Review. Brandon Sanderson, The Final Empire

There are those authors of whom you know, even after reading only a single book, that they are talented and that you just have to own and read every single book they put out. Brandon Sanderson is such an author. In a long distant past, I bought his first – at least I think it was his first – novel, Elantris, but never got around to reading it. Even up till today it is somewhere on my TBR and I do feel ashamed for it, yes. But about six or so years ago, I stumbled upon Warbreaker and that one I actually read almost right away. I was blown away by it and knew that from that moment on I would own every single of his books. I got even more excited when I started hearing rave reviews about his Mistborn trilogy, so I picked it up. After reading it I can sum up the first book in about three words: Oh. My. God.

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 colour once more?
In Brandon Sanderson’s intriguing tale of love, loss, despair and hope, a new kind of magic enters the stage— Allomancy, a magic of the metals.

At first sight, this looks like your average High Fantasy novel, with the evil ruler and the little band of friends who make it their mission to save the world. And frankly, it is your average High Fantasy novel if you look at it that way, but once you start reading you’ll soon realise it is way more than that. First of all there is the richly detailed world. It is something I’ve also noticed in Warbreaker, but Sanderson is an incredible worldbuilder. When reading, it’s almost like it’s you that’s walking the streets of Luthadel – the capitol if you want – along with the characters. Next to a richly detailed present world, the past is also very prominent in the way that the Final Empire as we know it didn’t come dropping from the sky, rather than growing into what it is right now and its history is present throughout the habits of people and the way things are. Along with the world, Sanderson is also know for his elaborate and original magic systems. In Mistborn, the swallowing of a little flake of a certain metal gives way to some powers that allowed certain scenes in the book to take my breath away. The magic isn’t all that complicated, but the execution is just wonderfully mesmerising.
execution is just wonderfully mesmerising.
As the plot enfolds and the group struggles to reach their destination, you get confronted with a lot of full on action, but some subtle intrigue at court as well. I especially loved the court infiltration and the kind of heist they pulled off to get close to the nobility. Those scenes were pure blis to read! All in all a very balanced book when upon nearing the end, everything starts taking on epic proportions and the actual ending is simply stunning. It was exciting, thrilling and everything you can imagine. This first of three ends on a satisfactory moment in the story, without feeling too abrupt, but leaving enough questions unanswered to make you want to read the next book.
A novel of proportions like The Final Empire can’t stand on solely a good plot and excellent worldbuilding; it needs strong characters as well to move the plot along and to inhabit the world so wonderfully created. The gang that’s set on overthrowing the Final Empire is everything I could have wished for as far as the characters are concerned. The main protagonist, Vin, is an excellent choice to build the story around, for when we meet her, she is still young and has a lot of growth and depth ahead of her. In this she is aided by a very diverse set of characters, each with their own unique personalities, all centred around the charismatic Kelsier who’s the brains of all the scheming and plotting going on here.
the brains of all the scheming and plotting
Apart from these characters at the core of things, the side characters are engaging as well and not solely to fill the place up. The mysterious Kandra and terrifying Inquisitors are a very nice addition to the set of humans walking in the Empire and provide some great moments as well.
It is implied in the fact that I mentioned certain scenes were “thrilling”, “mesmerising” or “exciting”, but the writing was pretty wonderful as well. Sanderson knows his craft and he’s a master at evoking the right emotional ad/or guttural response that the scene in question requires. It’s a big book, but Sanderson’s fluent prose takes you swiftly through the story and leaves you gasping for breath, wanting more.

If it wasn’t already clear after Warbreaker, The Final Empire really convinced me of the fact that Brandon Sanderson is an absolutely incredible writer with an imagination so rich that it just blows your mind. As a first in a trilogy, the sequels will have a lot to live up to, cause this one is without a doubt one of my favourite novels. To conclude: Oh. My. God.

★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Sail through the sky on this amazing book. Read it here!


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