Because of some personal stuff that happened right around the time I started this book I found it very difficult to get into and enjoy, so this review may be entirely unfair, I don’t know. I need to reread at some point, I think.
The Final Empire introduces us to a world which has been pretty much enslaved by an oppressive ruler for over a thousand years. Slaves known as ‘skaa’ work on plantations, in cities and mines, basically living the bleakest lives possible. Races have been wiped out in mass genocides, the class divide is completely staggering and the atmosphere of the world these people are living in is ridiculous. For reasons that aren’t really expanded upon, maybe because this is a trilogy, ash falls from the sky near constantly – very few things can grow in such conditions and people just accept that the world is supposed to be cold and grey. Add all this to the Mist that encroaches every night; people won’t go out in it except for that small group known as the Mistborn. In such a hopeless world it is only the Mistborn, and the lesser Mistings, who are adept at living in it – they have special metalbending (I don’t care, this is what I’m calling it) powers that gift them with a vast range of abilities – for example, burning pewter gives a boost of strength.
The main plot of the book follows a group of thieves who band together under the leadership of Kelsier, a Mistborn. They have an audacious plan to overthrow the empire; much of the book follows the progress of their kinda lame plan i.e. Vin, a girl with Mistborn abilties like Kelsier, spends a lot of time attending balls and having a really dumb ~romance with an equally interesting character.
I have some complaints about this book tbh. While there were things I liked there was a lot more that I kept having issues with. I found it hard to even visualise the metalbending that was such an important aspect of the book, and didn’t think enough of the main characters were fleshed out enough because so much of the book focuses on Kelsier and Vin. But I think my biggest problems came from the idea of the rebellion – there is a scene in which Vin tells the group that they can’t imagine what life is like as a skaa because they aren’t skaa. And that is an accurate criticism – none of the members of the group have any strong connection to the rebellion; some of them even point out that they’re just in it for money and glory. I’m sorry but if you want me to believe in this group of people you need to give them stronger convictions; I want something as important as freedom for the oppressed to be more than just a side reward. You also really need at least one character who represents the oppressed – arguably this character is Vin but dear god, the girl is like a walking defense for the Nobility. Because uh, *not all of them are bad, just complicit in the system they hold up and completely removed from the damage said system inflicts on anyone who isn’t in a position of power. Whatever.
Mentioning Elend, he was one of my least favourite characters in the book. Dude is like this ~enlightened noble son trying to rebel against his father by being all ~liberal without any real understanding of what it is he and his friends sit around discussing. Nughhhhh, why would I care at all about the fact that some rich kid thinks slaves should be free. To finish my slight rant that got away from me, I immensely disliked the ending of this book because it perpetuates a system that clearly does not work and hasn’t for a thousand years. Just why? Why would you put the same branch of people in power after all the trouble you’ve gone through to remove that power from them? W h a t is that about, Brandon Sanderson.
In conclusion, I am an angry person who found The Final Empire to be more than a little disappointing.
Page Count: 647