Last updated on January 22nd, 2024 at 12:11 pm

The Final Empire (Mistborn, #1) by Brandon Sanderson: A Newcomer's Perspective

Diving into the Cosmere: Exploring Allomancy and Adventure

The Brandon Sanderson Cosmere has roughly 30 books within its universe, so you can imagine how daunting it was to try and work out what book series to start with. After a lot of research and reading Sanderson’s guide Where to Start, I chose the Mistborn series. Was it the right choice?

Yes! Brandon Sanderson balances action, character development, and world-building expertly, that even a novice like me who is used to romantic fantasies compared to high fantasy reads can understand what’s going on and there was always something to captivate my attention.

Book rating & bio

Four Star Rating.5/5

The Final Empire (Mistborn) by Brandon Sanderson

Title: The Final Empire (Mistborn #1).
Author: Brandon Sanderson.
Genre: High Fantasy, Fantasy Fiction, Adventure.
Publisher: Tor Books on 17/07/2006.
Format: Paperback.
Pages: 647.
Buy on: Amazon | Amazon – Kindle edition | World of Books

The Mists rule the night… The Lord Ruler owns the world.

For a thousand years the ash fell.
For a thousand years, the Skaa slaved in misery and lived in fear. For a thousand years, the Lord Ruler reigned with absolute power and ultimate terror, divinely invincible. Every attempted revolt has failed miserably.

Yet somehow hope survives.
A new kind of uprising is being planned, one that depends on the cunning of a brilliant criminal mastermind and the courage of an unlikely heroine, a Skaa street urchin, who must learn to master Allomancy, the power of a mistborn.

What if the prophesied hero had failed to defeat the Dark Lord? The answer will be found in the Mistborn trilogy, a saga of surprises that begins here.

Spoilers: This review is mostly spoiler-free. I’ve placed all spoilers within an accordion, leaving the choice to you if you fancy reading them. 
Disclosure: This blog contains affiliate links, and as an Amazon Associate, I may receive a commission at no extra cost to you if you make a purchase through those links.

My overall thoughts on The Final Empire (Mistborn #1).

Last Christmas (2022) I brought The Final Empire for my partner and Elantris for my dad, who are both fantasy readers. After trying out each book and getting their feedback, we concluded that Mistborn was the better book series to enter the Brandon Sanderson Cosmere. My dad struggled to get into Elantris which is a stand alone book, whereas my partner and I had no trouble getting stuck into The Final Empire.

The Final Empire has high stakes, an intricate Allomancy system and great comedy. I was surprised with how much I got into the world and also laughed whilst reading.

Set in a dark and oppressive world where the immortal Lord Ruler has held dominion for a thousand years, the story follows a group of characters who dare to challenge this seemingly invincible regime. The first 100 pages were slow due to the explanations of the rich history and technicality of Allomancy, however once the plot was laid out and the crew was formed (Kelsier, Vin, Marsh, Breeze, Ham, Clubs, & Marsh), I struggled to put down this epic fantasy.

The characters are well-developed and relatable. Vin is a compelling protagonist with a complex past and Kelsier, the charismatic mastermind behind the rebellion and MMC*, is equally intriguing. Both Vin and Kelsier have some stellar scenes together and apart. I loved how their relationship grew throughout (more father daughter, not lovers), it makes events that occur in the book more heart wrenching and emotional.

The dynamics between these characters, as well as the rest of the crew, are a strong point of the book, offering a mix of camaraderie, humor, and conflict. The crew’s banter was spot on, and the way they incorporate Vin into their weird dysfunctional family makes you route for the entire team. 

Did Brandon Sanderson's Magic System Blow Me Away?

One of the stand out features of this epic fantasy was the innovative magic system known as Allomancy. Allomancers ingest and “burn” metals to gain various powers, and this unique system adds depth and excitement to the story’s action scenes. There’s also unknown metals leaving open ended questions and risk to Allomancers.

I enjoyed that we (the readers) learn about the metals alongside Vin, and uncover her skill and potential as you get further into the book. To aid readers like me, who tend to forget details, there’s a handy reference chart to remind you which metal produces which ability.

What I liked

  • The banter and relationship with Vin and Sazed!! Sazed ended up being one of my favourite characters. 
  • Interactions between Vin and Elend, they were so cute! 
  • Kelsier teaching Vin how to use her mistborn abilities, and when he gave her the cloak 🥺.
  • The whole crew (Kelsier, Vin, Marsh, Breeze, Ham, Clubs, Sazed & Marsh) working together and looking out for each other.
  • The last 100 pages literally blew my mind, so much happened!
  • Vins fight with  Elends ex finance Shan! The way she tricked her into thinking she ran out of atium, so badass.
  • The way Vin stormed into the Lord Rulers palace after Kelsier is killed. Just crazy! I also couldn’t not mention Sazed and Marsh for their sick moments throughout these scenes too! 

Closing thoughts

It’s a must-read for fans of epic fantasy, particularly those who enjoy innovative magic systems, complex characters, and a rich history. Whether you’re new to Sanderson’s work or a longtime fan, ‘The Final Empire’ is a compelling and unforgettable journey into a world of rebellion, magic, and hope. Give this book a try!

Creator of The Book List! Hope you enjoy this journey with me, follow my socials (@ashleighsbooklist) for updates for book memes, my latest book reviews and recommendations.

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*MCs = Main characters, MMC = Male main character.

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