Hey there! It’s Sabrina and today I’m bringing you a review that has been a long time coming – I originally planned to read this book back in 2015! When I mentioned this in a post last year, the lovely Olivia-Savannah (check out her blog and booktube) was kind enough to suggest buddy reading it with me – and then had the patience to wait many, many months for me to get my hands on the book. And that book was, as you can tell by the title of this post, The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson. I had such a great experience discussing it with Olivia, and today I’m going to share all my (spoiler-free) thoughts about the book with you 🙂
“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.”
The Final Empire, as I’ve already mentioned, is a book that has been on my radar for a very long while. It was recommended to me frequently, both online and offline, so in the beginning, my expectations for it were quite high and I put off reading it because I felt so much pressure to love it. Fortunately, over time my expectations dissipated and I realised I could go into this book and just hope for the best.
The first thing that became clear to me about this novel is that the author had put a great deal of thought into the world. As a result, the stand out of the book for me was definitely the world building. Allomancy, magic that comes from “burning” metals, was extremely well developed and so was the history and political structure of this world.
I loved that there were so many intricate details of how allomancy works and how Mistborns use it, which were truly fascinating to learn and read about. This was especially interesting to me in the several fight scenes between Mistborns and other characters! I loved the precision used to describe what moves the characters were making and how they were making them. You could really see and understand the characters’ thought processes while they were fighting which, again, was fascinating.
There is quite a large cast of characters in this story, but sadly I did feel that only a few of them were well developed, and due to this I didn’t find a strong emotional connection with any of them. Don’t get me wrong, I definitely liked most of the characters, but there was no intensity of feeling like I have with many of my favourite books. I really wish the book had spent more time with some of the side characters because I know I could have loved them if I’d had more chances to get to know them – maybe in future instalments of the series.
I also have to give credit to the author for clear and neat character arcs – especially for the two main characters, Vin and Kelsier. It was nice to see the way they both changed over the course of the narrative.
However I do have to say that, related to this, there was a romance in the book that I didn’t end up enjoying because of what it did to one of the characters’ personalities and… their level of intelligence. I did not feel there was enough chemistry or time shared between these two characters for the extent of the romance to feel realistic and it made me roll my eyes constantly when it reared its annoying head!
PLOT & PACING
Ultimately, the pacing was an issue for me as well. It’s tricky, because I understand that there needs to be lulls in the action, but I got tired of these lulls pretty quickly, especially because of both the general and the specific way the plot was going. Of course I can’t tell you the specific way because of spoilers but I can sort of explain the general: it seemed, to me, to unfold in a very organised manner – there would be a large dose of world building and reflection from the characters then a small dose of action and then repeat, repeat, repeat. I’m sure the pacing wouldn’t be a problem for everyone but it didn’t work completely for me, exacerbated by the fact that I wasn’t fully in love with the characters or enchanted by the writing style (which was fairly bland, but still effective).
Still, I will say that though the plot felt quite formulaic and I predicted some things, there were enough twists in there (including some really good ones that I didn’t see coming at all though I should have!) to keep me interested. Plus, I did feel invested in the characters’ main goals, so I wanted to see if they achieved them. And thanks to the fact that you could, if you wanted, read this book as a standalone, I did get to see the resolution.
Another big highlight of the book for me was the last several chapters where everything really came together. I loved reading the resolutions, all the twists and the action scenes – in that order! I really appreciated that the whole ending made sense because of all the work the author had put into explaining the world in detail throughout the rest of the book.
Overall, I enjoyed this book even though I didn’t love it. I would particularly recommend it to people who are new to adult fantasy and anyone who loves well developed magic systems.
What do you think?
Have you read The Final Empire? What did you think of it? What’s a book with amazing world building that you love?