First of all, many thanks to Brandon Sanderson for sending me a bound manuscript on his own peso. And signed by the author to boot! He had been trying to get his editor to send me an ARC since February, so that I could review the novel before its release date. For some reason, I never did receive my copy. In the end, Brandon decided to take action, and a package made its way to my mailbox. So Brandon, it means a lot that you'd that for me. I hereby request that authors such as Steven Erikson, R. Scott Bakker, Robert Jordan, George R. R. Martin, Neil Gaiman, Terry Pratchett, Guy Gavriel Kay, Tad Williams, Stephen R. Donaldson, Scott Lynch, Hal Duncan, and every other fantasy writer I admire to follow suit and forward their manuscripts to me!;-)
Elantris made a lot of noise in the fantasy circles last year, and I was curious to see how Sanderson would build on that success. And with the release of Mistborn: The Final Empire, the author now has two good yarns under his belt. He is gradually making a name for himself in the genre.
As was the case with Sanderson's debut, this novel is a character-driven book. I may be wrong, but I believe that characterizations will always be Brandon Sanderson's bread and butter. When I reviewed Elantris, I opined that the author's writing style reminded me of David Eddings and J. V. Jones. Indeed, with lots of humor, lots of bantering and witty dialogues, I feel that Sanderson embodies the qualities that made David Eddings such a well-liked author during the 80s and early 90s.
Having said that, although good the characterizations are occasionally lacking. I found them to be uneven in certain portions of the novel. For the most part, this is not a factor. But I found that certain characters -- Vin, especially -- are too quick to catch on, etc. Things are a little too easy for my taste at times.
The worldbuilding is pretty interesting, even though Sanderson only offers us a glimpse of this new universe. I'm looking forward to the sequels, for it's evident that the author has more than a few surprises up his sleeve. The most fascinating aspect of Mistborn: The Final Empire is it's magical system. Allomancy is truly original and a nice change from traditional sorcery. I won't elaborate on Allomancy, for doing so would spoil the story too much. One thing's for certain, the action scenes are quite a thrill, mostly because Allomancy is so different from what we are accustomed to.
I enjoyed most of the storylines, though a number of clichés take a little something away from the tale. Still, the novel is a fully entertaining read, one that will satisfy plenty of fantasy fans. It's obvious that Brandon Sanderson is maturing as an author, promising more quality reads in the future. Although the first volume of a trilogy, Mistborn: The Final Empire is a more or less self-contained book, which should please readers.
I felt that the ending was kind of rushed, however. Don't get me wrong. The story builds up quite nicely toward a climax that you are eager to reach. But in my opinion, following such a build-up, the plotlines merged too rapidly, making the ending less satisfactory than it should have been.
It surely looks like Brandon Sanderson is on the verge of becoming one of the bright new voices in the fantasy genre. And if this trilogy lives up to expectations, the author will likely attract a growing number of fans. His novels are accessible enough to interest both newcomers and veteran readers.
The final verdict: 7.5/10
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