The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson

The Final Empire

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 Brandon Sanderson's intriguing tale of love, loss, despair and hope, a new kind of magic enters the stage —...

Title:The Final Empire
Author:
Rating:
Edition Language:English

The Final Empire Reviews

  • Benjamin Duffy

    I can't remember being this violently conflicted about a book in quite some time. There are some areas where it's just so well done, with the author absolutely nailing it, and then others where I found myself grinding my teeth in frustration. I'm going to abandon my usual practice of writing short, pithy reviews and just drunkenly ramble on a few things here. (Still no spoilers, though.) That OK with y'all?

    About two and a half chapters into this book, I found myself asking, "Why does t

    I can't remember being this violently conflicted about a book in quite some time. There are some areas where it's just so well done, with the author absolutely nailing it, and then others where I found myself grinding my teeth in frustration. I'm going to abandon my usual practice of writing short, pithy reviews and just drunkenly ramble on a few things here. (Still no spoilers, though.) That OK with y'all?

    About two and a half chapters into this book, I found myself asking, "Why does this feel like a kids' fantasy book?" It wasn't the subject material or the plot, both of which were clearly more sophisticated than Harry Potter and his ilk. While I would feel perfectly comfortable having a 12-year old read this PG13-violent and utterly sexless book, I don't feel as though it's necessarily written

    tweens. Finally it occurred to me:

    . This book is one of the most simply written books I've ever read, using only the most basic vocabulary. That isn't a bad thing, as I'd rather read something direct and simple than something flowery and overwritten, but Sanderson's language is so simple here that it's almost as if he's drawing with the Crayola 16-set when other authors have the big 64. (One notable exception: having apparently become recently enamored of the word, he uses

    at least three times. Maybe he was jamming some Weezer while he wrote.) I haven't read any of his other works (yet; Mistborn #2 is on deck), but I have to assume this simplicity is by conscious choice, and it's an interesting choice at that. I'm just not sure yet how I feel about it.

    One language choice that I

    sure how I feel about is Sanderson's decision to have his characters speak good old American English. The narration is similarly plainspoken, with a fair amount of American slang thrown in, rather than the twee, faux-Elizabethan style of a lot of fantasy authors. I like the approach. One of the most time-honored fantasy tropes is having all the characters

    and

    each other, with a few

    for good measure. And I can handle that stuff, having been weaned on Tolkien and everything that came after, but I found Sanderson's decision to move away from that convention refreshing. I interpreted it as Sanderson saying, "The unspoken assumption here is that this book has been translated from whatever languages they speak on this made-up world, so why translate it to anything other than what is most understandable and comfortable for you to read? To couch this story in funky language is to insult your imagination by implying that you

    that in order to realize you're reading a fantasy novel."

    The setting is a typical high fantasy world - feudal-style nobility and peasantry; shadowy, powerful priesthood; mysterious evil lord, etc. - with some odd, almost steampunk flourishes thrown in. There are wristwatches. Men's formal wear is described as something more like Victorian coat and tails than medieval garb. Magic in this world is fueled by elemental and alloyed metals, which are described rather exactly, using percentages. It's a unique and interesting blend.

    The basic plot is about as stock as it gets. If you're familiar with the

    films, the

    or

    books,

    , the

    trilogy,

    ,

    , or any one of about a million other works, please play along:

    Needless to say, the book's plot could have been a ticket to Hack City, but it really isn't. Vin's growth and development are handled well.

    This is a fantasy book for the video game generation. By that, I mean that the book follows the general path of a first person RPG:

    1) Introduction to the world and the main characters

    2) A few early levels whose only apparent purpose is to teach the player how to use the buttons

    3) Quests of increasing difficulty, with progressive reveals of the Big Plot

    4) Fight with the Main Boss, including the inevitable twist

    5) Denouement and teaser for the next installment.

    Not that that's a bad thing! But I was really surprised at the way Allomancy (the main "magic" in this world) was laid out. In the two towering fantasy/sci-fi works of the 20th century (

    and

    ), the supernatural elements of the story operated behind a sort of curtain or screen. The One Ring in

    and the spice Melange in

    both held great, mysterious powers, but the specific effects and extent of those powers were seen only in fits and flashes, and never understood completely by the characters or the reader. In contrast, fairly early in this book, Kelsier takes Vin on a practice run where he explains how her powers work and what their advantages and limitations are, using plain language and real-world physics, and lets her fly and mess around and just generally exult in her magic. It left me, the reader, as well as Vin the character, feeling that even if we didn't understand this magic perfectly right now, we might at some point in the future, which was a very different feel.

    OK, after enough rambling about things I feel ambivalently about, let's wrap up with one big win and one big fail:

    Brandon Sanderson can write the hell out of an action scene. (And since the final quarter of this book is pretty much all action, playing directly into Sanderson's strengths, it kicks all kinds of ass.) The fights in this book are gut-wrenching without being overly gory, and the chases and sneaks are heart-stopping as well. Perfect combination of pace and detail. Amazing. Possibly the best I've

    read from an author in this genre, and if he's able to do that so effortlessly, so early in his career, it gives me hope that he can fix...

    ...the dialogue. In spite of being favorably disposed due to the use of informal American English, I eventually found the dialogue here really clunky. Everyone is too wordy. Everyone says one sentence too many. Over and over again, I found myself going, "Real people don't talk like this" and especially, "Real people who are supposed to be close friends don't talk anything like this to each other." Seriously, think of how you talk to your best friends in private, then compare it to this book. In addition, there was always that odd feeling of unneeded exposition, as if the characters were talking half to each other and half to the reader. It was unfortunate, especially in contrast to how slick and fast-moving and just plain awesome a lot of the other writing was.

    All in all, this was a fun, kinetic read...with a few holes in it. It builds, it explodes, and the ending is really good. If half-stars were allowed, this would have been a 3 1/2. Good stuff.

    Also, here are my (spoiler-free, suitable as previews) reviews of the

    and

    books in the series, if you enjoyed this one!

  • Jessica ❁ ➳ Silverbow ➳ ❁ Rabid Reads

    I hate everyone.

    : Everyone who?

    : Yes.

    : Eh?

    : Leave me alone. I don't want to talk about it!

    : *backs away slowly*

    : IT'S ALL YOUR FAULT. *sobs*

    Are you one of them? Are you? Did you rave about MISTBORN and convince me it was one of the BEST fantasy series ever? You can't believe I haven't already read it--I'm going to LOVE it. Hmm? DID YOU?!

    Then you,

    , are who I hate.

    As for you, Mr. Sanderson . . . I TRUSTED YOU.

    I collected your clues and gathered your hi

    I hate everyone.

    : Everyone who?

    : Yes.

    : Eh?

    : Leave me alone. I don't want to talk about it!

    : *backs away slowly*

    : IT'S ALL YOUR FAULT. *sobs*

    Are you one of them? Are you? Did you rave about MISTBORN and convince me it was one of the BEST fantasy series ever? You can't believe I haven't already read it--I'm going to LOVE it. Hmm? DID YOU?!

    Then you,

    , are who I hate.

    As for you, Mr. Sanderson . . . I TRUSTED YOU.

    I collected your clues and gathered your hints like freaking MANNA, and when you did-the-thing, I . . . panicked. But then I thought, no, no, this CANNOT be, he wouldn't do this, and I went back through all my meticulously collected clues and hints and found an explanation. A perfectly. Reasonable. Explanation.

    An explanation that made sense.

    An explanation that would keep my heart in one piece instead of the shattered, brittle thing it has since become.

    An explanation . . . I am forced to conclude . . . you deliberately planted . . . to foster FALSE HOPE.

    YOU are the Deepness, Mr. Sanderson. YOU are that which will destroy the world. And YOU will do it GLEEFULLY.

    I hate you most of all.

    I can't write the review that I want to . . . I can't talk about Sanderson's brilliance as he cultivated my doubt, and how that doubt made the loss so much worse:

    Which is exactly what he intended. It was so masterfully done, it couldn't be an accident.

    Why does your manipulation make me admire you so?

    Probably b/c (thanks to you) I'm a shadow of myself. <------oh, look at that. You probably PLANNED THAT TOO.

    The world of the Mistborn is not a pleasant place.

    There's always a downtrodden servant class in a Sanderson series, but this world's version is particularly bleak.

    Ash falls like rain from the sky, supplying the skaa with a never-ending, yet thankless workload. They're beaten regularly, often resulting in their deaths. A pretty daughter is a curse rather than a blessing, b/c not only will the Master feel obliged to have his way with her, but when he gets bored, she'll be killed.

    Halfbreeds are to be avoided, you see.

    The nobility is sometimes blessed with magic. Magic which passes genetically to offspring, and we can't allow the peasants to gain that kind of power, can we?

    *twirls mustache*

    Enter Kelsier. *fireworks*

    In the city where corruption among the nobility chokes the air almost as much as the ashfall, some skaa thumb their noses at the system.

    They form street gangs and steal whatever they can from those who would enslave them, existing in a cutthroat world by embracing a cutthroat mentality.

    Most of the gangs are comprised of ordinary skaa, but a few are different, more organized crews than low-level thieves . . . They take bigger jobs, they are the royals of the petty crooks, they are the Mistings.

    And in a few extremely rare cases, they are the Mistborn.

    Not every halfbreed life is snuffed out before it can begin . . .

    And Kelsier is the greatest of them all.

    Among the common criminals, he is legend:

    But Kelsier was betrayed, and when he finally escaped the pits that claimed his wife, he was determined to be

    than a crew leader. More than a thorn in the Lord Ruler's thigh or a bramble in his path.

    And when you think about it, as far as planning goes, there's not much difference between organizing a chancey heist and plotting to overthrow a corrupt ruler who thinks himself a god . . .

    One might even suggest that Kelsier is the perfect man to do it . . .

    Beyond his suitability for the task, there's something immensely likable about the image of this noble Fagin flipping a coin he keeps to anchor his Allomancy, the ability to metabolize and manipulate metals.

    And here's the thing about Sanderson: the man's a genius. Now that I've familiarized myself with him, I don't think I'll ever be able to stop reading his books. Even if I'm not thrilled about the execution, there is always incredible potential in his ideas.

    Take the concept for this series: what would happen if the hero meant to save the world . . . failed?

    SO. We have servant class con men with flash + an immortal tyrant = Revolution! We have a world in ruin one thousand years after the hero of prophecy failed to save it. Add to that Sanderson's trademark misdirection, and, well . . . Despite my brokenness in the aftermath, how could I

    read it? How can

    not?

    Highly recommended, but only with LOTS of cake (or something stronger) to drown your agony.

    PS - this changes nothing. I still hate all of you.

    Also, I HATE ALL OF YOU.

    BUDDY READ with my peeps in

    .

    It's

    to start tomorrow, but:

    *waves at Robin*

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  • Khanh (the meanie)

    Sometimes, I revisit a book I had loved ages ago, only to tell myself "What the actual fuck was I thinking?! This book is crap!!!!! Oh young Khanh, you were so dumb :("

    Thankfully, this was absolutely NOT the case for this book. I appreciated it much more the second time around. It could be that it just took time for me to appreciate the book. Or maybe it just glows in comparison to all the crap I had been reading (2.5 average rating last year, baby!). Either way, I ain't complaining!

    First, the b

    Sometimes, I revisit a book I had loved ages ago, only to tell myself "What the actual fuck was I thinking?! This book is crap!!!!! Oh young Khanh, you were so dumb :("

    Thankfully, this was absolutely NOT the case for this book. I appreciated it much more the second time around. It could be that it just took time for me to appreciate the book. Or maybe it just glows in comparison to all the crap I had been reading (2.5 average rating last year, baby!). Either way, I ain't complaining!

    First, the bad, because I'm that sort of person.

    The world he has built is magical, his words are not. Sanderson's writing is simple, readable. Perhaps too simple. I appreciate the fact that there is no purple prose, but sometimes, a story is woven through the magic of words, and Sanderson's writing is simply too plain for me.

    On the other hand,

    This is a huge-ass book, people. I mean, I get it. The book is tremendously grand in scope, the story is complex, and will only get more complicated as the series wears on, but

    , which is a sad thing for any reader to realize.

    Now, the good. First,

    Sanderson, I feel, is so respectful to his female characters. They are strong, resourceful, independent. They can get by without a man. The women in his book have to earn their stripes. There's no getting by on beauty and flirtation here. Wit and cunning is a much safer bet than the size of a female character's tits.

    The world building is tremendous. The magic of Allomancy is just so fucking awesome, and so well-described. World building, the myth and magic surrounding any high fantasy is so crucial, and Sanderson did a tremendous job.

    Yes, it's a long-ass book, and the writing isn't as spectacular as some (Guy Gavriel Kay), but on the other hand, this book is eminently readable, with a limited amount of meandering (unlike Guy Gavriel Kay).

  • Jesse (JesseTheReader)

    WOAH. That was a crazy epic adventure full of fantastic characters and action packed madness! It definitely lived up to all the hype for me. :)

  • Christine Riccio

    MISTBORN WAS SO GOOD GAHH HERE'S MY BOOKTALK:

  • Clau R.

    I'M NOT OKAY I'M STILL CRYING.

    On to read the next book!

  • Kat O'Keeffe

    BOOKTALK HERE:

    Just as I expected, this book was FANTASTIC. The story, the characters, the world, the magic system--I loved it all! It was a wonderful first book in a series--satisfying on its own, yet there's still plenty to explore in future books (which I will definitely be reading soon!)

    Really, the only somewhat negative thing I have to say is regarding all the hype. While I definitely think the praise is deserved, it did leave me with very very high e

    BOOKTALK HERE:

    Just as I expected, this book was FANTASTIC. The story, the characters, the world, the magic system--I loved it all! It was a wonderful first book in a series--satisfying on its own, yet there's still plenty to explore in future books (which I will definitely be reading soon!)

    Really, the only somewhat negative thing I have to say is regarding all the hype. While I definitely think the praise is deserved, it did leave me with very very high expectations. Expectations that were met, but because I was anticipating awesomeness, it didn't blow me away as much as it could have. But again, this is a very minor gripe, and more about my reading experience than the actual book itself.

    I'll talk about the book more in a video soon, but for now I'll just say again, I LOVED IT. The story was beautifully constructed, the world was rich and believable, and the characters were likable and well developed. I can't wait to continue the series and see where it goes next!

  • Melissa ♥ Dog Lover ♥ Martin

    I forgot that I did a re-read on audio of this a couple of months back! Thank you to my friends who out of the blue liked my old review and reminded me. I checked my Overdrive and the next one is going to come through soon for my re-read. 😊 I still feel the same about the book because it's freaking awesome, I'm just not sure about the audio. I don't think I will get it from Audible. It's okay I guess.

    I forgot that I did a re-read on audio of this a couple of months back! Thank you to my friends who out of the blue liked my old review and reminded me. I checked my Overdrive and the next one is going to come through soon for my re-read. 😊 I still feel the same about the book because it's freaking awesome, I'm just not sure about the audio. I don't think I will get it from Audible. It's okay I guess.

    I'm sitting here in shock after reading this book. I have to admit that I cried, I didn't see that ending coming. Brandon Sanderson has done it again. This is only my second book I have read of his and they both have blown me away.

    I loved all of the "good" characters in the book. Each one of them have an endearing quality. My favorites being Kell, Vin and Sazed. It took me a little bit to understand the Allomancy, but it finally started to make sense and there is a little chart in the back of the book that helps out with that :)

    Kelsier (Kell) is a Mistborn and getting an army together to try to take down the Lord Ruler who is the ultimate jerk!! He finds Vin and brings her into his fold. She has no idea she is a Mistborn and she ends up being so much more than that! I love that he took her under his wing and taught her so many things. She caught on very quickly but this is because of what all she really is...no spoiler!

    Kell has such a wonderful team. I love them all. There are several that have powers themselves. I really think this story is great at having all of these characters with different things they can do. They all stand out very clearly and the friendship between this team is the best.

    The book is full of evil beings, strange beings, war, senseless torture and killings, and the good people trying to make a difference.

    I'm still at a loss for a lot of words because of what happens and the feelings that are put into the book. All I can say is I look forward to reading many more Sanderson books!!!

    Fin

  • Val ⚓️ ShamelessBitchySKANKY ⚓️ Steamy Reads

    Because.

    It.

    Was.

    So.

    Fucking.

    Awesome.

    I have been telling myself for years that I should try and branch out from just romance, paranormal romance, UF romance, sci-fi alien smut and the occasional murder mystery or biography (not that there is a damn thing wrong with my beloved romance, but just to challenge myself to try something new) and attempt to tackle a straight high fant

    Because.

    It.

    Was.

    So.

    Fucking.

    Awesome.

    I have been telling myself for years that I should try and branch out from just romance, paranormal romance, UF romance, sci-fi alien smut and the occasional murder mystery or biography (not that there is a damn thing wrong with my beloved romance, but just to challenge myself to try something new) and attempt to tackle a straight high fantasy.

    Well, this book was my first true foray into that genre and all I can say is...

    *

    *

    *

    LOLZ.

    Jay kay, peeps, jay kay.

    Just making sure I live down to your expectations. *wink*

    In all sincerity though, this book was everything and I truly don't know why I waited so long to tackle this genre.

    Comic/Sci-Fi/Fantasy movies are my all time FAVORITE movie genres.

    And this book felt like I was locked in one of them.

    Like I was in a theater watching an epic fantasy film.

    Only BETTER.

    Because we ALL know the book is

    better.

    Brandon Sanderson is now a front runner in the Val's Spirit Animal Games and I just want to sit across from him at a pub table and watch him breathe.

    His world building is so amazing, I can't even.

    I was enthralled from page one until page end.

    This is an older book and and I'm late to the fiesta, so I'll stop there; but long story short, I loved this thing so hard I might sleep with it under my pillow for a while.

    And the best part?

    There are now aisles of books at the bookstore that I feel have suddenly been opened to me.

    AISLES, people.

    So glad I tried something new.

    I feel so mature.

    Three cheers for Garth.

  • Chelsea Humphrey

    Readers have been urging me for years to pick up anything by

    , and after browsing his books I knew that Mistborn would be the first world I wanted to enter. Opportunity arose, and I was able to read this along with two other Goodreads friends, which made for a much more exciting experience than if I had gone it alone. We were able to bou

    Readers have been urging me for years to pick up anything by

    , and after browsing his books I knew that Mistborn would be the first world I wanted to enter. Opportunity arose, and I was able to read this along with two other Goodreads friends, which made for a much more exciting experience than if I had gone it alone. We were able to bounce ideas off of each other, chat about theories we had, and see where we were right and where we were completely wrong.

    I'm at a loss for words at how perfectly this book and I fit together; the only way I can think of explaining is that, upon finishing

    , I found myself questioning the validity of most of my previous 5 star reads. How could I possibly place them in the same category as this? I understand it won't be for everyone; the pacing is slow throughout a majority of the book and it's long by many readers' standards. I felt the hilarious banter between the characters relieved a bit of the slowness, but I also found that I loved the steady, detailed world building. The immaculate secondary detailing is what really set this apart from other adult fantasies I have read, and I can't wait to continue on and see where Sanderson takes us. I don't really have much else to say, as I've jumped on the bandwagon late in the game, so I thought I would close with my favorite (spoiler-free) quotes that I marked along the way.

    Buddy read with

    and

    ! 😍❤️


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