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Review: The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson


A thousand years ago evil came to the land. A dark lord rules through the aristocratic families and ordinary folk labor as slaves in volcanic ash fields. A troublemaker arrives. A rumored revolt depends on an untrustworthy criminal and a young girl who must master Allomancy, metal magic.

My thoughts

People are always complaining about insta-love in books. But let me tell you: it happens in real life! I for one fell instantly in love with this book, with Brandon Sanderson’s writing, with this world he created and with all these wonderful characters. Only a few pages in and I already knew that I was in love with this book and had to get the other books in the series. It is that good.

Things that turned me into a total fangirl

The setting/worldbuilding

As always with High Fantasy books this story takes place in a made up world. And I liked this one a lot. It has this feeling of a dystopian as well as a postapocalyptic world. On the one hand there is this dark and frightening ruler, people being slaves and of course small groups of rebels who want to change the current regime. On the other hand there are the current conditions of this empire. Most people don’t even know about flowers anymore and it is constantly raining ash.
As a fan of rather dark stories I loved how this world seems so hopeless, depressing and grim. but on the same time there are people who are still able to laugh and won’t give up hope.

The magic system

I’m usually not a fan of books with people doing magic (Harry Potter being an exception of course) but it looks like I just needed to find the right kind of magic, an epic new system like Brandon’s Allomancy. This system he created is damn amazing. It’s so detailed that the book has a chart and a list of terms in the back. With me being completely fascinated and graving every detail about this system I didn’t need those though.
These people do not just have the power to do some magic. They need to burn different metals with their mind to be able to do different kind of things. And these different powers were totally amazing, made for some epic fights and were just pure fun to read about.
And it’s not only these powers and how they accomplish them. There is so much more surrounding all this, details you get to discover while reading.


I love reading a story from different kind of views but Brandon Sanderson took it to a whole new level. He wrote both from adults’ and a young adult’s point of view. Especially the two main POVs differentiate a lot.
On the one hand there is Vin, a young girl who trusts no one and lives a pretty shitty life. It’s interesting to read about her development of building trust and finding friends in this messed up world. She always made me think of Arya (A Song of Ice and Fire series) in being a strong female character.
On the other hand there is Kelsier, a character I instantly fell in love with. He is one of those who won’t give up hope and amde me laugh out loud again and again.

The characters

The book is mostly about a group of thieves and I loved every single person of this little group. Each one is unique in his/her own way and I loved how they all interacted. Even living in this dark, grim world they were always able to make me smile but also fear constantly for their lives. It was fun to slowly get to know each of them and their background stories. And again it didn’t take long for me to fall in love with each of them.

The bad guy

This book has the most interesting way of letting you get to know the bad guy. If you can even call it that. What makes this one so creepy and frightening is mostly because he is so mysterious. We, as the characters themselves, know near to nothing about him. We don’t get a lot of details about him and his past. You can never be sure that the ones you get are even true. On the one hand he is always present as their one big enemy but on the other hand it sometimes feels like he isn’t even real and just a myth.

Action packed moments

With over 600 pages it’s not an action packed story and it’s rather slow paced sometimes. But Brandon Sanderson knows what he’s doing. There are some pretty thrilling moments which made me fear for the characters’ lives. These are sometimes short-living but with the kind of powers these characters have they were so fascinating to read about, they were like accidents where you can’t stop looking.

The end

On the one hand I was really angry with one character at the end and the consequences I will get to read about in the next books. On the other hand I was impressed with this epic twist and how suddenly everything came together and weird plans suddenly made sense.
I liked how Brandon Sanderson sums everything up and doesn’t leave us hanging with an evil cliffhanger. I still wanted to read the second book right away though, just not out of pure curiosity.


There was not even the tiniest thing that bothered me while reading this book. I could understand that some people think it’s boring because with taking place over a whole year it’s sometimes slow paced. But that was fine with me and there were too many interesting things to read about and the characters to much fun to ever be bored.

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  • God, I’m getting really curious about this author. You’re awful. *lol* I felt very tempted to buy “Steelheart” the other day in Berlin. The plot sounds great, too.
    And I feel unsure if the Mistborn series will be something for me. I have not made too many experiences with High Fantasy and I am just afraid this whole world could overwelm me. After all, I read your entire review – so really cool written btw. – and really felt your excitment about it in every sentence.

    • I want Steelheart SOOO BAD! But I want to wait until September to buy it when the PB edition with the white cover comes out. That one will match my Mistborn books. Not sure if I can wait that long though :D

      • It’ll be white either? Cool. Maybe I’ll wait then.
        Saw the normal Mistborn Trilogy in the store and it just doesn’t look good at all. The white books are pure eyecandy. *.*

  • I can only repeat myself: wait until the end of the third part: D But the second book is also very great. I liked especially the transformation of one of the characters.

    Since you adore Kelsier i ought to think you would like Kaladin out “The Way of Kings”.

  • Another blogger I know just read this and loved it too. Wonderful review. This is a book I need to get my hands on soon. Probably after I finish A Dance with Dragons. I can only do one high fantasy series at a time. :)

  • Crini, I hate you! Argh, now I want to read it, like, RIGHT NOW! And it’s standing right next to me. But I can’t, I just can’t, because of this stupid bachelor thesis … kill me now! It sounds sooo intriguing and your review made me crave it so much.

    • Then better wait until you’re done with your thesis so that you can read all three of them!

  • Great, my wishlist will become smaller if everybody constantly review and praises so interesting books… This sounds really fascinating. But like Ellis I am/should be writing a theisis right now, so waiting seems the more reasonable alternative *sigh*

  • Ich komm mir jetzt ein wenig blöd vor auf deutsch zu schreiben, aber naja…^^ Da kam ja endlich deine Rezension und ich muss sagen, das Buch klingt wirklich gut! Allein das Cover ist ja schon grandios! Allerdings sind 600 Seiten (allein für Band 1) schon wieder ne ganze Menge Holz, vor allem auf englisch für jemand der relativ wenig englisch liest, daher wird sich der Kauf noch ein wenig hinziehen… Aber ich bin mir ziemlich sicher, dass ich mir die Trilogie auch noch zu Gemüte führen werde, vorallem da sie ja schon abgeschlossen ist und man eben nicht noch auf weitere Teile warten muss!
    Crini, ich hoffe du enttäuschst mich nicht und ich bereue es dann irgendwann nicht auf deine hinreißende Rezension reingefallen zu sein ;-)

  • I can’t stop smiling!!! I get that way when I see great reviews of this series – it is, hands down, my all-time favorite. You covered all the good things about book 1 so thoroughly – the POV’s are handled excellently, the characters are FANTASTIC, the magic system is so intriguing and original. My absolute favorite thing about the series is the characters, though. They are just beyond compare, for me. Especially in the second book (which is less action-packed than the first), the story really relies on the characters, and I just love them so much!

    Really excellent review, And I’ll be really excited to hear what you think of the end of the third book, when you get to that one eventually… It is SO intense!!)

Jan 06, 2014