The Final Empire is the kind of book that could be read twice with the same amount of enthusiasm as the first time. Written by American fantasy writer Brandon Sanderson, this fantasy novel is the first book in the Mistborn Trilogy that follows the story of Vin and her friends in their heroic exploits against the Lord Ruler and later, against other evils. Throughout the story, we follow Vin as she begins to trust in her surroundings and become, in general, a more socially interactive Skaa Mistborn.
First, let me begin by describing Skaa. Skaa are, essentially, the lesser human beings in the book, forced to work by noblemen, the higher humans who in turn worship the Lord Ruler, a supposedly invincible essence of God Himself who has ruled the world for 1000 years. The Lord Ruler has his own governing system with him at the top, then his Obligators, humans who are said to see through his eyes, and then his Steel Inquisitors, kind of like humans remade with metal spikes inside them allowing them to have unnatural strength and healing abilities. This system governs the noblemen, who are the descendants of friends of the Lord Ruler. The noblemen command the Skaa, kind of like how African slaves are owned by Europeans and Americans whereas Skaa are treated even worse. The Lord Ruler owns all the Skaa but he allows an infinite number to die.
Mistborn are presumably the strongest supernatural being in the book’s fantasy world. They are mostly noblemen but noblemen who have relationships with the Skaa can sometimes lead to Skaa Mistborn. This is why the Lord Ruler always orders his noblemen to kill all the women the noblemen bed. Mistborn are “superhuman” humans with the ability to burn metal in their stomachs to enhance their physical, emotional and intellectual prowess. Mistings are a weaker example of Mistborn except they can only burn one metal to enhance one part of their body. Vin is one of the rare Skaa Mistborn as well as her tutor/friend/fellow Skaa Kelsier.
Kelsier was probably one of the most well-known people besides the Lord Ruler as he had escaped the Pits of Hathsin, which the Lord Ruler uses as a punishment for all of the Skaa he personally hates. Kelsier was sent into the Pits of Hathsin with his wife Mare. After his wife died, Kelsier “snapped” (Allomancy term for turn into Mistborn or Misting) and he managed to crawl out of the Pits alive but with scars on his arms for life. After training as a Mistborn, Kelsier became renowned as “The Survivor of Hathsin” as well as many other praising titles and he organized many raids that worked against the Lord Ruler and became the most rebellious Skaa in history.
As it was, Vin had the luck to be tutored by Kelsier and of course she inherited his rebellious nature and viewed the Lord Ruler’s ways as he did: unfair to those who didn’t deserve it. She later ended up in Kelsier’s little band of Skaa thieves made of Mistings and Mistborn and a Terrisman servant. This leads on to Terrismen, believed to be the second strongest human after Mistborn and Mistings.
Terrismen (Sazed is Vin’s Terrisman servant and friend) are abnormally tall humans with an unnatural heightened memory and physical strength. This only applies to Terrismen with Feruchemy, the ability to use metals and their own body to provide unnatural power. We learn from the story that Terrismen, like Mistborn, use metals to heighten their powers but it is not the metal that provides it but their own body. In turn, Terrismen must stay weak for a certain period of time to be abnormally strong for that same period of time.
Now, as we have gotten most of the more important characters in the book, I will move onto the Lord Ruler himself. Rumors have it that the Lord Ruler is an entity of God that is immortal and invincible and has been so since 1000 years ago. However, Kelsier found a metal (formerly called the Eleventh Metal) that the Lord Ruler was not immune to and he could be killed with it. Unfortunately, (here comes a spoiler which I believe Tanmay has already talked about) Kelsier is killed by the Lord Ruler before he could tell Vin how to use the metal. Nevertheless, we know that the Lord Ruler is not fully immortal or he wouldn’t use methods such as punishment to the Skaa for not working hard. This shows that if an uprising does occur, he may not come out of it alive. The Lord Ruler is actually the most important character in the trilogy has he created the world as everyone knows it.
Again, due to certain people, I am not allowed to spoil the plot for you so with all due respect, I won’t say anything about the plot from now on though I am tempted otherwise.
One thing I will spoil is that the Lord Ruler whose real name is Rashek, is a Mistborn and Feruchemist together which is his secret to immortality. I can’t tell you if he dies or not because that would technically be called spoiling.
My favorite quote is after Vin first meets Elend, the most important nobleman heir, and who she falls in love with later.
Sazed paled visibly. “You were chatting with Lord Elend Venture?
“Did he ask you to dance?”
Vin nodded. “But I don’t think he meant it.”
“Oh, dear,” Sazed said. “So much for controlled anonymity.”
I found this part rather amusing as Elend is a rather funny guy and its hilarious how Sazed appears frightened of him.
I would recommend this book to anyone and I mean everyone. This book is fit for adults, children, female or male readers. It is quite a fantasy blockbuster and I would rank it side by side with the Skulduggery Pleasant series.
Noble Mistborn with Cloak and Weapons