Mistborn Rereads: The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson


In light of the release of Shadows Of Self a few months ago, and the up and coming Bands Of Mourning, I’ve taken it upon myself to reread all of the Mistborn books to get myself back up to scratch on all the inner workings of the series.

I did a vlog review of each book in the original trilogy back in 2012, when Brandon Sanderson was brand new to me.

I remember thinking it was just “pretty good, but not amazing”.

However, during those intervening three years, I read just about everything else Brandon Sanderson has ever published, plus watched all of his writing lectures online.

You might call me a Fanderson.

If nothing else, I do consider him my greatest writing mentor.

But rereading The Final Empire, (the first Mistborn book) I found the majority of my original concerns about the book heavily assuaged.

That is obviously because the Branderson has gained a lot of readership trust from me.

Often when you read a new book by an author you’ve never read before, there’s a far greater penchant for skepticism. Your invisible quality standard bar jumps up a dozen notches.

So doing this reread has been in some ways a wholly new experience for me. I remembered general plot trends within the book, so most of the twists didn’t take me by surprise, but I was able to appreciate the ways in which the plot and characters developed, and the way it was conveyed by the prose.

I remember originally questioning his ability to write a successful female protagonist in the first readthrough. However, among other books, I’ve since read Warbreaker, and he has two lead female characters (sisters) in that book and handles the whole thing beautifully.

I’ve since realised that my original hesitation about this came from pretty much everything else I’ve read in YA urban fantasy. Vin (the Mistborn protagonist) didn’t act a lot like a 16-year-old girl. But there’s at least three reasons why that’s okay.

Firstly, this isn’t a YA book, it’s written for adults in both themes and style. Secondly, this isn’t a book set anywhere in our galaxy, there’s no reason to expect that despite the obviously earthlike qualities of everything and everyone, that culturally she would be anything like what I understand of teenage girls. And thirdly, Vin has led a remarkably hard life. She’s an emotionally scarred character and is defined by those scars, plus her own determination and prowess.

So while not necessarily his best work, (which still goes to Warbreaker in my books, pardon the pun) The Final Empire was not only a compelling narrative world to fall into, but one I would definitely do again.

You’ll probably see a number of Mistborn rereads over the next couple months, so get ready for some more praise of the Branderson.

So in trying to nail out the biggest flaw in the book, just to prove I am still being evenhanded, I would have to say there were a couple times where certain developments in plot and certain character explanations of events were a little lacking. I think Brandon was trying so hard to shy away from giant expository passages, that he cut a little too much in certain places towards the end. Too much scene, not enough sequel.

Either way, whatever I previously rated this book when I vlogged about it, I now give it four and a half mistwraiths out of five.

If you haven’t read the book and enjoy Fantasy, I highly recommend it, and leave you with this question:

If you could choose to receive any book for Christmas, which one would you want?

Until next time, merry Christmas and happy readings!


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