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Mistborn: The Final Empire by Brandon…
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Mistborn: The Final Empire (2006)

by Brandon Sanderson

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Mistborn (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
4,1731801,200 (4.28)1 / 446
  1. 132
    The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch (fyrefly98, souloftherose)
    souloftherose: Although the authors have different writing styles, both are epic fantasy books with a caper/heist/team of thieves at their centre
  2. 40
    The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss (leahsimone)
  3. 30
    Warbreaker by Brandon Sanderson (leahsimone)
  4. 30
    Banewreaker by Jacqueline Carey (Konran)
    Konran: For those who were interested by the logbooks, Banewreaker is told from the point of view of the "evil" side of you traditional fantasy story.
  5. 20
    The Demon King by Cinda Williams Chima (foggidawn)
  6. 20
    Talent Storm by Brian Terenna (Anonymous user)
  7. 10
    The Dragon's Path by Daniel Abraham (ajwseven)
  8. 10
    Son of Avonar by Carol Berg (Konran)
  9. 32
    Dune by Frank Herbert (wvlibrarydude)
    wvlibrarydude: Substance gives power to individual. Lots of political intrigue with interesting characters.
  10. 56
    The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (Katya0133)
    Katya0133: The tone of these two books is very different, but they way Katniss looked at the world, specifically the way she couldn't understand kindness as a motivation, reminded me of Vin in the first Mistborn book.
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English (177)  French (1)  Catalan (1)  Dutch (1)  All languages (180)
Showing 1-5 of 177 (next | show all)
The Final Empire is not a happy place. The teeming masses of the Empire, known as skaa, are used to clear the brown fields of the ash that falls from the sky without cease. Their unending toil brings only meager sustenance from the scorched and blighted land. When their labor is done, night falls, and the mists come. Each and every night, the world is wrapped anew in terror and mystery. Even the stout-hearted quail before the creeping tendrils. Few willingly venture outside after dark.

The life of the skaa is nasty, brutish, and hopefully short. Skaa labor provides what few luxuries the land can provide to the hereditary aristocracy. Despite their relative paucity, the aristocracy find their entertainment inadequate. Bloodsport and sexual exploitation fill the gap.

The nobility are themselves watched by the obligators, the omnipresent Imperial bureaucrats who must witness all agreements, financial or otherwise, between the nobility. The obligators are in turn watched by the terrifying Steel Inquisitors, creatures of flesh and metal who report directly to the Lord Ruler himself. None dare resist their power. One thousand years after the Hero of Ages traveled to the Well of Ascension to save the world, all is not well. Society shambles on, but it is dead, feigning the symptoms of life.

It is the time of the final cultural forms, of petrified urban-dominated society (the part of the cycle to which Spengler gave the name “Civilization” as a technical term). There is no theme to the events in the Winter: there is a lot of art and politics, but it is powerdriven, market-driven, fashion-driven. All these events simply toy with traditions and motifs which the culture created when it was alive. Usually something ghastly happens to civilizations which reach this fossil state, but according to Spengler, this something comes from outside.

-The Perennial Apocalypse, John J. Reilly

A friend recommended this book to me as something similar to Patrick Rothfuss' The Name of the Wind. I had been waiting for a copy to show up at my local used bookstore, and I finally found one just before Thanksgiving.

That is an apt comparison, the books have somewhat similar magic systems, were published about the same time, and they were both a blast to read. Other than that, these books are completely different.

This is a good thing. I really enjoy seeing similar ideas worked out in very different ways, by authors with entirely different styles. The Name of the Wind and it's sequels have a laser like focus on Kvothe; which is appropriate, since these books are the story of his life. Other characters appear, but they are always secondary to Kvothe. This fits, since Kvothe is a narcissist. Everyone else really is secondary. Sanderson, on the other hand, has an ensemble cast who all are fully part of the story, with their own plausible motivations and desires. They are not simply part of the scenery, but rather provide a richness of detail that makes the story seem more real. Sanderson also does a really good job with politics and applied psychology in this book. Deceit, manipulation, and Machiavellian politics are a major part of the story, and I loved it all.

Actually, there is one other way these books are alike; they are both about the end of the world. I know, there he goes again.

Mistborn is the tale of the brave and doomed skaa resistance to the reign of the Lord Ruler. Following the introductory apocalypse at the Well of Ascension, the Lord Ruler consolidated his dominion over the entire world. This really is the end of history, for in the Final Empire, nothing every changes, including the immortal Emperor. The Lord Ruler's grasp may grow somewhat weaker as you travel further away from his capital, Luthadel, but there are none who do not acknowledge his sovereignty.

In typical usage, a millennium is a thousand year period of peace and prosperity after the constraints of the human experience, such as war, death, and poverty, have been overcome. Sanderson has turned the concept on its head, positing a millennium where the forces of evil have triumphed instead. The Three Horsemen run rampant in the Final Empire [only War has been vanquished; War against the Emperor is inconceivable]. This kind of millennium poses as the end of history, but it is really a pregnant pause.

A millennium of this kind implies a nameless war to follow, a revolution after the revolution. The Final Empire reaps this in plenitude. In the book of Revelation, the thousand year reign of Christ comes to an end when Satan, who has been bound, but not destroyed, rises again. He will be defeated in a nameless war after the end of the world, after which the cosmos will be consumed.

Sanderson fulfills the archetype completely; the paradigm will out, even when you start out to subvert the idea. What Sanderson does maintain, the reason why I enjoyed the book so much, is the identity of good and evil. Good still wins out in the end. What remains the same is that the cosmos is consumed in the resulting conflagration. Only now, a new cosmos needs to be constructed to replace the old. This is the task the protagonists find they have created for themselves. It should prove to be most interesting.

I enjoyed this book so much that I am eagerly awaiting my next trip to the bookstore to buy the rest of the books in the series. If you have a hankering for more, you are in luck. The other two books in this trilogy are already written, and Sanderson has even greater plans for extending his ideas into a grand overarching story with more than thirty volumes. This is a venerable conceit. Writing stories that fit into the same universe is a mental savings, and fun for your fans as well. I look forward to exploring Sanderson's creations. ( )
  bespen | Dec 8, 2014 |
In this fantasy novel, Sanderson breaks from traditional fantasy and goes an entirely new route. In this novel, evil has already won. For a thousand years, the Lord Ruler has been the head of an Empire that has been stagnant for just as long with no end in sight. We follow the young protagonist Vin as she is pulled off the street by a rag tag group of thieves and rebels who hope to put a final end to the horror that is the Lord Ruler's rule. Sanderson has always been a wonderful fantasy writer and Mistborn is no different. We are introduced to a brilliant magic system that is truly unique in the realm of fantasy novels. The story itself stated above is one that is done, in my opinion, not often enough. Most fantasy novels follow the typical formula of a rag tag group of heroes who are trying to stop an evil force from rising. This book flips that formula on it's head and keep the reader engrossed throughout it's reading. How can you fight someone who is functionally immortal? Throughout the book, we see Vin and the others of the group fall in and out of despair. What the message portrays is that even in the darkest of times, one cannot give up hope. Hope is something you give yourself. It is the meaning of inner strength. This group of heroes struggles and fights against all odds for what they believe in and it keeps you wanting more as the last page of the book turns. ( )
  MattM50 | Sep 30, 2014 |
Maybe not as good as Elantris, but still a great fantasy book that manages to entertain and blur the boundary between magic and religion in a faraway kingdom. ( )
  piersanti | Sep 28, 2014 |
It is hard to write about the books we love. It is even harder to write about the books most people have already written about and have done it much better.

The Final Empire has a great premise at its core. It deals with failure. Since anything else about the fact would be a major spoiler, I'll stop here (it is so huge that I don't want to tempt people with spoiler tags).

The Final Empire is a bleak land. People have forgotten that grass and the trees should be green since the nearby mountains cover the land in dark ash. The skaa, enslaved ordinary people, live in misery and fear. It was hard to read about the things the skaa have to endure. "...an official cursed and shoved a man out of the line. The skaa worker fell hard, but eventually picked himself back up and shuffled to the end of the line. It was likely that if he wasn’t let out of the city, he wouldn’t be able to do his day’s work—and no work meant no food tokens for his family."That is one of the milder examples, and it is more than upsetting. The nobles use the skaa for manual labour and other, worse things. But they don't own them. The one who owns the skaa is the Lord Ruler, who has ruled this now horrible land for a thousand years. The skaa are slaves to their own superstitions as much as they are slaves to the nobility and the Lord Ruler.
And as it is always the case with repressive societies, there will always be someone who could offer a thread of hope. There is no completely black and white division in this world. There are a number of protagonists, but the story mostly revolves around the two major ones - Kelsier, the brilliant master criminal who survived things no ordinary person could and kept on smiling and Vin, a street thief who learned the true meaning of friendship and trust."He forced himself to smile—not out of pleasure, and not out of satisfaction. He smiled despite the grief he felt at the deaths of his men; he smiled because that was what he did. That was how he proved to the Lord Ruler—and to himself—that he wasn’t beaten."How can you not love a character like that? It almost broke my heart reading that. Kelsier became one of my favourite heroes.

The magic system is interesting too. The way it is introduced is brilliant. You don't simply get to read that this metal does this or that metal does that. It is done through Vin's training. Each member of Kelsier's crew has something to teach Vin, an ability or in Kelsier's case abilities, and through them Vin learns how to use allomancy.

The main story is finished in this book, but certain comments made in the last few pages left an opening for another great fight against the odds. ( )
  Irena. | Aug 26, 2014 |
Buddy read with Angela, Brandi, and Tandie.
  JennyJen | Aug 14, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 177 (next | show all)
Intrigue, politics, and conspiracies mesh completely in a world Sanderson realizes in satisfying depth and peoples with impressive characters.
added by Katya0133 | editBooklist, Regina Schroeder (Jul 1, 2006)
 
The fast-paced action scenes temper Vin's interminable ballroom intrigues, while the characters, though not profoundly drawn, have a raw stereotypic appeal.
added by Katya0133 | editPublishers Weekly (May 15, 2006)
 

» Add other authors (8 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Brandon Sandersonprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Foster, JonCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Dedication
FOR BETH SANDERSON,
Who's been reading fantasy
For longer than I've been alive,
And fully deserves
To have a grandson as loony as she is
First words
Ash fell from the sky.
Quotations
Women are like ... thunderstorms. They're beautiful to look at, and sometimes they're nice to listen to--but most of the time they're just plain inconvenient. [p. 307]
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Brandon Sanderson's epic fantasy trilogy overturns the expectations of readers and then goes on to tell the epic story of evil overturned in a richly imagined world. 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 a criminal that no-one can trust and a young girl who must master Allomancy - the magic that lies in all metals. A word of mouth success in the states the Mistborn trilogy has, this year, broken onto the New York Times Bestseller list. The time is ripe for its success to cross the Atlantic
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0765350386, Mass Market Paperback)

Brandon Sanderson, fantasy's newest master tale spinner, author of the acclaimed debut Elantris, dares to turn a genre on its head by asking a simple question: What if the hero of prophecy fails? What kind of world results when the Dark Lord is in charge? The answer will be found in the Mistborn Trilogy, a saga of surprises and magical martial-arts action that begins in Mistborn.

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.

Readers of Elantris thought they'd discovered someone special in Brandon Sanderson. Mistborn proves they were right.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:45:42 -0400)

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"Once, a hero arose to save the world. A young man with a mysterious heritage courageously challenged the darkness that strangles the land. He failed."--Cover, p. [4].

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