Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Mistborn: The Final Empire, by Brandon Sanderson

5 stars

Over a year ago, Brandon Sanderson's short story Shadows for Silence in the Forests of Hell emerged as my favourite from the Dangerous Women collection. A friend (hi, Tamsin!) had long ago championed the Mistborn series and so, having had this sat on my kindle for way too long and with a stretch of free time ahead of me, I thought it was high time I gave this a go. I am so, so glad I did and am now going to be doing this for the foreseeable future as I devour everything of his that I can get my hands on. 

Brandon Sanderson has built a truly fantastic world - one ruled over by a tyrant who was once  a hero, destined to save the world. Now the days see ash fall from the sky, while at night ominous mists keep a beaten down populace - the slave class of the skaa (ruled over by a vicious nobility who are ruled over, in turn, by the Lord Ruler himself) - behind closed doors. A young but useful member of a thieving crew, thanks to her ability to push her 'Luck' and the emotions of those around her, Vin has never dreamed that life could be anything other than the way it is. That is, until she's recruited by the charismatic Kelsier for a truly audacious job - to overthrow the Final Empire.

As well as a well-crafted world for our characters to live in, Sanderson has also given us a new and really rather cool magical system, based on the 'burning' of metals - Allomancy. With each metal having its own powers based on Pushing/Pulling, those with an affinity for a particular metal specialise - there are the Thugs, burning Pewter for enhanced physical abilities, Tineyes, with enhanced visual senses, Soothers and Rioters, burning brass or zinc to influence the emotions of others, and a host of others besides, while the Mistborn - somewhat rarer and with an affinity for all of the metals - tend to be those of noble blood, each guarding a Noble House (who, like most nobility throughout history, tend to be a particularly ruthless shower of shits constantly at one another's throats). I loved this magical system and how it was used, as well as how it was affected by its limitations.

But, more importantly, Sanderson has given us a brilliant bunch of characters, each distinct and serving as an important piece of the whole, with personalities and a mission that I'm now wholeheartedly invested in, as well as some truly formidable villains. I loved the whole idea of the Inquisitors and even our Big Bad, The Lord Ruler, is more interesting that most having been given his own backstory in the legends that underpin this society, making us wonder at what might have made him what he is today.

A fantastic series opener (as well as working well as a finished story in its own right), if you're at all into fantasy then do yourself a favour and pick up Mistborn: The Final Empire today.

No comments:

Post a Comment