Even if you haven’t read a single fantasy novel in your life, the story arc of a young farm boy rising from rags to riches and overthrowing a dark lord should still be pretty familiar. In fact, this plot should be so familiar that it should feel downright overdone.
Mistborn: The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson takes that plot and asks the question: what would a world look like if the hero failed and the dark lord established his iron grip with no resistance?
Mistborn’s is a world steeped in the aftermath of the hero’s failure, and Sanderson’s handling of such a stark reality is both realistic and tasteful. The world of the Final Empire is as bleak as you would imagine it would be under the rule of a seemingly omnipotent Lord Ruler, but the main cast of characters (namely Kelsier, one of two primary protagonists of the novel) still manages to laugh and find joy in the face of extreme adversity.
Even more impressive – I think – than the worldbuilding is Sanderson’s ability to weave a story and its characters through an always-engaging narrative. There is not a single moment in Mistborn that struck me as boring; every chapter lets the reader dive either into the minds of the characters – who are fleshed out incredibly well – or the intricacies of the Final Empire.
In short: I love Mistborn: The Final Empire I love brilliant characters tackling an issue that requires all of their brilliance and seeing how those characters change from the beginning to the end of the story (I haven’t even touched on Vin and how much she changes). The fantasy setting is icing on an already-impressive cake, and the conclusion is impressive and extremely well thought out and leads into the next novel in the trilogy (The Well of Ascension) seamlessly.
I don’t believe in rating systems for a blog-based review, so I’ll just leave you with a wholehearted recommendation for the entire Mistborn trilogy.