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Mistborn: The Final Empire (Mistborn #1) by Brandon Sanderson Review: A unique world with compelling characters

Read Time: 11 minutes
Published On: February 15, 2023
Mistborn: The Final Empire

Mistborn: The Final Empire is the groundbreaking first book in Brandon Sanderson's acclaimed fantasy trilogy, introducing readers to an enchanting world of fantasy.

About Mistborn: The Final Empire

Author: Brandon Sanderson

Series: The Mistborn Saga #1

Publisher: Tor Books

Genre: Epic Fantasy, High Fantasy

Other works from the Author: The Stormlight Archive Series, Elantris, Warbreaker, Skyward Series

Page Number: 541 pages

Audible Listening Time: 24 hours and 39 min

Goodreads Rating: 4.47/5

My Rating: 3.8/5

Plot - 3/5

In Mistborn: The Final Empire, the Skaa people on the planet Scadrial are enslaved by the oppressive Lord Ruler and his army of Obligators and Inquisitors. It is a world of darkness and despair, where the Skaa people live in constant fear of the Lord Ruler's rule.

But when Vin, an orphan thief, is unexpectedly discovered to have the rare Allomancy powers, she is offered a chance for freedom when she is recruited to join a group of rebels led by the charismatic yet troubled Kelsier. Together, the rebels embark on an epic mission to overthrow Lord Ruler and liberate the Skaa people from his tyranny.

The plot of Mistborn: The Final Empire is an action-packed heist story that brilliantly weaves together a unique world and magical elements. It does take a bit of time to get used to the setting, but once the story gets going, you can't put it down. With its intricate world-building and thrilling plot, Mistborn: The Final Empire is an unforgettable read that will keep you hooked until the very last page.

Characters - 4/5


Vin is the star of Mistborn: The Final Empire and most of the book is from her perspective. She's a great character and my favourite, and it was awesome that she didn't have any prior knowledge of Allomancy, so we could learn about the world and the magic system without the story dragging. I was especially captivated by the chapters where she pretends to be Valette and infiltrates the high society in Luthadel. It was a great way for us to get to know the characters more, and it really opened up the door to some interesting plot points.

I'm really interested to see what she gets up to in the next book in the series. Her romance with Elend Venture is also a nice addition for us romance readers, and I'm excited to see how the relationship develops. With Vin's already impressive Allomantic skills and her determination to uncover the truth, I'm sure she'll be able to accomplish great things in the future.


Kelsier is a definite fan-favourite in the Mistborn series, and it's easy to see why - his flawed and charismatic personality makes him an incredibly captivating character. His dynamic with Vin is so powerful and inspiring, and he makes for an incredible mentor.

That being said, it's impossible to ignore the fact that Kelsier is sometimes a bit reckless in his decisions - his passion for taking down the Lord Ruler and the Final Empire can cloud his judgment, and his actions can sometimes put the entire mission in danger. He's a fantastic character, but his tendency for taking risks can lead to some serious consequences.
Art by Marc Sminetti

Worldbuilding - 4/5

Mistborn: The Final Empire has the most unique worldbuilding among all of Brandon Sanderson’s works. This is the most fanart-worthy world. I have seen so many fanarts depicting Luthadel and Mistborn. It is a grey world full of ash and mist. I still don’t know why ash falls on Scadrial. I think it will be revealed in future books. There are a lot of hints that the world was not supposed to be like this.

I am a bit confused about the geography of Scadrial. We spend most of the time in Luthadel, the capital city of the Final Empire. Other regions are mentioned throughout the story. It's hard to get a sense of what the world actually looks like and how everything is connected. It's one of my only issues with the worldbuilding of Mistborn: The Final Empire. Perhaps future books will provide more information about the unique geography of Scadrial, and explain why the ash falls from the sky.

Magic System - 5/5

The magic system in any Brandon Sanderson book is always top-notch, and Mistborn: The Final Empire is no exception. Brandon Sanderson introduces ‘Allomancy’ to us, a magical system that allows the user to gain access to the investiture by burning metals.

Mistborn: The FInal Empire
Mistborn: Vin #2 by Deandra Scicluna

There are sixteen Allomantic metals, each with its own abilities, and those who can burn one metal are called 'Mistings', while those who can burn multiple metals are 'Mistborn'. In this book, we care about only Vin and Kelsier, who are the only Mistborn. The powers they gain from their Allomancy allow them to do amazing things, including manipulating metals, influencing the emotions of others, and even augmenting their physical attributes.

Another type of magic system, 'Feruchemy', also plays a big part in Mistborn: The Final Empire. This system allows users to store physical, mental, and spiritual attributes within different metals, and to use them to their advantage. The users of Feruchemy can do things like take advantage of time dilation, store memories and knowledge, and even create illusions. It adds a bit of mystery to the plot and builds up the climax nicely.

All in all, I have nothing bad to say about the magic system of Mistborn: The Final Empire. It's almost perfect in its complexity, and I can see why it has gained so many admirers. It might not be quite as good as the magic system in The Stormlight Archive, which is still my favourite of Brandon Sanderson's works, but it certainly holds its own against some of the other great works of fantasy.

Pacing - 4/5

Mistborn: The Final Empire has great pacing for an epic fantasy novel. It starts out a bit slow but quickly picks up. It's much easier to read than The Way of Kings, the first book in The Stormlight Archive series, and it's nowhere near as large as the other books in that series. The pacing is really great and flows well, keeping the reader engaged and wanting more. I especially appreciate how Brandon Sanderson has managed to make the story feel fast-paced without making it feel rushed.

The only thing I'd change is that I wish it had more world-building through dialogue in the beginning. All in all, Mistborn: The Final Empire is an excellent work of epic fantasy that I would highly recommend.
Mistborn - Elend and Vin by Meonika

Enjoyment - 3/5

I've been having a blast with Mistborn: The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson. He has created a world full of unique elements which are both intricate and complex, yet still very digestible for readers with even the shortest attention spans.

At first, I had to take a break from my reading when I was 25% in because the pacing was a bit slow, but then the story drew me in and I felt compelled to keep reading. Two days later, I had finished the whole thing and I found myself thirsting for more. Now I'm eagerly anticipating seeing where the series takes us in the next books, and I can't wait to explore the rest of this captivating world.

Final Verdict - 3.8/5

Mistborn: The Final Empire is an awesome trilogy that has inspired a lot of young readers to get back into reading. It's really easy to get into the fantasy genre with this one, as the worldbuilding and magic system, though complex, is straightforward and easy to understand.

As we explore the fascinating world of Scadrial through the eyes of our main character, Vin, we can't help but be captivated. She is written so well and her POV chapters were among the most enjoyable. Kelsier, Vin's mentor, is the fan-favourite without a doubt. His charm, morally ambiguous character traits, impulsiveness, and determination are all admirable qualities.

The magic system and worldbuilding are where Mistborn: The Final Empire really shines. It builds up slowly, revealing more and more complexities as the story progresses. Even if in the beginning, the worldbuilding is more descriptive than active, it still plays a big part in the climax. There's no doubt the depth and detail of the worldbuilding are what has kept readers hooked.,h_696,q_75,strp/yeden_s_armys_by_kessant_d6687l0-fullview.jpg?token=eyJ0eXAiOiJKV1QiLCJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiJ9.eyJzdWIiOiJ1cm46YXBwOjdlMGQxODg5ODIyNjQzNzNhNWYwZDQxNWVhMGQyNmUwIiwiaXNzIjoidXJuOmFwcDo3ZTBkMTg4OTgyMjY0MzczYTVmMGQ0MTVlYTBkMjZlMCIsIm9iaiI6W1t7ImhlaWdodCI6Ijw9Njk2IiwicGF0aCI6IlwvZlwvZjE4NDNkNmItODZkYi00ODNhLWEwY2EtOGU4ODAxMDFiZmFjXC9kNjY4N2wwLTExMzc3NjljLWVjOWItNGZiNi04NTU0LTI3ZGNlODZjMzY1OS5qcGciLCJ3aWR0aCI6Ijw9MTYwMCJ9XV0sImF1ZCI6WyJ1cm46c2VydmljZTppbWFnZS5vcGVyYXRpb25zIl19.C5SlYtfa3ss_Er5UZOI0SgE1Y6HVSyso6D_-unsnnoQ
Yeden's armys by Kessant

Favourite Quotes

“I was thinking that work is like fertilizer in that I'm glad it exists; I just don't ever want to get stuck in it.”

“Plots behind plots, plans behind plans. There was always another secret.”

“I'm not really sure why. But... do you stop loving someone just because they betray you? I don't think so. That's what makes the betrayal hurt so much - pain, frustration, anger... and I still loved her. I still do.”’

“How do you 'accidentally' kill a noble man in his own mansion?" "With a knife in the chest. Or, rather, a pair of knives in the chest...”

“That's kind of what trust is, isn't it? A willful self-delusion.”

“Honestly, for an evil god of darkness, he certainly can be dull.”

“If men should read these words, let them know that power is a heavy burden. Seek not to be bound by its chains.”

“Every action we take has consequences, Vin," Kelsier said. "I've found that in both Allomancy and life, the person who can best judge the consequences of their actions will be the most successful.”

“Be warned - Hammond does tend to be a bit optimistic about these kind of things. If the army were made up of one-legged mutes, he would praise their balance and their listening skills.”

“The man who wants you to trust him is the one you must fear the most.”

“Though most expect young men to be fools, I've noticed that just a little bit of age can make a man far more foolish than he was as a child.”

“Elend Venture,' she said, standing up. 'There is something I've been meaning to tell you for some time.' She paused, blinking away her tears. 'You read too much. Especially in the presence of ladies.’

“Don't forget the ash because you see a little silk.”

“Never trust a man who tells you good news.”

Amazon Blurb

What if the whole world were a dead, blasted wasteland?


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. Then Kelsier reveals 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. She will have to learn trust if Kel is to help her master powers of which she never dreamed.

Brandon Sanderson, fantasy's newest master tale-spinner and author of the acclaimed debut Elantris, dares to turn a genre on its head by asking a simple question: What if the prophesied hero failed to defeat the Dark Lord? The answer will be found in the Misborn Trilogy, a saga of surprises that begins with the book in your hands. Fantasy will never be the same again.

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