Exceptional and always expanding world building (seriously, even in the last pages), well developed characters that you always associate with their feelings, decisions & actions, and one of the most balanced and well explained magic systems (You are either gifted with "magic", or you are not. You can either use 1 of the 12 "magic elements", or all of them.).
"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 do have to clarify though, that The Final Empire is NOT the best fantasy book i have read, and Sanderson is NOT the best fantasy writer i have learned about. The story (and the writer) is good, but not perfect. There are a lot of missing elements in the story. Not enough to lower the rating, but neither enough to make it a favorite.
The story is standing great as a stand alone book, and i'm not sure why he didn't leave it there. [Spoiler: Both the awesome protagonist, and the powerful villain are dead. The whole plot line is pretty much finished.] I'm not sure if i want to read the next installments, or if i will actually enjoy them. I'm sure that a lot of you guys have different opinions, and i would love to read them, so feel free to comment.