Book Review: Mistborn: The Final Empire
Yesterday I went to the book launch for Mistborn: The Final Empire, by Brandon Sanderson. I was lucky enough to get numbered copy #50/50 of the book. (From what I understand, Brandon numbers the first 50 books he signs. Because the bookstore had promised numbered copies to everyone who came, he continued numbering after 50 this time, but left off the “/50″ after the number. Which is why I say I was lucky to get #50/50.)
Anyway, having now finished reading the book, I can heartily recommend it to fantasy fans. It’s a fast-paced adventure with some fun characters, combining political intrigue with magical battles.
The magic system is, perhaps, the element (pun intended) that stands out most in the novel. Magic use in novels tends to either follow some rather stereotypical rules (casting verbal [often rhyming or using an ancient language] spells, potions, etc.) or to lack much in the way of discernable rules at all. In the world of Mistborn, the magic system is based on swallowing certain metals that are then “burned” to provide the particular power granted by that metal. It means that in the strictest sense, the number of things that can be done with magic is limited by the less than a dozen known allomantic metals. (For example, pushing metal away is one power, and pulling metal toward you is another.) But by ingenious use of the various metals, Mistborn allomancers can do a lot of different things.
This is the first book of a trilogy, but fortunately it works well as a standalone novel as well. I’ve come to dislike being left hanging off a cliff at the end of a book.