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Book Review: Mistborn

by | Apr 9, 2023 | Book Reviews, Fantasy, Fantasy

Rating: 5/5 stars
Age Rating: 13+

Brandon Sanderson has masterfully carved out his niche in the epic fantasy genre, crafting an entire universe (known as the Cosmere) filled with magic, romance, and adventure. If you’re new to his work, the Mistborn series is a fantastic starting point, with Sanderson recommending it as an excellent introduction for fantasy readers to enter the Cosmere.

Mistborn: The Final Empire, the first mesmerizing installment in the trilogy, transports you to a world brimming with romance, rebellion, and allomancy – a one-of-a-kind magic system that revolves around burning metals.

At the heart of Mistborn lies the enthralling story of Vin, a half-Skaa orphan with a difficult past, who uncovers her hidden powers in a world oppressed by the seemingly invincible Lord Ruler. As Vin learns to trust herself and embrace her newfound abilities, she joins forces with Kelsier, a gifted allomancer and a born leader, to embark on a daring mission to challenge the tyrannical rule and rekindle hope in their world.

Allomancy and the Magic System

Get ready to be captivated by Sanderson’s imaginative magic system – allomancy – a standout feature in the world of epic fantasy. Allomancers possess the rare ability to “burn” specific metals, utilizing their distinct properties to enhance their physical and mental capabilities. This extraordinary power is divided into two categories: Mistings, who can burn a single type of metal, and the much rarer Mistborn, who can burn all known metals, granting them many powers.

Sanderson’s exceptional storytelling skills shine as he weaves allomancy into the heart of the book’s narrative. Each metal offers a unique magical effect, such as enhanced strength, heightened senses, or the ability to influence others’ emotions. As you journey alongside Vin and Kelsier, you’ll be enthralled by the rich tapestry of allomancy and its pivotal role in their world. You’ll find yourself eagerly unraveling the secrets of each metal, understanding its strengths and limitations, and witnessing the awe-inspiring power of the Mistborn.

The Final Empire and World-Building

In The Final Empire, the world has been oppressed for a thousand years by the Lord Ruler, a dark lord who wields absolute power and governs with an iron fist. The society within this world is split into two primary factions: the Great Houses, who pledge their allegiance to the Lord Ruler, and the skaa, a downtrodden slave class devoid of rights or freedom.

Sanderson masterfully crafts a vivid and immersive environment that showcases a society teetering on the edge of rebellion. The dark, oppressive atmosphere permeates every aspect of life in the Final Empire, providing a rich and captivating backdrop for the story to unfold.

As the tale progresses, the reader is exposed to the intricate dynamics between the Great Houses as they constantly vie for power and influence. Meanwhile, the skaa population toils away, their resilience and determination simmering beneath the surface, ready to ignite a revolution. Through Vin and Kelsier’s journey, we are given a unique lens into this complex world, allowing us to witness firsthand the struggles and triumphs of the characters as they navigate the treacherous landscape of politics, power, and betrayal.

Characters Development

Mistborn has a colorful cast of incredibly well-developed and diverse characters, each on a heartwarming and transformative journey. We’re invited to accompany Vin on her journey, witnessing her inspiring character arc as she transforms from a mistrustful and fearful girl into a strong, empowered woman ready to challenge the forces that seek to control her destiny.

Alongside Vin is Kelsier, a charismatic leader and survivor of the dreaded Pits of Hathsin. As Vin’s mentor, Kelsier guides her in the intricate ways of allomancy, playing a pivotal role in her growth. Kelsier’s character arc underscores the importance of hope and belief in a cause as he tirelessly works to inspire and unite others in their quest to overthrow the oppressive Lord Ruler.

Adding depth and richness to the story are the unique personalities and talents of Kelsier’s team members. We’re given the opportunity to witness their character arcs as they face their challenges, learn to trust one another, and ultimately come together as a formidable force for change.

Photo of Mistborn on wooden circle with plant and coffee

Great Houses and the Final Empire

The Great Houses form the political and social backbone that shapes the landscape of the Final Empire. These powerful and influential houses are locked in a constant struggle for supremacy, vying for control over the oppressed skaa population and the precious resources of their world. As you immerse yourself in the story, you’ll uncover a complex web of relationships, alliances, and betrayals among the Great Houses, adding a rich layer of depth and intrigue to the tale.

In this treacherous world, you’ll follow the characters as they navigate the dangerous waters of politics and power, each driven by their motivations and desires. The oppressive regime of the Final Empire catalyzes Kelsier and his team’s rebellion, igniting a flame of resistance and revolution that sets the stage for an enthralling adventure.

As you journey alongside Vin, Kelsier, and their allies, you’ll experience firsthand the challenges they face in their quest to dismantle the oppressive structures of the Final Empire. You’ll be swept up in the tide of change as they fight for justice, freedom, and a better world for all. With each page turned, Mistborn: The Final Empire will draw you deeper into its captivating tale of courage, love, and hope, leaving you breathless and craving more.


I’m always drawn to romantic subplots in fantasy novels, as they provide a captivating balance amidst strategic maneuvering, intense battles, and conflict. The blossoming love amid turmoil offers a glimmer of hope and a touch of lightness.

In Mistborn, Vin finds herself in an enthralling enemies-to-lovers situation, engaging in a compelling will-they-won’t-they romance with the heir to one of the Great Houses. As their tender connection develops organically, we become utterly invested in their intertwined fates.

This heartwarming romance adds a layer of emotional depth to the epic fantasy, ensuring that Mistborn delivers a rich, multi-faceted reading experience. Sanderson expertly balances high-stakes action, gripping plot twists, and the warmth of human connection, crafting a tale that resonates with readers long after the final page is turned. The passion and vulnerability shared between Vin and her love interest stand as a testament to the enduring power of love, even in a world shrouded in darkness and danger.


Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson is a spellbinding epic fantasy novel that beautifully weaves together romance, magic, and rebellion in a world where allomancy and burning metals reign supreme. Brandon Sanderson’s masterful world-building, unforgettable characters and one-of-a-kind magic system make this a must-read for fans of the genre.

As the captivating first installment in the series, it sets the stage for a breathtaking journey through a world brimming with adventure and mystery. Whether you’re a seasoned devotee of epic fantasy or just beginning to explore the genre, Mistborn: The Final Empire promises to be a literary experience you’ll cherish and won’t want to put down.

If you found this review helpful, you can check out the book at Bookshop.org here and support local bookstores along the way!