The Final Empire

The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson – exceptional fantasy with innovative magical system

The Final Empire is an exceptional fantasy novel by Brandon Sanderson. It features a richly complex world and a uniquely innovative magical system.

I buddy read this with Toni@Readingtonic

The Final Empire

The Final Empire (The Mistborn Saga #1) by Brandon Sanderson

Publication Date : October 1, 2009 (First published July 17, 2006)

Publisher : Gollancz

Read Date : June 1, 2024

Genre : Fantasy

Pages : 672

Source : Own

Rating: 5 out of 5.


The mists rule the night…
The lord ruler owns the world.

For a thousand years the ash fell.
For a thousand years, the Skaa slaved in misery and lived in fear. For a thousand years, the Lord Ruler reigned with absolute power and ultimate terror, divinely invincible. Every attempted revolt has failed miserably.

Yet somehow hope survives.
A new kind of uprising is being planned, one that depends on the cunning of a brilliant criminal mastermind and the courage of an unlikely heroine, a Skaa street urchin, who must learn to master Allomancy, the power of a mistborn.

What if the prophesied hero had failed to defeat the Dark Lord? The answer will be found in the Mistborn trilogy, a saga of surprises that begins here.


A world where ashes have fallen from the sky for 1000 years, the sun is a distant memory, and life is a relentless grind of slavery and drudgery. This is the world under the rule of The Lord Ruler, a tyrant who is believed to be immortal and a god who ruled over The Final Empire for 1000 years. In this oppressive society, people don’t dare to lift their heads, fight for their rights, or even dream of freedom.

But everything changes when Kelsier, a legendary thief who survived an encounter with The Lord Ruler, decides to attempt the impossible: to ignite a rebellion and overthrow the Lord Ruler and end his rule over The Final Empire.

Given the book’s popularity and the compelling introduction to its world in the first few chapters, I had high hopes. I’m extremely pleased to say that the book lived up to its promise, delivering a thrilling and satisfying read.

World of The Final Empire

The world-building and plot are the highlights of this book. While it may lack the emotional depth often found in fantasy novels by female authors, it more than compensates with an incredible world, thrilling action sequences, and a series of surprising twists.

World of The Final Empire is divided into two factions: the nobility, who are close to The Lord Ruler, and the Skaa, slaves who are ruled by the nobility. Technically, all Skaa are owned by The Lord Ruler, who lends them to the nobility in exchange for taxes from the produce of plantations and mills.

But there are also Skaa who rebel—some do so quietly by gathering groups from plantations, while others live underground as thieves and thugs, scamming the nobility. The main characters, Vin and Kelsier, and their team fall into the latter category. Vin and Kelsier are Allomancers (Mistborn), while the rest of their team are Mistings.

The magical system based on using metals called ‘Allomancy’ is fascinating. There are four base metals and its alloys and those who can use all metals and their alloys are called Allomancers while Misting can use only one base metal and its alloy. The detailed descriptions of how they gain their powers, how they use metals, and what each metal does are outstanding.

To make it easier to follow the battle scenes filled with characters using their Allomantic powers, Toni and I used a table to keep track –

table of allomantic metals and its power

Divided into five parts, the author plunges readers into a vast, complicated, and gloomy world. The story gradually and seamlessly introduces Allomancy and the complex world, alongside the characters’ ambitious and resilient spirits, their audacious plans and their execution, as well as the action, adventure, and political intrigue.


Vin lived purely on survival instinct in a world that had been cruel to her. She never trusted anyone, never drew attention to herself, and kept a low profile, unaware of her tremendous power until she met Kelsier and his crew.

At the beginning of the book, if someone had told me she would be the one to save everyone and ensure their plans succeeded, I wouldn’t have believed it. However, as the story progressed, she slowly evolved into someone brilliant, smart, quick to learn, and ultimately stronger and more powerful than Kelsier. By the end, she underwent a complete transformation.

What I loved most was her journey of learning to trust Kelsier and his team. She let people in, gave them a chance, and started to believe in Kelsier’s plan, making it her own dream by the end. Yet, it was also clear how young and somewhat naive she was about the nobility and their lifestyle. Like Kelsier, I worried for her innocent heart.

And yet, Vin showed Kelsier that she wasn’t entirely wrong about the nobility. Having encountered so many bad people, she could easily recognize the good ones. What surprised me most about her was her immense power and the incredible things she did in the end.

As for Kelsier, he is as audacious as his plan, and full of surprises throughout the book. He is strong, passionate, and awe-inspiring.

Along with Vin and his crew, I also had doubts about his motives. It was easy to believe he was doing all this to become rich and powerful—I even thought he might take the Lord Ruler’s place by the end—but I was so wrong! His motives, though a bit skewed, were pure. His compassion is genuine, and he truly cared for people, his team, and Vin. What he actually planned, which he never revealed until after the climax, was the most shocking and crazy twist.

I enjoyed reading about the secondary characters, especially Kelsier’s crew. They were wonderful and had their own little stories, though the author kept them out of focus.

Breeze was impressive with his soother power. It was fascinating to see him work and I enjoyed how he made the heavy and gloomy world a bit lighter with his flippant and lordly nature. Marsh, Kelsier’s brother, was a Seeker. He was the opposite of Kelsier, and their plans and methods never aligned, but their sibling bond was strong.

Clubs (a Smoker) and his nephew Spook (a Tineye) were mostly serious. Ham (a Thug) and his philosophy always gave something to ponder over. Dockson, though he had no powers, was crucial in handling everything in the background, from getting supplies to keeping track of their plans and money.

I liked Sazed the most. His abilities as a Keeper are impressive. He is caring and loyal, and his powers were mysterious for the first half of the book. When revealed, he and his abilities turned out to be the most interesting. I also enjoyed reading about Feruchemy, how it worked, and how it differed from Allomancy. Sazed’s knowledge of different religions was also fascinating.

The Lord Ruler is the most intimidating antagonist I have encountered so far. He was so powerful that I doubted they could ever overthrow him. His minions, the Inquisitors, were equally terrifying. Their tortures and killings were heartbreaking. They deserved what came to them in the end, but there are still more questions and more to learn about the world, which I can’t wait to explore in the next books.

Overall, The Final Empire is an engrossing and exceptional fantasy, featuring a richly complex world and a uniquely innovative magical system.

Goodreads | | |

My Favorite Quotes

“Belief isn’t simply a thing for fair times and bright days…What is belief – what is faith – if you don’t continue in it after failure?…Anyone can believe in someone, or something that always succeeds…But failure…ah, now, that is hard to believe in, certainly and truly. Difficult enough to have value. Sometimes we just have to wait long enough…then we find out why exactly it was that we kept believing…There’s always another secret.”

“I’ve always been very confident in my immaturity.”

“Our belief is often strongest when it should be weakest. That is the nature of hope.”

“do you stop loving someone just because they betray you? I don’t think so. That’s what makes the betrayal hurt so much – pain, frustration, anger… and I still loved her. I still do.”

“I think given the choice between loving Mare – betrayal included – and never knowing her, I’d chose love. I risked, and I lost, but the risk was still worth it.”

“What is it that you believe?”
Vin frowned. “What kind of question is that?”
“The most important kind, I think.”

“Marsh: Our best efforts were never even a mild annoyance to the Lord Ruler.”
Kelsier: Ah, but being an annoyance is something that I am very good at. In fact, I’m far more than just a ‘mild’ annoyance–people tell me I can be downright frustrating. Might as well use this talent for the cause of good, eh?”

“The right belief is like a good cloak, I think. If it fits you well, it keeps you warm and safe. The wrong fit however, can suffocate.”

“That’s kind of what trust is, isn’t it? A willful self-delusion.”

“You ask why I smile. Well, the Lord Ruler thinks he has claimed laughter and joy for himself. I’m disinclined to let him do so. This is one battle that doesn’t take very much effort to fight.”

“He smiled despite the grief he felt at the deaths of his men; he smiled because that was what he did. That was how he proved to the Lord Ruler-and to himself-that he wasn’t beaten.”

“I am the one thing you can never kill. I am Hope.”

The Final Empire is an exceptional fantasy novel by Brandon Sanderson. It features a richly complex world and a uniquely innovative magical system. #TheFinalEmpire #epicfantasy . Check out full review –> Share on X
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Hi, I'm Yesha, an Indian book blogger. Avid and eclectic reader who loves to read with a cup of tea. Not born reader but I don't think I’m going to stop reading books in this life. “You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me.”

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