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Mistborn: The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson

What if you were born with the exceptional ability to digest and burn pure metals to produce various internal or external effects on your body (e.g., super speed, super strength, super senses, etc.)? What if burning iron gave you the ability to mentally pull nearby metals towards you or burning steel gave you the ability to mentally push them all away. With a flare of pewter you would gain physical strength and balance. With a flare of tin you would enhance your sense of sight, smell, and touch. With a blaze of brass you could riot another person’s emotions and with a blaze of zinc you could soothe them again. You’d be able to push your body to it’s physical and psychological limits and live to tell. In Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn: The Final Empire, the question isn’t “What if I had these power?” but rather “How should I use them?”

In the Final Empire (set in a somewhat post-apocalyptic, level 4 parallel Universe) there are two groups of people left: the Skaa slaves, and the noblemen that abuse them. The Skaa have been at the bottom of the food chain since the Lord Ruler came into power about a thousand years ago, so most of them have given up hope when it comes to freedom. The Skaa therefore submit to all manners of evil mistreatment just to stay alive. At the center of the story you'll find a professional thieving crew, comprised of the most talented Skaa rebel Mistings and Mistborn who attempt to overthrow the Lord Ruler and bring down the Final Empire.

Before the book begins the reader is warned (by Sanderson himself) that the succeeding tale is a bit unorthodox - compared to others in the genre- because the hero fails. But whom might the hero be? Is it Kelsier, Survivor of the Pits of Hathsin and leader of the gang? Or maybe Vin a half-breed Skaa street urchin and newest member of Kelsier’s crew? Could it be Breeze the pseudo-nobleman Soother, or even Ham the analytical Pewterarm? Despite the character-role-confusion, overthrowing the Lord Ruler will prove to be the hardest job any member of the crew will ever partake in.

On the surface, the book may appear to be about the great heights and lengths the characters go to and the risks the crew members take to fight for what they believe is right. However, on a heart-to-heart level, it’s about faith, trust and metallic dust. It’s about providing hope when hope seems irrelevant, creating a community built on morals that no longer exist, and using Allomancy to bring it all together.

The system of Allomancy is unlike any other in that, it’s a magic system with a believable source. A Misting or a Mistborn’s power’s aren’t pulled out of thin air but originate from digested metal. Similar to caffeine’s effects on the body when ingested.

The most impressive aspect of Mistborn: The Final Empire is Mr.Sanderson’s plot development. Each of the five parts of the book have their own rising and falling action! With this, Sanderson keeps you attuned to the world the characters live in. He doesn’t allow you to assume anything; as soon as you begin to assume something about a character or situation, the story changes. I went into this book knowing full well that everyone wasn’t going to live happily ever after (again, I would like to mention that Sanderson himself said the hero will fail). However, what Sanderson left to the imagination was the definition of failure itself.

For die-hard fans of fantasy or those who simply appreciate a well thought out magic system... I present to you, Mistborn: The Final Empire! Being the first book in the Mistborn trilogy,this is just the beginning, and what a glorious beginning it is.

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