Mistborn review

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Mistborn the Final Empire review Brandon Sanderson
I have not read Elantris so this is my first taste of Brandon Sanderson. I wanted to read some of his work since he was chosen to finish The Wheel of Time. I begun with Mistborn : The Final Empire, the first book of the Mistborn trilogy.

We follow Vin, a young petty thief who is a mistborn (an allomancer who can use all metals) without knowing it. She's discovered by members a ex gang of thieves who's new goal is to throw over the Final Empire. This empire is lead by the savior of mankind from one thousand year ago, literally a god. With the help of the Survivor of Hathsin (a prison mine), Kelsier (another Mistborn), she will develop her potential. Together, they will have to build an army of skaa (the slave caste of the world) and destroy the nobility to get to the Lord Ruler.

I liked it a lot, Mistborn : The Final Empire is a very good read. I think my feelings about this book can be resumed with one word : originality! Originality in the world the author created, the magic system he created and the story. Speaking of this, I think that a lot of thinking went into the creation of this world. Everything connects wonderfully. The different races, the different types of magic, the noblemen/slave relation and the God.

Allomancy is Sanderson's magic system in this world. The allomancers get their power from burning specific metals that they ingested. This idea is very refreshing and more complex than it seems. By limiting the amount of metals they can get, Sanderson can control the balance between the allomancers and the rest of the book cast. The use of different metals with different powers creates a wide array of possibilities. It also creates great battle scenes.

Characters are well developed. I like to see the training and how someone came to be what he is (not really in the classic farmer case) and see characters who are ready for the spotlight. We have both in this book and more. Moreover, the story is a good suspense. It's fun to see a group of con experts try the impossible. I easily got into it.

The narrative is carried out with two major POV and some minor ones. I think the changes between Kelsier and Vin POV were done with the right timing. Even if they have a very different way of thinking, there's a nice continuity with the flow of the writing. For me, the writing was good enough, no endless descriptions, plenty of action and satisfying dialogues.

I liked the pace although it's not always constant. Mistborn : The Final Empire is divided in "parts" with a kind of finality at the end of each. There's also quotes from someone logbook (that you don't know at the beginning) that are adding an extra layer of depth to the story. There a good share of surprises but at the end of the book, I can see where Sanderson is going with the story... there's plenty of hints.

Technically, the Tor books cover that I had is Ok but the new version is a little bit better. The map of the world is very basic and not much necessary... the city one is nice and useful.

From what I have read here, I'm sure The Wheel Time will receive a proper treatment.

Mistborn : The Final Empire review score :

Characterization............. 8 /10
World building............... 8.5 / 10
Magic system................. 9 / 10
Story.............................. 7.5 / 10
Writing........................... 8 / 10

Overall (not an average) 8 / 10


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