Mistborn – The Final Empire
Publication Date: August 2007
Page count: 781
Goodreads: See here
Plot at a Glance:
Vin, the street urchin who has grown into the most powerful Mistborn in the land, and Elend Venture, the idealistic young nobleman who loves her, must build a healthy new society in the ashes of an empire. Three separate armies attack. As the siege tightens, an ancient legend seems to offer a glimmer of hope. But even if it really exists, no one knows where to find the Well of Ascension or what manner of power it bestows.
I’m not underwhelmed, I’m just merely whelmed.
One of the problems that cut into my enjoyment is that the snappy pace of the first book is totally missing here. Taking place a year after the events of the first book, Luthadel is under siege by a number of enemy armies seeking to take control of its resources. Unfortunately, that siege is a long, drawn out affair filled with pages and pages of characters sitting around and disagreeing about what to do, instead of the fast-paced, frenetic affair it could have been.
It mostly reminded me of the stodgy, somewhat pretentious affair of Netflix’s “The Crown,” without the dramatic and powerful moments occurring with regularity that kept me invested in that experience.
I was a bit let down by how predictable I found a fair chunk of this book. I essentially called a number of the main plot points very early on, and turned out to be right on the money with pretty much all of them. Some might call it a series of lucky guesses, but in this case Sanderson might have choreographed these surprises a bit too much because I saw them all coming a mile away.
The only part of the book that came close to surprising me was the very end of the book, which equally annoyed me in the way that it retconned much of what we knew from earlier in the series in order to make sense. It’s easy to surprise your readers when you essentially shoehorn in a deity that turns the entire narrative of two books into an unreliable one.
Vin’s characterization was frustrating for me as well. She was a strong character in book 1, but a lot of her storyline here felt frustratingly watered down by YA story elements, including a love triangle and lots of self-doubt that I felt she’d already moved past. Unfortunately, with the way this book ends, I have doubts that she’s really overcome the mopey inner monologue that plagued her here. I hope she circles back around to her strengths in time for the conclusion of the trilogy.
What this book has working in its favor as always is Sanderson’s creativity and ability to craft a world filled with cultures and religions that make it feel real. Sazed, OreSeur and Tindwyl in particular made the world seem vast and filled with lively cultures and stories that lived alongside the more focused story that the main characters were living within. The magic system is the next area where Sanderson’s attention to detail shines. It’s clear that he’s put a lot of work into developing these magic systems and he uses them to his benefit in the story.
🌟🌟🌟 = 3/5 stars
What other great fantasy series do you love, or are looking forward to? Let me know below!