Mistborn: The Final Empire | Book Review

A spoiler-free book review of Brandon Sanderson’s Final Empire by Chrissy Sky

Mistborn’s 11th birthday has just come to pass and what better way to celebrate than to glorify this spectacular work of literature?


For a thousand years the ash fell and no flowers bloomed.

For a thousand years the Skaa slaved in misery.

Now a heist may be their unlikely salvation.


The Final Empire is a world governed by the Lord Ruler, a man with unlimited power. A world where ash falls from the sky and the sun glows crimson red.

This story follows a thief named Kelsier, who has endured the harrowing Pits of Hathsin, and a young street-urchin by the name of Vin. Together, along with their trusty crewmembers and friends, devise a plan to overthrow the Final Empire and free the Skaa of their malignant slavery.


From the very first page, I was hooked. Indefinitely. Not many books have the power to do that to me, so I instantly knew this would be a great read.

The Final Empire has very little flaws, I must say. They aren’t even flaws, but I feel that the book could have been improved had these things been changed to enhance the reader’s experience.


One of these flaws is the map of Luthadel at the front of the book. It’s very detailed. So detailed, in fact, that it’s quite difficult to read, especially for me since I’m already condemned to a life of wearing semi-fashionable glasses. The typeface is small, and the corresponding numbers that mark different locations are even smaller. Whilst I love maps in the front of books, because it gives us a better understanding of the setting, the format has to be appropriate, otherwise you spend centuries analysing the map before you even begin the actual story.

The other thing about this book that is not really a flaw, more just a frustration, is sometimes there’s just too much information to process. Like when certain characters are having an in-depth conversation about the mechanics of Allomancy or Feruchemy, there’s so much to process that you just have to sit back and breathe.

I like reading about all the lore in fantasy novels, but this is actually annoying, especially with The Final Empire because it was so addictive. I’d prefer it if Brandon Sanderson showed us how things work (which he did, but to a limited extent), instead of creating a scenario where the characters themselves explain it all in extended dialogue.


Moving on to the many things I absolutely adored about this book! *scratches head* Hmm, where to start…


Allomancy. Wow, this is just pure genius, as is the entire concept of Mistborn. Allomancy is a kind of magic whereby you can ingest a variety metals and “burn” them inside your body, and each metal gives you a different ability. For example, Tin can enhance the senses and Brass allows you to soothe the emotions of others. There are 8 basic metals that Allomancers can use. An Allomancer that can only burn one metal is called a Misting. However, an Allomancer that can burn all of the metals in called a Mistborn, hence the name of the trilogy… duh!

Doesn’t it just sound awesome?! There’s so much more to it that is revealed throughout the book, and the whole concept is just spectacular. If you thought J.K. Rowling was a clever-clogs in creating the world and lore of Harry Potter, then I’d say Brandon Sanderson is just as much of a genius with the concept of Mistborn. Yes… that is how much I love this book!


Another thing I worship about The Final Empire is the characters. You will fall in love with them. Sanderson is so good at character creation. We have our main female protagonist, Vin, who is the relatable character; hides in the shadows, prefers solitude, trusts no one, but is still resolute and independent. Then we have Kelsier, the survivor, the mastermind, the fatherly figure, but still possesses a mysterious darkness. And there’s also Spook, the lovable character whom you find yourself being protective over, even though you’re a reader and you have no control over the story. The relationships between these characters are just perfect, especially the father-daughter relationship between Kelsier and Vin, and because of that you find yourself literally wanting to be them.

The character development is also what sets this book apart from the crowd, and I think the transition of each character from beginning to end - particularly Vin - is very emotional, and I guess, relatable, in a weird kind of way. Mistborn’s characters is probably the key to its long lived success.


The last thing that I think really complimented this novel, and the thing I loved most about it besides the worldbuilding and the characters, was all its foreshadowing.  Now, I thought this literary device was rather ironic as it echoes the power of Atium, and if you’ve read the book you’ll know what I’m talking about ;)

The technique of foreshadowing is apparent throughout the novel, even right from the very start. If an author foreshadows something, it means that he gives advance hints of what is to come later on in the story. Sanderson’s use of foreshadowing is subtle. He doesn’t use it to hint at big, significant events that take place during the story, although the contrary is true in some cases. Instead, he chooses to use it as a device to slowly reveal the backstories of certain characters.

A quick example I’ll use is Kelsier’s sinister past. Sanderson uses several scenes in the novel to unveil the truth about an event that occurred in Kelsier’s past. Vin - and in turn, the readers - soon realize that these scenes actually piece together to create a full picture of what really happened to Kelsier that day, three years prior to the events of the book.

That moment when everything falls into place, and you suddenly think, “Oooh! That’s what that meant, I understand now!”... honestly, I LIVE for those moments in books! There are SO many of these revelations in The Final Empire, and that’s partly what makes it so special.


The Final Empire is truly one of the best books I’ve ever read, I cannot recommend it enough for all you fantasy readers out there! However, if you’re just starting out with fantasy, Mistborn would not be the best place to start considering its intimidating size. It is definitely a MUST READ though!


P.S. No spoilers for the next two books in the series please, I have yet to read them and I can’t wait!!


5 stars!

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