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Publisher's Summary

From number one New York Times best-selling author Brandon Sanderson, the Mistborn series is a heist story of political intrigue and magical, martial-arts action. 

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. 

This saga dares to ask a simple question: What if the hero of prophecy fails?

Other Tor books by Brandon Sanderson

  • The Cosmere
  • The Stormlight Archive
  • The Way of Kings
  • Words of Radiance
  • Edgedancer (Novella)
  • Oathbringer 

The Mistborn trilogy:

  • Mistborn: The Final Empire
  • The Well of Ascension
  • The Hero of Ages

Mistborn: The Wax and Wayne series:

  • Alloy of Law
  • Shadows of Self
  • Bands of Mourning
  • Collection
  • Arcanum Unbounded

Other Cosmere novels

  • Elantris
  • Warbreaker

The Alcatraz vs. the Evil Librarians series:

  • Alcatraz vs. the Evil Librarians
  • The Scrivener's Bones
  • The Knights of Crystallia
  • The Shattered Lens
  • The Dark Talent

The Rithmatist series:

  • The Rithmatist

Other books by Brandon Sanderson

  • The Reckoners
  • Steelheart
  • Firefight
  • Calamity 
©2006 Brandon Sanderson (P)2009 Macmillan Audio

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What listeners say about The Final Empire

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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

6 people found this helpful

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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.

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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 tells rather than shows. 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.

6 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!

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Michael Kramer nailed it

I'm new to Brandon Sanderson's work and not much of a book reader. When I heard about the mistborn series it sounded like a story that was right up my alley as I'm a huge sci-fi fantasy and video game nerd. Kramer made this so enjoyable with a unique voice for each and every character, an epic deep tone helping you really feel like you are a part of the atmosphere. I can't wait to listen to the next two.

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It made me cry!

Took me a little bit to get into the story but ended up loving it!

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The best fantasy novel out there

Amazing story and universe. Sanderson has crafted such an intricate magic system, and kept me entertained and intrigued the whole way through. Wonderfully narrated as well. Really looking forward to the other two books in the series!

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Great narration

I’ve come to really enjoy the narrator as he does many of Sandersons books. Good pacing and voice variances for different characters.

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Great Story, Writing Could be Better

loved the story, the narrator was great, I just think his writing can be a bit ehhh. Lots of tropes, particularly when it comes to how he writes women. Can't wait to listen to/read the other 2 books in the series though.

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Not a fantasy guy, but maybe I am now

Really enjoyed this story, it’s long but doesn’t feel like it. No complaints. I will check out his other books now.

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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.

239 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.

36 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 2020-01-12

You need to read this series

The series is incredible! Sanderson‘s world building and magic system is vast and intriguing. I have read this first book twice and listened to it twice now. Sanderson’s ability to leave clues of the mysteries that unfold in later books makes the story interesting even after several readings. Kramer, as narrator, is masterful (I think it is well known though, as he is an iconic narrator).

I’m sure that there are enough detailed reviews about the plot, character development, and the like. So I will keep it simple by stating that this series is my favorite of Sanderson’s (and I have blasted through the first three Stormlight Archives books twice now, and have read around a dozen of his novels outside the six books that make up the Mistborn series). I believe that any reader would enjoy the Mistborn series, even those who are not drawn to the fantasy genre. Sanderson is one of the best storytellers there is, in any genre. This series in my top three of all-time favorites. If you are an avid reader (and I would assume you are if you are taking the time to read this review), just do yourself a favor and start this literary journey ASAP.

Lastly:
If you don’t read this series, your life will be less meaningful. If you don’t read this series, you will never know true happiness as a reader. If you don’t read this series, you will become the reason that babies cry. If you don’t read this series, I will personally judge you and curse your house’s name. So, again, just do yourself a favor and read this series. You will not need to seek me out and thank me later, as I will know in my heart that you have been blessed with this story. You are welcome. Godspeed my unknown friend.

26 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.

42 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.

188 people found this helpful

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  • Matthew
  • 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

26 people found this helpful

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  • ingrid m
  • 2019-01-26

Good story, mediocre narration.

I found Kramer's pace to be incredibly slow - this is the first time I've ever listened to an audio book on 1.25 speed.

12 people found this helpful

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  • ChellyBelle
  • 2009-07-23

Hmm

Like many others, I tried this book out because the author, Brandon Sanderson, is writing the final book/s of Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series.

I'm hesitant to be overly critical, so I'll just say that I very much hope that he's writing A Memory of Light in the style of Robert Jordan, not in the style of Brandon Sanderson.

The magic in the book is pretty good, but the book itself is kind of... well, it's kind of wedged in a crack between David Eddings (flippant, glib characters who tell the same jokes over and over) and Tom Clancy (lots and lots and lots of expository dialogue). I love both authors, so that's not exactly criticism, it just makes for some very odd pacing.

Mistborn isn't a BAD book, it's just... a book. Not exactly a waste of a credit, but so incredibly dull at times that I found myself watching TV while listening to some of the epic planning sessions the characters held.

28 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

190 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.

21 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