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The Final Empire

Mistborn Book 1
Written by: Brandon Sanderson
Narrated by: Michael Kramer
Series: Mistborn, Book 1
Length: 24 hrs and 39 mins
5 out of 5 stars (1,005 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Brandon Sanderson, fantasy's newest master tale spinner, author of the acclaimed debut Elantris, dares to turn a genre on its head by asking a simple question: What if the hero of prophecy fails? What kind of world results when the Dark Lord is in charge? The answer will be found in the Mistborn Trilogy, a saga of surprises and magical martial-arts action that begins in Mistborn.

For a thousand years the ash fell and no flowers bloomed. For a thousand years the Skaa slaved in misery and lived in fear. For a thousand years the Lord Ruler, the "Sliver of Infinity," reigned with absolute power and ultimate terror, divinely invincible. Then, when hope was so long lost that not even its memory remained, a terribly scarred, heart-broken half-Skaa rediscovered it in the depths of the Lord Ruler's most hellish prison.

Kelsier "snapped" and found in himself the powers of a Mistborn. A brilliant thief and natural leader, he turned his talents to the ultimate caper, with the Lord Ruler himself as the mark. Kelsier recruited the underworld's elite, the smartest and most trustworthy allomancers, each of whom shares one of his many powers, and all of whom relish a high-stakes challenge. Only then does he reveal his ultimate dream, not just the greatest heist in history, but the downfall of the divine despot. But even with the best criminal crew ever assembled, Kel's plan looks more like the ultimate long shot, until luck brings a ragged girl named Vin into his life.

Like him, she's a half-Skaa orphan, but she's lived a much harsher life. Vin has learned to expect betrayal from everyone she meets, and gotten it. She will have to learn to trust, if Kel is to help her master powers of which she never dreamed.

©2006 Brandon Sanderson (P)2009 Macmillan Audio

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

So close, and yet...

Reads like a writing workshop exercise. You can see the formulae poking through the skin.

Plot is decent, world-building is rather impressive (though the author feels far too pleased with it and takes every spare moment to point it out to you), characters are thin and rote.

Worst sin: the author doesn't trust the reader, and steps out time and again to re-tell things previously told (even just a page before), or _tell_ things already (as in "just! now!") _shown_. Generic example - two characters disagree, and a third, overhearing, gives one of them a look. (So far, so good). Author then spends a few sentences explicitly describing what that look was meant to convey. (Sigh).

Hint: if you're going to "show" us character development, trust us to catch it, otherwise this is just an exercise in insulting your audience's intelligence.

2 people found this helpful

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Brandon Sanderson is amazing

The performance was superb and the book was another amazing example of Sanderson's genius writing. highly recommended!

2 people found this helpful

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overlooking this book is a mist opportunity

amazing book, amazing performance. each character feels so real and the story is incredible. 10/10

2 people found this helpful

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Flawed but entertaining

Imagine Ocean's Eleven set in Mordor. Magic wielding thieves plan an elaborate mission to overthrow their oppressive ruler's regime. Sounds exciting! The only problem is that elaborate missions actually require a lot of planning and preparation, and reading through scenes filled with nothing but brainstorming and troubleshooting can quickly become tiresome. Throw on top of that many scenes of one character's comprehensive training in The Final Empire's complicated magic system and you begin to feel like the world of Mistborn is being tediously explained, rather than shown, to you. Even outside of scenes devoted to lessons or planning sessions, the characters often hold unnatural sounding conversations clearly only meant to explicate some part of the world.

While there are many dramatic and entertaining moments here, and the world and magic system are definitely interesting, there's also just a lot of sloppy writing on Sanderson's part. He often shows rather than tells. He doesn't vary his diction enough. His dialogue is often clunky. He's sometimes painfully corny. His characters are often underdeveloped. The list goes on. Even taken as a whole these issues aren't a deal breaker, but it's a shame to see Sanderson's good ideas weighed down by bad execution.

On balance, I did enjoy The Final Empire. Kramer's narration is reliably good and there are enough cool ideas here to sustain an entertaining read. But if you're here because you were drawn in by Sanderson's brilliant Stormlight Archive (as I was) you may leave disappointed.

3 people found this helpful

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Excellent

Can’t wait for more! The voice acting was excellent and just perfect read while I wait on book 4 of the Stormlight Archives.

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HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

Mistborn starts off a little bit slow but the payoff is well worth the patience. The ending is satisfying enough that you don't necessarily have to read the other books; but you're deffinitely going to want to read them. Brandon Sanderson is a masterful storyteller. He has become my favorite author. I cannot recommend his word enough.

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Other writers are toddlers compared to Brandon

This book kept me captivated for all ~25 hours. Best book I've ever listened to. Narrator did an amazing job as well. If you like anything from Brandon Sanderson or any kind of fantasy, this book is a must listen.

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Great Book

I can see the connections between Mistborn and Stormlight. Interesting magic system(s), oppressive regimes, heroes, fantasy, and anime. The way the characters deal with self-doubt, new-found power, and exposition are very reminiscent of anime. And I love it.The fights and magic usage are descriptive and fun to imagine. Michael Kramer is excellent and his impressions give a little life to characters who's dialogue might come out as flat or an info-dump. I just imagine this as an anime series and all the quirks in the words translate very well on screen in my mind. Highly Recommended, can't wait to start the next book!

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Great story. Voices too similar.

This is an excellent story. I’m not much of a fantasy fan, but a friend recommended this book and I’m very happy he did. I read parts and listened to others as was convenient. The only issue I had with the performance was the similarity in the voices of some characters. They could be tricky yo differentiate.

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Excellent

I did not enjoy this at first, I think because when reading a fantasy novel I expect a much deeper world, but by the end I found the world well put together, the characters were deep and engaging, and the story was excellent and well-executed

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  • tercia
  • 2018-10-21

Prepare for sleepless nights

You will feel like you need to pull all-nighters. Your social life will suffer. If you use audio books while at the gym, you'll reach your goal weight as you easily lose track of four hours on a treadmill. You will be tired and dependent on coffee. This was me and it was worth it.

Enter Sanderson's Cosmere at your own risk. I regret nothing.

65 people found this helpful

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  • Mitchell
  • 2018-03-30

2nd to the Storm-light Archives.....

I started the Mistborn series because I read the Stormlight Archives by Sanderson and wanted more epic fantasy. I was a bit skeptical at first because there were so many similarities between styles and even character names between the two-book series.

The Mistborn Trilogy being a predecessor to Stormlight, I thought I might be disappointed… I was wrong.

It's easy to see why Robert Jordan picked Brandon Sanderson to finish his Wheel of Time series. Although I noticed some distinct similarities in characters between Mistborn and Elantris (another great listen by Sanderson), he has so much imagination in how to make a world unique.

This story is not just another dwarves/elves/orcs story line and magic doesn't just "exist". There's a thought process behind where it comes from and how to use it and the dangers and consequences of doing so. I'm already about halfway through the next book in the series, The Well of Ascension, and it's fun to see how Sanderson left threads for the series to follow yet at the end of Mistborn, there didn't feel like there was anything unfinished.

One remarkable thing about this series is how well the history, politics and overall backdrop of this story is explained. Never once was I bored about learning new things about this fascinating, desolate world.

Also unique is that the protagonist of the book is a woman, and Sanderson does a great job of portraying her realistically. Even though she gains enormous power over the course of the narrative, the author does not forget her origins, and her origins continue to define how she reacts to her circumstances throughout the book. In fact, all of the characters, even the minor ones, display realistic motivations for their actions, and come across as very real.

As for Kramer-
Michael Kramer, once again, did an amazing job with the narration. I'm amazed at how he manages to create a voice, tone, and referent emotion for each character. He really brings the characters to life and adds an immeasurable depth the story. He is an incredible performer and his narration here is “still” flawless.

For those familiar with A Game of Thrones (George R.R. Martin) and Wheel of Time (Robert Jordan), Sanderson's style fits comfortably between these two tomes. His story is not as "gritty" and "real" as Martin's series and his story is not as fantastic as Jordan's series. The idea behind the magic system is well-thought out an the characters are easy to like.

My “only” gripe is that I found the writing to be a bit heavy handed at times. For instance, I felt there was a lot of repetition that reminds the reader over & over again about the same character points - ex. I found myself often thinking things like "okay okay x has had a hard life, she doesn't trust easily, alright I get it I get it." It's consequently very easy to read & follow; I think I'd just prefer a style that's a bit more subtle. I think this issue also led me to dislike one of the main characters (Vin) more than I otherwise would have - I found myself more often feeling impatient rather than sympathizing with her when hearing narration about her doubts, fears, etc.

120 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Don Gilbert
  • 2009-11-12

A GREAT TRILOGY!!!

I just finished the third audio book in the "Mistborn" trilogy and wanted to write my review starting with th first to let anyone know who is wondering whether to invest their time in another series to absolutly read this one. This story is epic. Brandon Sanderson writes a classic and was clearly the right pick to finish Jordon's WOT series.
The narration by Michael Kramer is award worthy. He not only gives a distinct and believable voice to each character, he brings them to life.
10 stars

172 people found this helpful

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  • John
  • 2012-02-08

Odd Fantasy Concept

This first volume has a storyline with sort of like a cross between Oceans 11 and Pymalion. While unusual in many respects, it's overall an interesting story. Occasional mis-pronounced words leave you trying to figure out what the narrator just said.

6 people found this helpful

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  • Bronwyn Soell
  • 2012-02-16

Very interesting idea- just didn't take off for me

I liked this book- but I didn't love it. The premise and characters are interesting enough, but it just took a long time to set itself up and I kept waiting for something more to occur. I found the narrator's voice choices to be a little odd- he seemed to insert sort of growling pauses in places where I was not expecting them. But I got used to it and overall he did a good job once I was accustomed to his voice.

I suppose I wanted to just be really CRAZY about this book- many people gave it a very high review. But I just liked it all right. I will probably get the sequel at some point when nothing else I am really waiting for is available. I do want to find out what happens to the characters and see how the world progresses- but I don't feel that burning fever to download the next book right away because I can't wait!- you know what I mean?

The magic in the book has to do with Mistborn who can 'burn' different elements to enhance their natural abilities. There is an upper class and a slave class, and a criminal element who is trying to organize the slave class to revolt and overthrow an overlord who may or may not be an all-powerful God. That is a very brief summary, but gives you the gist of the larger plot.

As I said, this book was a decent listen, but not the best I've ever heard. I was interested enough to give the next one in the series a try- hopefully the pacing and plot will pick up there! A lot of first novels in a series seem weaker than later ones to me. I notice that many reviewers who loved this book are fans of the author, who finished the Wheel of Time series after Robert Jordan the original author died. I was not a big fan of that series either, so maybe that explains why my response to this book wasn't more enthusiastic.

12 people found this helpful

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  • Matthew P McAllister
  • 2019-07-29

I fell asleep, repeatedly.

this is a limited review as I only got four chapters into the book. the story seems ok, and the world looks interesting. the problem is a combination of a bored and monotone narrator, coupled with material that is just not intended as an audiobook. I tend to fly through books, but this one was a real struggle that kept putting me to sleep

7 people found this helpful

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  • Lore
  • 2012-04-09

Book 1 of a great series that is not to be missed!

I knew little of Brandon Sanderson when it was announced that he was selected to finish the Wheel of Time series after the death of Robert Jordan. I decided to check out some of his work to get a feel for his writing before his first Wheel of Time novel was published. What I discovered was that I had been missing out on one of the best Fantasy authors writing today.

Mistborn is an excellent series and I have thoroughly enjoyed every book in the series. I am a big fan of Fantasy and I was completely drawn into Sanderson's world of Allomancers and all of the interesting things they could do right from the start. Michael Kramer does an excellent job of bringing these interesting characters to life so expect this book to grab you from the start and never let go.



106 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
  • H. P. Varia
  • 2009-10-22

very good book

This book has a lot going for it.
1) The world depicted is really very unique. The book depicts the second round in a fight between good vs. evil. In the first round evil had won and 1000 years have passed.
2) There are multiple Magic systems and they are all very interesting
3) Each character feels flushed out in details and many of them are very likeable
4) Lots of Drama, action and mystery

66 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Holly Helscher
  • 2010-02-05

Engaging Read

My first experience with Brandon Sanderson didn't disappoint. The story of the Skaa rebellion, led by Kelsier with serious backup from Vin, the female Mistborn, is entertaining, engaging, and slightly different from other fantasies. At its foundation is good versus evil. And then Sanderson throws in some fantasy, magic, conflict and sprinkles in just a bit of romance. Thieves, Dark Rulers, Obligators, Secret Keepers, and even Inquisitors are supporting characters that keep the plot moving forward without causing confusion to the reader. Kelsier, also known as the legendary Survivor of Hathcin, is a nearly mythical being to the Skaa and he is the mastermind behind the rebellion. But Vin, the newest of his thieving crew who joins their network to infiltrate the nobility, begins to learn she has quite a few Mistborn powers of her own. By the end of this first of three books she becomes legendary in her own right. The book may have benefited from a little additional editing because there is repetition of things the reader knows. We learn how the power of the metals and they work over and over again. We even get a recap of previous action in the book multiple times. It's almost as if Sanderson believes his reader can't remember from one chapter to the next. While this can be somewhat annoying, it doesn't really detract from the overall good plot and well developed characters. There is foreshadowing that is critical to the plot, so the reader has to pay attention. And in fact, some foreshadowing in Book One comes into play in Book Two, The Well of Ascension. But the book keeps the reader pretty riveted, so this isn't too much of a problem. Michael Kramer is an apt reader and once you learn the timbre of his voice, there is no problem differentiating among the characters, including the reading of someone's diary which is inserted between chapters. His pace is good and enunciation excellent. I highly recommend the book.

46 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
  • hate reviewing
  • 2010-02-28

Not bad but

I got this book based on the reviews. I did finish the series but I have to say I am surprised it had such high reviews. I think the series was ok but a pretty dry at times. I didn't like the fact that the characters never seemed to get more developed. I've read a lot of fantasy novels where the characters are pretty shallow in the first book and gradually get better as the story goes on. I did not think this happened in these books and it was pretty disappointing. It wasn't as bad as some and if you're just looking for a decent way to spend a few hours this wasn't bad.

9 people found this helpful

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  • Elena
  • 2019-09-02

Good fantasy, it took me a while to get used to it

Good fantasy, it took me a while to get used to it and love it