"A house without books is like a room without windows." -Horace Mann

Monday, May 7, 2012

Mistborn: The Final Empire

by Brandon Sanderson

I love me a good fantasy novel, but I am more and more picky about which ones I spend time reading.  Lately, the ones that have intrigued me the most are those which have magic that is based on some kind of more "scientific" or tangible aspect.  I don't know if that makes sense, but I like the idea of magic coming from some sort of source other than just your mind, or a "magic" wand.  I like to know why the magic works the way it does, even if I know that its not really real.  Its fascinating for me to imagine an author than can make up these ways of looking at magic that are based in some sort of a realistic concept, its an amazing skill.  One of my past reviews of "The Name of the Wind" is one of these kind of books.

I found the book Mistborn similar in that manner, although its not as big a book, and its probably more appropriate for a young audience than the other.  It however is probably not meant for a young audience as it still has a fair amount of violence in it.

The story is about a young girl named Vin who survives in a street thief gang that works in the capitol city of a land that is plagued with continuous ash falling, and a great disparity between classes.  It is ruled over by the Lord Ruler, a man who "saved" the world and is thought to be immortal, but who has turned his world into a dark and evil place.  Vin has a type of magic she calls "Luck" which allows her to alter people's emotions.  She eventually meets up with a man named Kelsier who wants to lead a revolt against the Lord Ruler.  He teaches Vin more about her magic, which is based on the "burning" of different types of metals that are swallowed into the body.  The group eventually uses Vin to infiltrate the nobility to be a spy.  Things are complicated (as always) when Vin meets a young nobleman who isn't what she expected.  Much of Vin's dilemmas center around trust and friendship.  And there is always the mysteries lying behind the story that make you wonder - Who is the Lord Ruler?  Is he immortal?  How did he save the world?  And why is there the constant ashfall?

I suspected a few different versions of how the story would end, but didn't get close to guessing until the very end, and even then there were some great and unexpected surprises.  The characters are realistic to me, and I like the philosophy of how religion and belief work in this book.  It doesn't give you a nice, neatly wrapped ending or even answers, but I'm very much looking forward to reading the next in the series to find out!

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