Friday, September 27, 2013

Mistborn: The Final Empire

I loved Sanderson's Alcatraz books. Even though I am not a big fan of fantasy, I decided to give this a try. The world is a "post-apocalyptic" world in which plant life is brown and there is a mist that shrouds the world. The people have been segmented into a slave class and a ruling elite. One "immortal" Lord Ruler stands at the head of the world.

And of course, there is some magic. In this case "allomancy", or the ability to do special things with metals. The "mistborn" have the ability to do this with 10 types of metal. Certain metals give certain powers. By pushing and pulling on some metals you can fly. Others give you strength or let you see a little in the future.

The novel centers around Vin, a teenage girl. She is a Skaa (the slave class) but is the daughter of a noble and has their power. She had been working as part of a thieving ring, and became part of a Skaa rebellion being led by Kelsier. She is initially set up to play the roll of a "spy" by taking part in the noble balls. Initially she is disgusted by the noble life, but she gradually begins to like it. In some ways, she is disgusted by the life of idleness that the nobles live. However, she has to admit that the social activities did have their appeal. Her association with the nobles helps her to notice that they are real people. While many of the nobles treat Skaa as animals, some of the nobles are repulsed by the activities.

The Skaa have been slaves for so long that they have lost the will to live on their own. They are used to being slaves, and resigned to the life. Even though they outnumber the nobles, the slaves have been reluctant to rebel.

In her course of spying, she falls in love with the heir to one of the largest "houses" of noblemen. The feelings are mutual. The heir is a bookworm who has sympathy for the slaves. To some of her band, however, he is just another one of the oppressors.

Vin gradually grows up, while also learning how to better use her powers. She helps her team to have some sympathy towards the elite. (Eventually, Kelsier even saves the life of a nobleman.)

In the end, they finally face the Lord Ruler. Vin has a bit of insight along with some luck that enables her to finally defeat him. However, he mentions something at the end about how the world needs him. This leaves the book with a nice, fulfilling ending, but also keeps plenty of space open for a sequel.

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