A thousand years ago evil came to the land and has ruled with an iron hand ever since. The sun shines fitfully under clouds of ash that float down endlessly from the constant eruption of volcanoes. A dark lord rules through the aristocratic families and ordinary folk are condemned to lives in servitude, sold as goods, labouring in the ash fields. But now a troublemaker has arrived and there is rumour of revolt. A revolt that depends on criminal that no-one can trust and a young girl who must master Allomancy - the magic that lies in all metals.
©2009 Brandon Sanderson (P)2011 Orion Publishing Group Limited
Straight off, I'll admit that I'm not a reader of fantasy novels. I'm not averse to them, but they never leap out at me and make me choose them over a good biography, historical naval adventure, or the occasional bit of sci fi. However, on this occasion I just saw it, and thought that I should give it a whirl for a bit of a change. I have no regrets with the decision.
Whilst this is quite a long book, the story moves at a good pace, never dragging and never racing too fast; it is well written, not prose bordering on the poetic, like Mr Rushdie, but pefect for the tale being told. Whilst not wanting to reveal story details, it is very reminiscent of Frank Herbert's Dune in the depth of world that has been created and the politcal grounding of the story (don't worry, the book is not a political statement - such books are not my cup of tea). Yes, I have to admit that some of the characters are thinly fleshed out; however, from vast experience of reading books which are praised for the depth and detail of all of the characters, I think that it is a good sacrefice for stary telling tempo.
After listening to this book, I would imagine that Mr Sanderson is well on his way to being considered as a master of his genre, should he not already be considered so, and I imagine that the film rights to this book have already been bought.
If you have found that yourselves feeling the need for a change of style, then I highly recommend this book as your metaphoric sorbet to cleanse your literary palate.
So let's start with the positive; his concept of a 'magic' system is very intriguing, novel and ultimately very satisfying when coupled with a decent action scene. The storyline and backdrop is also very interesting although the plot and character style seems to change focus at times, something that the author has himself admited in articles I've seen.
I think I'd rate this 3.5 stars if I could. My main criticisms are the very basic writing style plus the lack of gritty detail and descriptive elements. The author constantly uses the same words and phrases over and over again, and seemingly has no hesitation in describing conversations between characters as "she said, then he said, then she said, then he said" etc etc, almost as if his vocabulary is limited.
You often find characters in rooms or settings where nothing is described in detail and the characters themselves aren't particularly 'fleshed out' sufficiently at times. The monotone narration I would rate as poor, which probably compounds the issues I describe above.
With all that said, I did enjoy the book and I now find myself wanting to know what happens in the universe he's created, but without wanting to subject myself to hours of the same boring narrative style. hhhmmmm, what to do.....
Well write with excellent characters especially the main Female character. Fantastic and original Magic system that puts this series of books apart from other Fantasy fiction.
Brandon writes very cleanly and I would prefer more gritty detail to spice up the story, but to be honest the story is perfect as is.
I recommend this book, I was surprised at how good it is.
It's been a while since I saw anyone bring anything new to the genre but Brandon Sanderson has created something unique in this setting, I won't give too much away but he's developed a really creative magic system. Michael Kramer also does a good job with the reading of the book, he adds a little characterisation to the voices of the characters but doesn't overdo it.
A totally new form of magic use, sublime in it's creation fantastic in it's theories and moulded amazingly well into a story of a young street urchin who found in bud then blossoms into a noble woman and a metal burner extraordinaire! One of the most original magical genres used in a great new rendition of the diamond in the rough comes good storyline, with some hideous villains in the shape of the Steel Inquisitors. I would recommend it to anyone and will be reading the sequels.
It started slowly and I was not quite sure I had made a good choice. But books often take a few pages to get into. Once I did I couldn't turn it off. This is one of the best fantasies I have read in a long time and I cannot wait to start the next. It is the usual mix of good versus evil with strong characterisation and almost believable magic. A really enjoyable read.
I really enjoyed this book, very high quality fantasy. Definately different and interesting and the characters really come to life, one always wants to listen to more ... and plenty long enough too.
Fantasy is a genre that can be a bit limited at times but this story and the series seem to be well balanced and offer something new and valuable.
Well worth exploring
I read a lot of fantasy, grew up on the likes of David Eddings, which I loved as a kid, anyone who still loves Eddings will love this. It’s fantasy from the very simple uncomplicated side.
I see 2 types of fantasy, this stuff and the "hard" stuff like Steven Erikson, Joe Abercrombie or George RR Martin. If you lean more towards Erikson & co you will be very very bored by this. That said I'd highly recommend it to anyone who loves the lighter style.
It’s a bit Twilight meets Belgariad... which won't be a bad thing for many. But if you are used to the intrigues of Westeros or trying to figure what the hell is going on in Malazan this will not be your bag.
So it’s sort of 1 star if you are hoping for Abercrombie / Erikson, 4 stars if hoping for Sparhawk. I was hoping for the former.
Easily one of the best fantasy novels ever written. Sanderson has a completely unique narrative style and the 'magic' system he has developed for this world is simply incredible. Just buy it!
ps, anyone else think tht Michael Kramer (the narrator) sounds like Zap Brannigan from Futurama?
As a Wheel of Time fan, I came to Brandon Sanderson's books to check out whether he was the right choice to finish Robert Jordan's epic. I wasn't disappointed!
"Great story and narration, but cut off at the end!"
The story and narration deserve 5 stars, but what's up with the audio book ending abruptly before the end? Roughly a page at the end of the last chapter and the entire epilogue are missing! I guess that explains why this version is 24 minutes shorter than the Macmillian audio book. I had to get the book from the library just to finish the story...
"The Final Empire: Mistborn, ROCKS"
This is an amazing story line, so inventive and involving. I found myself completely hooked. Michael Kramer really brings the character to life.
The audible book finished early (about a chapter) so I emailed Audible and they fixed the problem in minutes. Thank goodness, that last 30 mins so set the scene for Book 2.
"Engaging fantasy, adequate narration"
This is a good intro to a new trilogy and a new fantasy universe with an interesting magical system. the characters are reasonably well drawn and Sanderson is pretty genre-savvy. the pacing of the book is excellent, and I found the twists quite surprising. Many of the themes are very thoughtful and I welcome his gentle challenge to many of the assumptions that inform orthodox fantasy novels.
The narration is good, though the narrator does choose some pretty stereotypical 'voices' for the villains. This tends to broadcast whether the character in question is a 'goody' or a 'baddy', which is disappointingly simplistic and unnecessary. On the other hand the characters unmistakeably wear white hats or black hats and there are no shades of grey in there. Nice to have a female protagonist who is somewhat complex as well as being kickass.
This is an amazing book, absolutely loved the story, the characters, the plot twists, the very world it was set in! This series will probably be in my top ten favourites for a while, itching to get the next one.
To be honest I think what I enjoyed most about the book was the characters and how they interacted with eachother and the world.
For me it's a toss up between Kelsier and Sazed when it comes to my favourite character, both brilliant and proactive characters who held my interest deeply entwined.
I'm sure there were many moments that moved me, though nothing particular jumps to mind at this very moment.
This book is amazing, listen to it NOW!!! You shalt not regret it!
"My first audio book, now I'm hooked"
I did not read the printed version.
It's characters and it's explanations of the physical 'mechanics' of allomancy.
He does an extremely good job at conveying the mood of the environment in which the story takes place. Climaxes are also very well emphasized. Consider me a fan!
Several moments between Kel and Vin, and also a a few moment between Vin and Elend, especially the humorous conversations.
I am in awe at what can be accomplished using words. This is truly a piece of art!
"Rich and Exquisite"
This is my first Brandon Sanderson novel and I have to say it was a real treat. The audio narration was exquisite. Michael Kramer’s deep tones complimented the richness of the prose which served to create an immersive reading/listening experience that had me looking forward to my times on the exercise bike and the commute to and from work. There were times when my mandatory 30min cycling blew out and other times when I wished I didn’t get to work so quick. Where are the red lights when you want them.
I like Sanderson’s world building. It may not be as detailed and complicated as say Steven Erikson’s Malazan series, but I don’t see that as a negative. What Sanderson achieves in The Final Empire is world building that is rich yet accessible, fascinating and mysterious but at the same time doesn’t hinder the plot. In the world Sanderson creates, we have The Lord Ruler, An immortal Tyrant with god like power, who has ruled The Final Empire for a thousand years. On the bottom end of the scale, we have the oppressed lower class ie the Skaa, who are ruthlessly used and abused by the noble houses who are in turn overseen by the Lord Ruler’s religious institutions, The Steel Ministry and The Canton of Inquisition.
The characterisation was excellent. I don’t think there was any character that I found boring or didn’t care what happened to. Even the minor characters were well constructed. Vin, the main protagonist, is a young Skaa street urchin surviving on the streets by her wits as well as a special talent that makes her useful to the thieving crew she works for.
But the star of the show has to be the magic system. I don’t think I have encountered a magic system in any fantasy novel that is as fascinating and well thought out and explained as in this book. Sanderson takes an almost scientific approach to “Allomancy” (the main magic system in the story) with very well defined rules and limitations. Magic costs, Magic needs to be fueled. Magic can have unintended consequences. An Allomancer (AKA Mistborn) fuels their abilities by ingesting the associated metal or alloy and then “burning” the metal required for the particular Allomantic effect. For example burning steel allows the Allomancer to “push” metal objects while burning iron enables them to pull on metal objects. The result being a skilled Mistborn can use these abilities to send metal projectiles hurtling towards enemies or they can use a combination of pushing and pulling to launch themselves into the air in virtual flight, “spiderman” style. Sounds easy? Except the Allomancer has to be aware of things like the physical weight of objects being pushed and pulled. Push against something heavier than yourself and you will fly backwards – which is ok if that’s what you intended. Or pull against something lighter than yourself could see a hunk of metal hurtling directly towards you – again ok if you intend to duck at the last minute and hit the guy behind you. Otherwise you’re dead. And that’s just two of the metals, there are at least 10 with effects from increased strength to enhanced senses to mind manipulations.
Sanderson skill is in taking us on a journey of discovering these abilities in a way that is not daunting or over complicated. Rather the introduction to the magic felt natural to me and I just found myself wallowing in it.
An absolute pleasure – 5 stars
The narration had very little passion and was somewhat monotone, the story was slow, after 3 hours I waved the white flag.
we will see...
Well written and narrated. Compelling story that makes you think you have all the answers....of course you don't.
"Great World, Vast Scope, Personal Stories"
Fully envisioned world.
The sense of scope and depth to the society and the interactions between castes and factions.
You knew immediately which character was speaking without being distracting.
This is a sound book and launches a great series. It does feel a bit rushed towards the end. After so much of the book being a well-paced build up of people, events and the introduction to the use of the powers, the end arrives a bit abruptly.
"Interesting new concepts introduced (hard read)"
MMM, I did struggle to push through this book, not an easy ready with allot of new concepts and allot of characters to remember.
I'm currently listening to book 2 of the Mistborn series. Already easier to read than the first book, but I've read better.
Yes, I think I'd rather see the movie
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