Final Empire is about a young woman named Vin, she’s a street urchin who grew
up in Luthadel in the Final Empire. She has been part of a thieving crew for a
while, and is currently very valuable to them because they think she’s a lucky
charm. In fact Vin is affecting people with something she calls luck. She can
make people less suspicious and more likely to do what they want. She does this
to the wrong person and is discovered by a man named Kelsier, who is planning
on overthrowing the Lord Ruler, a cruel despot. It turns out Vin is a Mistborn,
like Kelsier, which means she can ingest metals and then use them. This is
called Allomancy, and makes Vin able to use metals, and some sort of energy
conversion, to move, enhance her senses, make her stronger, and so on. Kelsier
gets together a crew of friends, con artists and thieves, to fuck over the Lord
Ruler, and Vin joins his crew.
really liked it. I really, really liked it. I was a bit worried about it,
because I read Elantris, by Sanderson, and I didn’t really like it. But I
decided to give him another chance, and I am so glad I did. Because I really
world building is fantastic. There are unanswered questions, and I assume
they’ll be answered in the next book, or the third one, but it’s perfect.
Essentially, about 1000 years ago something terrible happened, and the Empire
sort of fell apart. A dark lord took control, and he has been ruling ever
since. He is assumed to be immortal, people keep trying to kill him, but
nothing seems to be able to kill him. The world is covered in ash and mist,
which is a result of this terrible thing that happened.
from the Lord Ruler there are essentially two classes; the nobility and the
skaa. The nobility are a minority, but they are insanely wealthy. They live in
a sort of volatile existence with a House War always looming. The other class
is the skaa and they are treated as slaves and chattel. They are not paid,
barely fed and kept in a constant state of terror and depression. There are no
rebellions because they’re pushed so far down.
is also a sort of other class, which is the Mistborns and the Mistings.
Mistborns are usually nobly born, but some of them are skaa, through rape of
skaa, or prostitution. The Mistborns can ingest metals, like iron and the alloy
of iron steel, and then they can “burn” it and use them to move around. There
are eight main metals, and there are Mistings, who can only burn one metal, and
they are experts in that metal. Mistings are more common than Mistborns. I
liked that there was a limitation to their powers, if they don’t have enough
metal with them they can burn up the metal they have ingested and be stuck or
without powers. They are also limits to how they can move. If there is no metal
around they can’t use alomancy to move. Also Kelsier and Vin are Mistborn and
seem to think they’re better in general, but the Mistings are more focused on
one metal and so they know how to use them better. I loved the world building,
it was fantastic.
characters are great. Kelsier is a skaa, and he is a survivor from a horrible
working camp. He is covered in scars, and he’s been working as a thief for a
long time, with a crew of Mistings. He is a bit insane because he’s been used
as a slave, and he lost his wife. He is still a good, loyal friend and he is
hopeful and funny and sweet. He wants to help Vin and he wants to overthrow the
ruler, which was originally his brother’s plan. He seems to basically have
thought of it on a whim.
is this young girl Kelsier finds and he takes her in. Vin has spent most of her
life on the streets with her abusive brother Reen, and then her abusive boss,
Camon. She trusts no one, and she has no idea how to be friends with people. She
spends the first part of the book extremely suspicious of the rest of the crew.
She sincerely doubts that a crew can work like this, basically working on
trust, not fear and complete focus on self-preservation like she is used to. It
was interesting to see Vin learn how to embrace these men as her friends, and
see her grow. She’s a very engaging character, and she’s brash and basically
always does whatever she thinks she needs to do, no matter if she has been told
repeatedly to stay away.
really loved it. Whenever I read a fantasy book like this it makes me want to
stop reading everything else, and just continue reading fantasy. I want the
rest of the trilogy right now. And I want to find other Sanderson books and
hope that the trend continues. My biggest issue with Elantris was that he
seemed to try too hard to write epically. He was trying for high fantasy, but
he didn’t really have the capacity. In the Final Empire he seems more
comfortable as a writer, and he seems more comfortable with his own writing
style, which makes it flow better, and I like that. It’s really good.