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Saturday, June 22, 2013

Mists, Metals, and Heists: A Review of Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson

Fiction for Readers

Once, a hero arose to save the world. A young man with a mysterious heritage courageously challenged the darkness that strangled the land.

He failed.

For a thousand years since, the world has been a wasteland of ash and mist ruled by the immortal emperor know as the Lord Ruler. Every revolt has failed miserably.

Yet somehow, hope survives. Hope that dares to dream of ending the empire and even the Lord Rule himself. A new kind of uprising is being planned, one built around the ultimate caper, one that depends on the cunning of a brilliant criminal mastermind and the determination of an unlikely heroine, a street urchin who must learn to master Allomancy, the power of a Mistborn.

Who is it for?

Mistborn is a high fantasy novel that will appeal to both hard fantasy fans and the casual fantasy reader. If you like fresh action, other worlds, magic systems, heists, and characters with personality, this one is for you. 

Though marketed for adults, one of the main characters is a 16-year-old girl, the other, the criminal mastermind, is an adult man, so the novel can capture both teenagers and adults, males and females, people who like intense fight scenes and people who like to dress up to attend political balls and possibly fall in love with a nobleman.

Storyline and Review

I only had to get several pages into the novel to know that I was in the hands of a storytelling master. 

The narrative follows Kelsier, a charismatic, happy madman, who has escaped the clutches of the Lord Ruler (losing his wife in the process) and now plans to overthrow the Lord Ruler himself; and Vin, a poor, young girl who has learned to survive the slums of the criminal world by making herself invisible (figuratively) and trusting no one.

These two characters create a great contrast, and Sanderson gives them wonderful voices, so you know who they are and what they're about almost immediately, and you love them. Several of the main characters have very strong, clear personalities. (Although I have to admit, I had a harder time differentiating some of the more minor characters. )

The world they live on only rains ash, and mysterious mists seep into the streets every night. Society is basically split into two classes: the noblemen and the skaa--the slaves who support the noblemen and the Lord Ruler. Many of the noblemen are Mistings, people who can ingest a specific metal to gain a special ability. Because the noblemen have raped skaa, some of the skaa are Mistings as well.

I have to say that the idea of people swallowing vials of metal that can enable them to influence others' emotions, pull and push on metallic objects without contact (think Magneto, sort of), and even affect time, was awesome! The action scenes Sanderson created with this "magic" were astounding!

The set-up and plot were fresh. How many fantasy stories are there where the main character is pure, a prophecy has been made, and he has to defeat an epic villain? Mistborn turns that expectation upside down. We are in a world where the prophesied "Hero" has already failed, and we're following lovable thieves as they gather underground skaa armies, steal from the emperor, and impostor noblemen. 

The twists in the last third of the book were shocking, amazing, and satisfactory--there is no way anyone can see all of them coming.

If You Read it You Should Know

Mistborn is the first book of a trilogy of trilogies, but, honestly, it can work as a standalone novel, so don't let commitment stop you. Some of the violence is graphic, but I didn't find myself overwhelmed or disgusted. Rape and prostitution are only mentioned; nothing happens on page.

You might find a few things that you think sound weird. Just go with it. It will make sense later. For example, each chapter starts with an excerpt from a journal that seems somewhat disconnected from the story. It's not.

I'm definitely looking forward to reading the rest of the series.

You can read other reviews (over 500 of them) or purchase Mistborn here. It's only $7 for the paperback and $2.99 for the ebook--a total steal.

What are you reading? Have you read Mistborn?

Follower Spotlight

Michael is a friend from college and a fellow writer. He's working on a young adult novel right now. He loves rock climbing, Harry Potter, and Emma Watson. He's a great person to have writing discussions with. (And he also liked Mistborn). Thanks for being awesome Michael!


  1. I'm so glad you finally read this book!

  2. Your review made me want to read this book :) Along with my favorite fantasy-serie of Terry Pratchett's "Disc World", I'm sure this one will be great as a more "darker" fantasy read (as I also love). Seems Awesome :)

    1. It's worth reading and worth the money. I haven't heard of that series, but maybe I will have to check it out.


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