Rating: 5/5 stars
Re-reads are a tough decision. There is a high chance you won't find the book as good as you thought it was all those years ago, that you will be disappointed and left with a bitter taste in your mouth, that the glass tower that protects your relationship with said book will be shattered. Re-reads can be intimidating. But that was not the case with The Final Empire. Although it sounds improbable, I appreciated it even more the second time around.
He was supposed to save them.
He was the Hero to kill the mysterious force known as the Deepness. But instead of saving mankind, He became its greatest oppressor. The Lord Ruler founded the Final Empire, dividing the population between nobles and skaa. He created the Steel Inquisitors, terrifying beings that instill His will and kill with no reservations. He destroyed what was beautiful and pure.
Dust and ash were falling from the sky.
For a thousand years, His rule was firm. Any attempts at resistance were drowned in blood. The skaa were slaves, they were beaten, raped, murdered like animals, while the nobles fought their petty wars for power.
They came with the mist.
Allomancy, the inherent ability that allows the Allomancer to burn specific metals, offering powers that can enhance physical and mental capacities, was considered a privilege belonging to nobility. But mistakes happen. Vin, the steet rat, is one of them. Her life consisted of stealing and hiding, until she crossed paths with an elite group of outlaws who were hired by the Resistance with one purpose: overthrow the Final Empire. With arrogant and reckless Kelsier as their leader, this bizarre gang adopts Vin, showing her a world where friendship is a reality and not an illusion, where her opinion matters, where she matters. And Kelsier teaches her how to harvest her powers. How to be a Mistborn.
“There's always another secret.”
The Final Empire is an outstanding work of a master storyteller; in this epic saga of betrayal, intrigue, resistance and survival, Brandon Sanderson, like a Tineye, increases the physical senses: in filthy, dim-lit alleys, you smell the despair, you hear the moans, you see the wretchedness, while in majestic ballrooms, you smell the perfumed bodies, you hear the gossip, you see the extravagant beauty that ignores the suffering that unfolds right outside. Like a Rioter, he enflames emotions: fear, worry, disgust, bravery, love, hope, utter, devastating heartache. With the mists engulfing your body, and the ash covering your clothes, you become a part of this ingenious, widely imaginative and strangely emotional story, and you realize with awe and admiration that Brandon Sanderson is the Lord Ruler of Fantasy.
“But you can't kill me, Lord Tyrant. I represent that one thing you've never been able to kill, no matter how hard you try. I am hope.”
Alternating between the headquarters of the gang, the skaa slums and the luscious estates of the noble houses, the setting was dreary and colourful at the same time. There was a delicate balance between the two worlds, and just like Vin, you tiptoed around them both, without belonging to one of them exclusively. The storyline was full of plans, plots, schemes, secrets and blood; while Brandon Sanderson excelled at one of my favorite plot devices, the infiltrate-the-ranks-of-nobility one, I was also highly invested in Vin's training, the espionage and the murders, the success and failures of the rebels. I was there the whole time, rooting, cheering.
The depiction of the most intricate and creative magic system I have ever encountered was, as expected, meticulous; the rules and restrictions of Allomancy, the dreadful order of the Inquisitors, the origins of the Lord Ruler, while they seemed confusing, they were elaborately crafted. But even though one would expect that the magic system would be the scene stealer, there was another force to be reckoned: the characters and their dynamics.
“Our best efforts were never even a mild annoyance to the Lord Ruler.”
“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?”
Kelsier, Vin, Ham, Breeze, Marsh, Dockson, they fit together like the pieces of a puzzle. Each of them added something different to the team, they complemented each other, frustrated each other, doubted each other, but they were a family nonetheless; a funny, loud, devoted family. Kelsier and his genious-borderline-crazy-and-suicidal-plans was the glue that brought them together, the fuel that kept them going. His humor, his arrogance, his hatred, his recklessness and his deep belief that he could change the world when everyone else had failed, marked him as one of the most exceptional characters out there; the way he cracked Vin's walls, the way he taught her not only Allomancy but also how to trust people and care for them was heartwarming, infused with mirth and affection. Vin was also extraordinary, her development happened in so many levels, she was multi-layered and accepted the different aspects of herself, from the scared girl that was beaten every two nights she became a Mistborn, a lady, a friend and a daughter. And let us not forget how endearing Elend Venture was. I just want to keep him safe and cuddle him for the rest of eternity, he's so precious.
“Our belief is often strongest when it should be weakest. That is the nature of hope.”
Dear reader, I can't recommend The Final Empire highly enough. Please, grab a copy and food supplies for a couple of days, turn off your phone, keep the tissues nearby, and let Kelsier and Vin guide you to the city of Luthadel. Don't be afraid of the mists; just let them in.