David's Reviews > Mistborn: The Final Empire

Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson
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's review
Nov 06, 11

bookshelves: sci-fi-fantasy, fiction
Read in November, 2011

I picked this up at an airport on my way back from Chicago. I'd heard it highly recommended, and the airport book store actually had it in stock. And it made what could have been a very long day of travel mishaps into something much more fun.

The book was generally well written and fun to read, but two things really grabbed me:

1. The book is set a millennium after an immortal tyrant ascended to power, and much of what happened is left deliberately vague. Some things are indeed spelled out over the course of the book, but by the end, I was left with lots of unanswered questions, and just enough information to make some guesses at the answers. I thought this was quite well done. And it worked! I'm surely sufficiently sucked in to read the next one when I get the chance.

2. Much has been made of the system of magic in this trilogy, which is based on the "burning" of metals, with different metals associated with different abilities. That would be cute enough, but what really makes this magic system (Allomancey) intriguing is how non-magically Sanderson treats it. For example, one of the abilities is to push things made out of metal; another is to pull on things made out of metal. But users of these abilities can only push or pull things from or to themselves (no tangential motion allowed), and they don't get to ignore the principle of equal and opposite reaction. This is the sort of detail that I usually associate with some of my favorite science fiction: posit one new technology, something with the sorts of details of limits and rules that real technology runs into, and then try to figure out what clever people might do with it. This type of writing is rarer in fantasy, and I very much appreciated it here.
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