languages.

Yeden is the leader of the rebellion. He begins by distrusting everything about Kelsier. Marsh is Kelsier’s brother, a Seeker, and the former leader of the rebellion. He dropped out when Kelsier was caught and sentenced to the Pits. He will infiltrate the Inquisitors and pass on their secrets.

Obligators and Inquisitors utilize the Misting talents and maintain order for the Lord Ruler. Obligators witness contracts and events, and enforce the Lord Ruler’s law while the Inquisitors maintain order. Misting is the ability to use one of the Gifts; being Mistborn indicates that you can manipulate them all.

The Lord Ruler is seen as God. Immortal. He has ruled the Final Empire for 1,000 years keeping the nobles in check by renting skaa to them as laborers and allowing the House wars to “thin the herd”. Rashek was a Terrisman and one of the men who guided this hero on his task despite his hate for him.

Elend Venture is the son and heir of House Venture; Lord Straff Venture is his father. A man most disappointed in his son as he is nothing like his father. Thank god. His particular friends are considered enemies of his house: Lord Jastes Lekal and Hasting. Lady Shan Elariel is a vicious and nasty wench who makes life as difficult as she can for Vin; she is also a former fiancée of Elend. Lady Kliss is renowned for her gossipy behavior.

Mennis is an old skaa who survived the destruction of Tresting’s estate. Captain Demoux is a promising officer for the rebellion.

The Cover and Title

The cover background feels like a dream of city structures in pinks. Vin has a look of assurance as she stares downwards holding a dagger, her cloak of Prussian blue with a bit of black close to her skin.

The title is about those who can burn more than one metal, a Mistborn.