A Novel That Believes in Hope and in Fighting for a Better Life
Mistborn: The Final Empire, by Brandon Sanderson
by Angus Fraser-Brown
"But you can't kill me, Lord Tyrant. I represent that one thing you've never been able to kill, no matter how hard you try. I am hope."
Set in the bleak, dark and brutal underworld of the Final Empire, two people alike in beliefs, but different in upbringings, are brought together by a desire for change. Vin is a strong willed young girl who has lived a tough life and is "manipulated" into joining the revolt by a mysterious man named Kelsier. He discovers Vin using a form of magic that she is not fully aware of. It is soon revealed that Kelsier is the leader of a "thieving crew" who are in fact, political rebels, attempting to bring down "The Final Empire" and its Lord Ruler who is a terrible tyrant. By joining the group, Vin has entered a world of magic and rebellion. Vin is an Awakened Mistborn: an ancient, feared being that is able to produce enormous amounts of power by consuming different metals. The members of the thieving crew are "mistings" which means they are able to consume one kind of metal which categorizes them. Vin goes undercover, discovers crucial information and with her magical powers fully awakened, she takes on a major role in the rebellion.
Brandon Sanderson has a very strange way of explaining. Every sentence is packed full of imagery and the sentences are highly descriptive. You might even say his sentences are illogical. They are circular and complex. At times, as the story unfolds, he conveys action with shorter, more intense sentences, but even then they are full of detail. When characters speak, the syntax reflects their underworld, the slums beneath the kingdom. So although the rebels are magical, the way they speak is rough, full of slang and curses. Sanderson makes it seem authentic and uses natural syntax to make their speech realistic and believable.
The mood of the novel is dark. The descriptors convey that the protagonists feel oppressed, doomed, because their lives are miserable and desperate. They live in slum-like conditions so that the mood is very bleak and depressing. This dark and dreary opening slowly gives way to a lighter mood as the protagonists are rebels who begin to fight for freedom and equality. Light enters into their dark world as they battle to overthrow the evil "dick" tator who rules over them. The back and forth between the thieving crew who are rebelling is oftentimes really funny. Sanderson uses teasing and comedy as if these desperate rebels are a big family who know each other well enough to joke. They have made the best of a terrible existence and have kept hope alive that they will triumph over their tyrant.
The book's personality could best be described as medieval and the beginning of the Renaissance. It evokes a time from the past that is changing from a primitive era with ancient technology and a strict feudal oppression to an era where "new" technology such as lamps and furnaces symbolizes a rebirth into a time when there will be more equality and a better future.
I would definitely recommend this novel for readers who are interested in the fantasy genre. It is an exciting, action-filled story, but it is made more interesting because of the layer of politics. You become very attached to the characters because they are so truly drawn. There is a lot of depth in this story in terms of characters, the setting, and the rebellion itself. The author put a lot of thought into the creation of the rebellion so that it is an interesting exploration of power and greed. Mistborn: The Final Empire also ends with an ending that makes you want to keep reading and never have it stop. Luckily, there are more in the series.