The Book Review of the Month: Mistborn: The Final Empire

The Book Review of the Month: Mistborn: The Final Empire

Jem Hanan '23

The increasingly cold weather reminds students that winter is imminent, and students have been receiving an influx of work as they longingly await Thanksgiving break. What better way to destress than with a good book? This month’s book recommendation is a fantasy novel that’s sure to get you hooked within its first five pages (trust me on this one). Magic, action, mystery, romance, and a heist all come together in Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn: The Final Empire to create a novel that you will not be able to put down. 

In a world where ash falls from the sky, thick mists come out at night, and greenery has ceased to exist, there are two classes of people: the skaa and the nobility. They have all been ruled by the Lord Ruler for a thousand years, and he has kept an iron grip on his empire through careful maneuvering of government, economy, and most importantly, magic. Kelsier, a Mistborn thief, rounds up his old crew in order to pull off his most dangerous job yet. What on the surface seems like a high-risk high-reward heist is revealed to be a plot to overthrow the final empire through collapsing its economy and feudal system. One of the main players of this plan is our protagonist, Vin, a 16 year old orphan trying to survive the streets of the capital city of Luthadel using what she calls her ‘Luck’. However, when Kelsier encounters her, he 

knows there’s more to her than meets the eye. 

An aspect of Mistborn that’s one of the most interesting is its magic system. Right from the get-go, the rules of the main magic system, allomancy, are laid out for the reader. Although this might not seem like a big deal, it makes the novel a more compelling and fun read because rather than thinking “how will they magic their way out of this one?” we instead wonder “how will the characters use the magic within the bounds of the pre-established rules in order to solve this conflict?” It’s intriguing to see how different characters utilize allomancy in creative ways to solve their problems, and how other characters respond to that. In other words, the plot becomes more character-reliant than magic-reliant which is a good marker for any fantasy book. Also the action scenes with said magic are so well done. It’s like a movie in your mind.

Speaking of characters, Mistborn does those really well. Although there is a varied cast, none of them feel like caricatures. Of course, some are more multifaceted than others, but even the minor characters have motivations and unique personalities. Everyone feels like a real person despite the fact that the story takes place in a made-up world. The relationships between characters and how they develop over the course of the novel feel natural, which allows 

the reader to be more invested in each one. And yes,“enemies to lovers” is included in the aforementioned relationships.

One of my favorite things about the book is the balance between the different plot threads. Because of the nature of the narrative, the reader is able to see both the skaa and nobility lives of the citizens of Luthadel. We get balls and palaces in addition to street fights and heists. Sanderson does a masterful job switching between the two, and I found that when one part began to drag, it would switch to the other, and I’d be excited to see what was going to happen all over again. 

I can go on all day about Mistborn, but then I would be revealing too much and the entire mystery aspect would be undermined, so I’ll stop here. If you haven’t realized it yet, I love this book and the entire trilogy (you can easily read just the first if you’re not a series kind of person). I physically cannot stop talking about it. It’s a great book if you want to try to get into fantasy or if you’re an avid fantasy fan and want something you can read in one sitting. Basically, anyone can and should read Mistborn: The Final Empire.