The Final Empire (Mistborn 1) // Brandon Sanderson.

That’s it. I’m sold. I am a fan: Mistborn is simply… amazing. Thank you, Brandon Sanderson. Thank you, Michael Kramer (Audible voice).

In this epic fantasy or high fantasy, Sanderson fills a world full of magic, metal, politics, and the age-old struggle between the oppressors and the oppressed. There is the underdog, Vin the street peasant; the whimsical teacher, Kelsier the famous thief; the evil tyrant, the immortal Lord Ruler; and a crew full of layered yet good men: Breeze, Hammond, Dockson, Spook, Clubs, and Sazed. Along with Vin, the crew decides to entertain one of Kelsier another crazy plan: to overthrow the Final Empire and the Lord Ruler. It’s crazy and out-right impossible. But the Lord Ruler has suppressed the skaa for nearly a millennium. And as skaa themselves, they want nothing short of a revolution and a new world order.

There’s magic with metals—metallic magic: Allomancy, a rare hereditary ability to “burn” certain metals or alloys that enhances the user. This is one of the most exhilarating parts about Mistborn. On top of weaving this epic tale, Sanderson meticulously spells out Allomancy. Such precision allows him to narrate clashes and tensions with such detail that it just absorbs readers (or listeners). Honestly, I don’t think I ever imagine a fight so vividly without visual aids. Let me name a few. Notice, also, how they work in pairs—it’s part of the magic:

Steel pushes metals; iron pulls.
Zinc enflames emotions; brass soothes.
Pewter increases physical abilities; tin increases physical senses.
Copper hides allomantic use; bronze detects.

There are more, but they are part of the unfolding of saga, so I’ll withhold.

An allomancer who can burn one and only one metal is called a Misting. An allomancer who can burn more than one, thus all the allomantic metals, is called a Mistborn. And a properly trained Mistborn is as deadly as she is rare. Allomancy is a rare hereditary trait. Only nobles have the slightest chance of being a Misting or, even more slight, a Mistborn. But, as always, where there are noblemen and a subclass of slaves and peasants, there are always halflings or metizos. Thus, some of the latter can inherit that precious ability. That is, if they can hide from the Inquisitors—a deadly group of creatures who hunt non-noble Allomancers—long enough to awaken their powers.

A huge portion of the enjoyment came from listening to Michael Kramer’s seasoned narration. He just has that voice—fit for listening for long stretches. It was a delight to hear him during long commutes in Seoul’s metro and walks around neighborhoods. I already purchased The Well of Ascension, the second installment of first Mistborn series.


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