[Name Redacted]'s Reviews > Mistborn: The Final Empire

Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson
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Nov 23, 11

bookshelves: post-quals, dark-fantasy, mystery, philosophy, politics, romance, religion, society, war
Read from October 08 to November 23, 2011 — I own a copy

UPDATE 1: I'd been meaning to look into this for a while now, but my friend insisted that I read it as soon as I finished my qualifying exam gauntlet. I have finally begun doing so! I'm about 100 pages in, and I have a number of thoughts on the book. First, the setting and the "magic" system are both fascinating! Second, the writing is...unremarkable. This isn't a bad thing, because it means I am focusing more on the plot and the characters, and it means Sanderson isn't resorting to elaborate language (which most writers cannot do without sounding overblown or clumsy). Sanderson is an author you aren't really aware of, because his actual writing isn't very memorable; I think that almost makes this book less "epic fantasy" and more "pulp". And i love me some good pulp! More thoughts to come...

UPDATE 2: I admire Sanderson's decision to have his characters speak in a modern American vernacular. He makes no attempt to have them speak in an "old-timey" dialect or throw in any unique curses (aside from the occasional "by the Lord Ruler"). It's a brave choice, perhaps because he knows he cannot pull it off consistently, but perhaps instead because he wants to maintain a sense of normalcy. It keeps the reader from feeling too distant from the characters and the world. The problem is, however, that it also keeps the world from feeling as alien as it truly should be to the reader -- though, again, that might be a conscious decision, grounded in a desire to have us feel about the world the way the characters do. Hmmm...

UPDATE 3: A lot of what Sanderson seems to be doing involves subverting common fantasy tropes. He doesn't subvert all of them, of course - the character Vin feels like she could be transplanted into just about any YA novel involving spunky girls who learn to love. But the ones he does subvert are delightful. The world is a post-apocalyptic wasteland precisely BECAUSE the prophesied hero of yore won; the organized rebellion is really just a way for the oppressed to vent their spleens, and is a horrible failure in which nobody really expects to win; the magic functions more or less the way Arthur C. Clarke described sufficiently-advanced technology; the stereotypical ballroom intrigue and snappy banter never reach our ears (eyes?) because the character listening to it doesn't care about it; and in a BOOK about a world in which loss of ancient knowledge is repeatedly eulogized and censorship abounds, the main POV character hates reading.

UPDATE 4: Finished the book! It's good, and the final 100 pages had some serious surprises (though i saw a few of them coming). I still dislike the character of Vin, and the shift of focus to all-Vin-all-the-time started wearing on me. I'll definitely read the next book in the series; I appreciate that Sanderson didn't tie up all the loose-ends and story threads, which he could easily have done through exposition...
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