Series: Mistborn #1
Published by Macmillan on 2011-02-01
Genres: Fantasy, Fiction
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For a thousand years the ash fell and no flowers bloomed. For a thousand years the Skaa slaved in misery and lived in fear. For a thousand years the Lord Ruler, the “Sliver of Infinity,” reigned with absolute power and ultimate terror, divinely invincible. Then, when hope was so long lost that not even its memory remained, a terribly scarred, heart-broken half-Skaa rediscovered it in the depths of the Lord Ruler’s most hellish prison. Kelsier “snapped” and found in himself the powers of a Mistborn. A brilliant thief and natural leader, he turned his talents to the ultimate caper, with the Lord Ruler himself as the mark.
Kelsier recruited the underworld’s elite, the smartest and most trustworthy allomancers, each of whom shares one of his many powers, and all of whom relish a high-stakes challenge. Only then does he reveal his ultimate dream, not just the greatest heist in history, but the downfall of the divine despot.
But even with the best criminal crew ever assembled, Kel’s plan looks more like the ultimate long shot, until luck brings a ragged girl named Vin into his life. Like him, she’s a half-Skaa orphan, but she’s lived a much harsher life. Vin has learned to expect betrayal from everyone she meets, and gotten it. She will have to learn to trust, if Kel is to help her master powers of which she never dreamed.
There’s so much I could say about this book, but I’m going to attempt to keep it concise. Meaning those of you who have read it will probably be like “I CAN’T BELIEVE YOU DIDN’T MENTION SUCH AND SUCH”. There’s so much to this book, my review would go on forever if I mentioned everything.
Very few books make me laugh, cry, gasp, wince, and stare at the pages in disbelief like Mistborn did.
Mistborn has everything. It’s got action, mystery, magic, romance…it’s incredibly well written with lots of intriguing and mysterious characters. Not to mention plot twists. The other Sanderson book I’ve read, Steelheart, was similar in the “HOLY CRAP” plot twist department.
Sanderson does a great job with world building; he creates a well developed world that I’m sure gets a few of the blanks filled in as the series goes along. Because the plot happens mostly in one region of the Final Empire, you don’t see many other places, although a few are talked about. In this region though, you see from the very bottom of society (thieves dens, beggars corners, etc.) to the highest (the ballrooms of the elite). Sanderson takes great care in describing the spectrum of places, emphasizing the contrast in this society, between the skaa (commoners) and the noblemen.
The protagonists are extremely likeable and very dynamic (there is quite a group of them). You see them make mistakes, fail miserably and then have to deal with the at times shockingly terrible consequences. Vin and Kelsier, the main two, are extremely fun to follow. Vin has been horribly abused for her whole life, and its incredibly refreshing to see Kelsier come along and literally lift her out of the gutter, showing her kindness and consideration. His bright personality and kind spirit make him one of the most likeable characters I’ve ever read. He also happens to be somewhat insane (his ideas at least) and quite snarky at times.
The plot moves at a slower pace than I was expecting, but don’t mistake that to mean it’s boring. The characters are essentially trying to pull off a far more dangerous version of Ocean’s 11. So there’s a lot of planning that has to be done. Vin has to go to balls, Kelsier has to start a noble house war, supplies must be gathered, etc. A lot has to happen in a quick amount of time, and the characters spend plenty of time musing about the fact that it almost definitely will fail.
The villains are terrifying. I don’t even feel the need to go into much detail, but lets just say that if I ever ended up in a dark alley with a Steel Inquisitor, I would probably just die from fear and shock. Enough said.
I haven’t read much High Fantasy, so I don’t have a lot to compare it to, but I thought the magic system, dubbed Allomancy, was quite brilliant. I still don’t have all the metals and their uses straight in my head, but Sanderson spreads their explanations out, so its not confusing. The narrator mentions what each does when the characters use them, so it all makes sense when you’re reading. Essentially, Mistings and Mistborn swallow bits of metals, are capable of burning them (in their stomach?) and are then able to manipulate metals or others emotions in real life (there are a few other uses as well).
If you’re looking for an entertaining and exciting Epic Fantasy with intriguing and inspiring characters, masterful plot development, and an absurdly shocking ending, look no further.