Brandon Sanderson · Mistborn · Young Adult

The Final Empire (Mistborn #1) by Brandon Sanderson


In a world where ash falls from the sky, and mist dominates the night, an evil cloaks the land and stifles all life. The future of the empire rests on the shoulders of a troublemaker and his young apprentice. Together, can they fill the world with color once more? (



In this first mistborn book we encounter a subjugated people known as the skaa who work daily to clear their cities of ash. They are not treated very well; they are beaten, raped, and killed on a daily basis even for the simplest of things. The Skaa are owned by the Lord Ruler whom they believe to be an invincible God. A small group of people want to rebel against the Lord Ruler and the Nobility and change how the Skaa are treated. This group includes Kelsier, a Mistborn, his Misting friends, and a few others with their own special talents.

A Mistborn is someone who can ingest metals into their body and burn them in order to give themselves special abilities. This is called Allomancy. Mistborns are able to use all the available metals, but Mistings specialize in just one. I thought this was such an awesome magic system and it was so enjoyable to read about it and uncover all the secrets! It isn’t very complicated to understand while you are reading, but if you have trouble there is a chart in the back of the book that explains each metal and the effect it has.

Although I didn’t enjoy the prologue very much, once I got a chapter or two into the story I was hooked! It was so interesting and engaging; I never wanted to put it down. The story was detailed, unpredictable, and perfectly paced! There was just the right amount of action, suspense, and world building to keep me completely involved in the book. It has been a long time since I read a book that was balanced so well! Also, in case you want to know, the story does wrap up in this novel so you don’t have to read the others if you don’t want, but I can’t wait to see what comes next!

The story is also pretty emotional! I was completely devastated at one point in the book and again towards the end. There were also times that I was happy, nervous, excited, and surprised. I was also very happy about the ending of the book. The ending was just perfect!


Not only did this book have an amazing story, it had incredibly well developed characters who, for the most part, I actually felt a connection with.

Vin, a 16 year old Skaa, is a thief who lives on the streets of Luthadel. Over the course of the story she develops into an amazing character! She has never known friendship or trust her entire life and always prefers to cower in a corner and be alone. Once found and recruited by Kelsier she learns what she is and very slowly learns that not all people will abandon or hurt you, though it does take quite a bit of time for her to realize this. As a character she is very well developed and right from the beginning I liked her. Since most  of the story is from her point of view you really get to know everything about her and what she is thinking or feeling. I enjoyed this close and personal connection to this character.

Kelsier is a bit of  a legend, known as the Survivor for getting out of the Pits of Hathsin alive (the only one to do so). He is also a Mistborn and one of the greatest crewleaders anyone has ever known. Like Vin, we really get to know Kelsier throughout the story and we learn quite a bit about his past and who he is. He has to be my second favorite character of the book! I really enjoyed reading about him and I love the relationship that develops between him and Vin.

These are the two main characters in the story, but there are so many more you will have to discover for yourself. There are not so many that it becomes overwhelming and nearly all of them are perfectly developed characters each with their own personality. I enjoyed reading about all of them!

World Building

Sanderson does an amazing job building his world! He provides the most perfect amount of detail and really gives you a feeling about where these people live. Everything is dull, gray, crowded, and covered in ash; rather depressing. Eventually, they learn that this isn’t how it used to be. That there used to be things called flowers that were colorful and tress and grass that were green. They can’t really imagine it like that because they are so used to everything being gray, but they do wonder what it would be like.

I explained before about his magic system, which I think is incredible. I have never read anything that relates to this type of magic and am glad that some authors can come up with a system that is so unique and interesting! There is still a lot to learn about the magic I think, which we may see in the other books.


I really enjoyed Sanderson’s writing. I didn’t have any problems with it. Everything flowed well and I didn’t notice anything that could have been left out. Everything he included really added to the story.

 Overall Thoughts

This has become one of my favorite novels of all time! It doesn’t happen to often when I come across a book that has an incredible story, well developed characters, great writing, and is completely unpredictable! I am amazed! I would recommend this book to young adults and adults alike who are looking for a great story with awesome characters and a new magic system!

I really hope that the other books in this series are as good as this one!

My rating: 5/5 stars!

View this book on amazon and goodreads!

My other reviews in this series:

The Well of Ascension

The Hero of Ages

Check out these other reviews by fellow bloggers!

A review by The Book Smugglers

A review by The Adventures of A Bookworm

A review by Angel Crow

A review by bookhad

*Since I didn’t like the cover of the us edition I bought the boxed international edition, which is a great set and can be found here!

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