The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson

Well, for starters, this was the best prologue of any book I’ve ever read. I have been neglecting this series (and author) for far too long, and after I read that prologue I was fiending for the actual story. Is fiending a word? I think it’s slang. Now I’m answering my own questions in a review. Whatever, I like fiending and I’m keeping it!

This story has two very predominate social classes in this book; The nobility and the slaves. The Lord Ruler is the “God” of this world, and his corrupt government is The Final Empire. The Final Empire is filled with “Inquisitors” which are men selected by The Lord Ruler and then remade into things that are more powerful and stronger than any normal man or woman. Plus, they have really creepy spikes going through their head, chest, and back. The Lord Ruler rents Skaa citizens out as slaves to the wealthy nobles, while the other prisoners are forced to work and die in his mines. The Lord Ruler is also very strict with the sexual reproduction of mixed classes/breeds, so most nobles will kill the Skaa women they’ve been intimate with shortly after. They are obviously being mistreated, and you soon find out that many are behind a rebellion that might actually stand a chance at doing something about this world’s oppression.

Oh, and the world is constantly raining ash (and mist at night), causing the world to be dark and rather lifeless. There is a frequent conversation about how the old world, before the Lord Ruler’s rule, had actual flowers growing from upon the ground and on the fruits. The characters are in awe and disbelief over this. Nothing is green, everything is just grey.

Brandon Sanderson’s writing is simple and easy to understand, but you are thrown into a world with a very unique premise. I think he really paves his own path for fantasy, and stays away from regular fantasy tropes. I was a little overwhelmed by the allomantic skills until I was able to write most of them in my notes. What a unique concept though! Burning different elemental metals for different powers was so different, and I loved it. After you finished this book (I have the three ebook bind-up) they give you a neat little chart of the eight basic alloys and a little index of all the jobs. I was so sad I didn’t know about this, or that it wasn’t at the beginning!

Each chapter begins with a paragraph that feels very significant, but a little out of place. I was so sure it was the main character’s journal or diary at first, then I started thinking it was the Lord Ruler. It was such a wonderful little mystery! I can’t applaud Brandon Sanderson enough. This minor detail was enough for me to not only want to continue on with this series, but to also branch out to some of his other works.

This book is mostly centered on two nonconventional heroes; the first being Kelsier, who is the hero every world needs. He’s selfless and always believes in doing the right thing. And not in the fake, over the top, eye-rolling way, but in an actual “he’s a good person” way. He’s a skaa, who is in charge of a thieving crew, but this heist (to overthrow the Lord Ruler) might be bigger than anyone expected. He is also famous in this world, for being the only person that has escaped the Lord Ruler’s mines, the Pits of Hathsin. Kelsier might get a little discouraged throughout the book, but he never gives up. He shows what ultimate sacrifice truly is. He also proves to Vin that she won’t always be abandoned. I was so fucking invested in Kelsier, his death completely broke me and my little black heart. Then the letter he left for Vin, “Farewell. I’ll tell Mare about you. She always wanted a daughter.” Please, stop cutting onions, whoever you are.

The next star of this book is Vin, who is one of the strongest female leads I’ve read about to date. She starts out as an abandoned little girl form that streets that somehow managed to survive, and then she meets Kelsier. Her growth was absolutely beautiful, and she eventually masters the “I’m a badass who also likes to dress up” role that Celaena in Throne of Glass fails so very hard at. There isn’t much romance in this book, but I absolutely devoured the ball/party scenes with Vin and Eldon. I loved watching Vin develop from this scared and hurt child who just sat on the sidelines, into this brave and selfless girl who is becoming a strong woman.

I liked and connected with Vin the entire book, but that very last line – it got to me. I started shedding all these tears, before I even realized how it made me feel. That one simple sentence was just so perfectly placed, and ended up being so powerful.

“And realized that was all she had ever really wanted.”

Vin and Kelsier are both mistborns that use all of the metals in the allomantic chart above. If you can only control one of the basic elements you are just a misting. Both are rare, but mistborns are incredibly rare, and both mostly come from high noble houses. These skills come in very handy in starting a rebellion, and we find out that some mistborns are more powerful than others from their bloodline. We also have mistwraiths, which end up playing a very substantial role among the rest.

Besides Vin, my favorite character was Sazed. Sazed is sort of Vin’s steward in this book. He helps get her ready for high society life, while teaching her proper etiquette. He is a Terrisman , who studies and memorizes religions from before the Lord Ruler, so he can one day teach the world all these awesome forgotten religions. Sazed also teaches us about a second magic system, Feruchemy. He was such a compelling character, who won me over so quickly! I feel like his character not only brought together all the puzzle pieces we were missing, but some of his lines like me in awe as well.

“Belief isn’t simply a thing for fair times and bright days, I think. What is belief—what is faith—if you don’t continue in it after failure?”

Since this is my first Brandon Sanderson book, I have no idea who Hoid is or his importance, but I’m guessing he’s like a hidden Easter Egg. After I finished this book, I went to YouTube to listen to a couple discussion groups, and they were all freaking out about Chapter 19 and Hoid’s appearance. In this chapter, Hoid gives some information to Kelsier that would be rather impressive for a common beggar to know. What I can piece together is that he is a world traveler that is from other Brandon Sanderson books, which doesn’t really affect my reading experience, but I figured I’d add it to my review in case it has relevance for one of my followers. Plus, I love Easter Eggs in my books, video-games and movies, so kudos for Brandon Sanderson!

The ending was so, so, so good. Everyone told me going into this series that they only get better, so I cannot wait to start the next, because this one surpassed all of my expectations I bet the deepness, that I think the Lord Ruler was keeping at bay with atium, and is now going to make a very deadly appearance . I can honestly say I’m fiending for The Well of Ascension. Look at that, full circle, boom!

Also, my friend Markus brought up, in his review, how Allomancy is like the Force powers of the Jedi and he completely blew my mind. I haven’t seen any of my other friends make this parallel, so I just had to link his review and gush over how freakin’ perfect of an assessment that is.

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