Mistborn: The Final Empire Book Review

Title: Mistborn: The Final Empire
Author: Brandon Sanderson
Genre: Fantasy, Epic Fantasy
Published: 2006
Pages: 643
Goodreads Rating: 4.45
Rating: 8/10

“There’s always another secret.”

The Final Empire is the first book in the era one Mistborn trilogy by Brandon Sanderson. For a thousand years, the Lord Ruler has been reigning over his domain known as the Final Empire on the planet Scadrial. A world of ash, mist, and slavery has extinguished every spark of hope… except for the flame found within a small group of thieves who are determined to bring about a revolution. 

World building: Sanderson excels at world building. He addresses every detail in his effort to create complex societies and systems. In The Final Empire, he introduces us to a new planet, magic systems, class society, cultures, and characters. There are three major magic systems within The Final Empire that beautifully weave together. Each magic system has limitations that prevent them from being all-powerful so the characters that possess one of the abilities are restricted in some way which allows for an interesting dynamic within the book. As for the planet Scadrial, it is within his universe known as the Cosmere. If you’ve read any of his other books, most of them are a part of the Cosmere including Warbreaker and the Stormlight Archive series. So I suppose Sanderson is not just a great world builder but also a universe builder. 

Character development: As for the character development in The Final Empire, Sanderson has done better in other books. Now that’s not to say the character development is bad in this book. Sanderson’s average work is still better than most authors. But when comparing The Final Empire character development to the Stormlight Archive series or to the era two Mistborn trilogy, it is weaker in The Final Empire. Along with character development, Sanderson’s character romance was also relatively weak. With that said, the characters on their own are still fantastic with unique personalities and behaviors. 

Climax:  To give fair warning, there’s a bit of a spoiler in this paragraph. As is typical in Sanderson’s books, the last 150 pages lead up to a few epic scenes and battles. The way in which the main characters’ challenge is handled in The Final Empire may leave you confused because of the prior knowledge regarding the Lord Ruler’s seemingly invincible abilities. The climax and ending of this book might also leave you wondering what the other two books will be about. Without providing too many spoilers, the trilogy’s focus shifts as a new challenge arises.

Sanderson’s books regularly make my favorites list. The two reasons The Final Empire does not make that list is because of the weaker character and romance development and because of the confusing climax battle that seemed to contradict information provided earlier in the book. With that said, the book did introduce me to some of my absolutely favorite characters including Breeze and Ham. Also the world building and magic systems are spectacularly done. If you’re interested in committing to an epic fantasy trilogy where all of the books are all readily available, this is a great book for you! It is also a good place to start if you’re new to Sanderson’s Cosmere universe. 

Published by Caroline

Avid reader, board gamer, yogi, and photographer.

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