The beginning of the trilogy that sparked my love for reading fantasy novels.
It’s been exactly one year ten months since I first joined Goodreads or started reading The Final Empire, September 1st, 2016 to be exact. This is an extremely important book for me and the more I tried to explain why the harder it felt to come up with something other than saying the cliché phrase that “I absolutely love this book”. The reason on the significance of this trilogy for me will have to be postponed until I’m done with rereading “The Hero of Ages” because it will be much easier for me to explain why by talking about my life before and after finishing the trilogy. So yeah, that’s coming in a week or two but for now, as always, it’s all about my thoughts on the book and why The Final Empire—even upon reread—is an absolutely incredible start to a trilogy.
Picture: The Final Empire by breath-art
The Final Empire is the first book in Brandon Sanderson’s highly acclaimed Mistborn trilogy. For a thousand years, the world has been ruled with an iron fist by the immortal emperor, Lord Ruler. The main plot of the book focused on a rebellion built around a heist led by Kelsier and his newly found apprentice, Vin to overthrow the Lord Ruler. I absolutely loved the story here. The first time I read this book, I found the plot to be thoroughly engaging, seriously relatable but at times humorous due to the characters camaraderie and banter; I was also completely fascinated by the world and magic system that Sanderson has created here. All of these are still true but there’s an additional superb quality that happened upon my reread: all the foreshadowing and hints are now laid bare for me to see with the gift of hindsight. The Final Empire on its own works perfectly as a standalone but trust me, it’s not. Everything you read here—even the mini details—played major parts for the upcoming books.
“Plots behind plots, plans behind plans. There was always another secret.”
Picture: Kelsier and Vin by GisAlmeida
Where do I even begin with the wonderful characterizations? Let’s start with my book girlfriend (this will most likely be the only time you see me use this term), Vin. I’ve read more than 200 books since the first time I started this trilogy and Vin—by the end of the trilogy—remain my favorite heroine of all time. This doesn’t mean that Vin is the only great character from the series; Kelsier, Sazed, Elend, and many more I can’t mention for now because their greatness won’t come to play until the third book. Some of you who’ve read it might think of Vin’s thoughts as being “emo” or if you’re in 9gag, “edgy” but think about it, with her past, can you blame her? I found Vin to be an amazing character here because she taught me that despite being betrayed and left behind countless times, it’s always okay and better to love and trust someone again than being alone. Kelsier taught me about justice and hope; that it’s not okay to stand still in the face of tyranny, oppression, and slavery.
“Men rarely see their own actions as unjustified.”
Sazed taught me that it’s possible to have a different faith and yet still be respectful and kind towards each other’s belief.
“Our belief is often strongest when it should be weakest. That is the nature of hope.”
There were plenty of things to learn from the characters in the book but for now, let me talk about one of the main highlights of the book and the trilogy itself, the magic system.
The Final Empire introduced us to Allomancy and Feruchemy. I’ll be honest, coming from a heavy gaming and reading manga/anime background, I thought I would not encounter a magic system of high caliber that can be found in that two medium within the novel form. However, I was wrong. Allomancy is amazing and still by far my favorite magic system in the medium; even more than the one in Sanderson’s magnum opus: The Stormlight Archive. The intricacy of the magic system that Sanderson has created in Mistborn saga never ceased to amaze me and I’ve yet to encounter a more engaging, complex, and amazingly easy to understand magic system within any fantasy novels. Plus, the actions spawned from the magic system resulted in some vivid and fast-paced battle sequences. Don’t believe me? Try going to a forum and ask “what’s your favorite or the most intriguing magic systems you’ve ever read in fantasy?” I guarantee you that snow will fall in my country if someone doesn’t shout Mistborn; it’s just THAT good.
This book was also my first encounter with Sanderson’s spectacular world-building skill along with his simple, vivid, and immersive prose. The world of Scadrial that’s clouded by ash and surrounded by mist was extremely atmospheric to read. There was also a lot of well-built mystery and lore within this book as Sanderson used the epigraph that can be found within the start of each chapter masterfully. I’ve heard a lot of criticisms from readers that Sanderson’s prose here are too simple for their liking and I do agree that not only this book, all his book contain simple prose. However, that’s actually one of the things that I do appreciate about his works. His writings never get in the way of the story and he’s still capable of telling a story of epic proportion with simplicity. Even though his prose is simple, this doesn’t mean that there isn’t any wisdom in it. In my opinion, all of his books contained a lot of wisdom easily applicable to our daily life. A few examples:
“The right belief is like a good cloak, I think. If it fits you well, it keeps you warm and safe. The wrong fit however, can suffocate.”
“You should try not to talk so much, friend. You’ll sound far less stupid that way”
And with that quote, I realized that it’s time for me to put an end to my review here. It’s safe to say that I still consider The Final Empire one of my favorite books and one of my favorite starts to a trilogy. My reread experience of this book has been better than I expected and I can’t wait to see how the rest of the trilogy holds up for me. Below here, just for fun, cringe, and nostalgia, is the first review I’ve ever written. Hopefully, I did a better job this time! 🙂
My first review on Goodreads and I’m really happy it’s this book that I chose. The book have an amazing world-building, great characters development and most of all, very intricate magic system and actions. This is coming from someone who’ve seen plenty of magics (not real of course) from 20 years of gaming and watching anime/movie/television series. The amount of details Sanderson put into each words (not to mention it’s really simple and easy to understand) is insane.
I will definitely read the rest of the trilogy straight after this and more works by him!