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The Final Empire

Mistborn Book 1
Written by: Brandon Sanderson
Narrated by: Michael Kramer
Length: 24 hrs and 39 mins
5 out of 5 stars (727 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

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Brandon Sanderson is amazing

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

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

overlooking this book is a mist opportunity

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

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Great book with some flaws

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.

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wow.

Such a good book
beautiful world building, diverse characters, the whole 9 yards.
highly recommend

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Excellent<br />

Great novel, love the author. Performance was amazing; Michael Kramer brings it to life! Would recommend.

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Outstanding

Epic and original fantasy, with fast plot lines and deep character development. Time to start book 2.

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slow start but worth it

It is a little long to start, but it is worth the patience. Performer got a really deep voice.

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simply amazing..

To make it short, this was the best book I've ever read or listened to...

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First book

Fell in love with reading after getting this book at a young age, I bought this audiobook now many years later and have subsequently remembered why I fell in love with reading/books. Great narration and a gripping story.

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Fun story. Good new world.

It’s a good story. The performance is really great!! Except at some moment where I had problems with the voice the actor gave the character he is overall an amazing storyteller!

The world is fun. The characters have substance and they’re conséquent with their acts

A must for all fantasy fans.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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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.

81 of 89 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    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

164 of 185 people found this review helpful

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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.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Colin Kendig
  • 2012-04-25

Best possible use of a free credit, ever.

Concise and descriptive narrative pulls you in right from the start. Sanderson goes into great depths of dealing with themes of politics, oppression, prophecy, rebellion and religious conflict and pulls it off very well. Almost too well. The "magic" is brilliant, the action is great but these elements only work well because of how tied together character depth and development is to these sequences. The magic is also explained in a practical theoretic that just doesn't leave the hocus-pocus to your imagination. The explanation is set in the history and backdrop of the story and is grounded in its own sort of realty making it very believable. And each action has a reason and decision that carries a lot of believable weight, consequence and character growth behind them.

In terms of narration, Michael Kramer paints a lavish picture of this world in a somewhat dry, but remarkably colorful and believable way. Several different voices and dialects enliven the dialogue immensely. He really brings this story alive and it is one of those rare occasions that the narrator adds something more to the story making it that much more special than reading it on paper.

Another 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. I know I am raving endlessly about this series, but it is very hard for me to find anything I did not like about it, so much to the point that I can't think of anything.

Other people on this site have complained of following a set "workshop" pattern of putting a story together, I do not see it that way. If your going to pick this story apart for that, then there are countless other classics you could do the same to, and a lot of them, while being exquisite, are not nearly as immersive and action packed as this story. This is one of those truly gripping rarities that is quite long and expansive, but is never a dull moment. This series is a true fantasy classic that has rightfully earned its place among the greats in this genre.

4 of 4 people found this review 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.



105 of 131 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    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

63 of 80 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Willie K
  • 2009-06-23

Willie K Review

This is my first review, but I plan on reviewing every book I listen to from here out. I tried listening to Brandon Sandersons first title, Elantris, but had a hard time getting into it. I thought I would give Brandon another shot though since I enjoyed Michael Kramer's narration in The Eye of the World series, by Robert Jordon so much. Mr. Kramer showed his true flare for subtle voice dialects allowing the listener to immediately know who is speaking before hearing who the author told you it was. He is a bit mono tone but never the less is one of my favorite narrators.

This book had me from the beginning. I loved how Brandon Sanderson created a world where good has succumbed to evil forces, and you really cant tell if evil was meant to be the ruling force of the land and good was never meant to prevail. His description of the world made me it easy to picture in my head and his battle scenes had me locked in. I found myself driving around the block several times to finish the battles taking place. The ending also has a shock to it that I did not expect which makes me more intrigued to read the rest of the series. I look forward to trying out his first book again when I am finished with it

It is a great read.

74 of 95 people found this review 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 of 59 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Robert
  • 2011-07-21

Outstanding

I am writing this after having finished the entire trilogy. While this was an incredible book and stands alone just fine on its own, I wanted to reserve judgement on each book till I finished the trilogy in order to put each one into perspective. This was my first Bandon Sanderson book and I loved it. At first, it was challenging to get into the whole concept of Allomancy but I eventually did and appreciated every aspect of this masterpiece. The books moved quickly, the story is rich in its treatments of many aspects personal character, politics, government, philosophy and religion. And each character is fully developed to the point where we probably care about all of them including some of the bad ones. The world created by Brandon Sanderson and stunningly narrated by Michael Kramer is not like any one I or probably any of us could have possibly imagined. As long as this trilogy was, I am so sorry to have it finally end.

54 of 71 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Jim "The Impatient"
  • 2013-04-10

The Atium Must Flow

Why does he smile all the time? Because humor is all He has left. He believes that if you are always on time, it implies you never have anything better to do. He says "I've been very confident in my immaturity."

Brandon Sanderson earns five stars with this book, as he has with three of the four books of his I have read, the other just getting four stars. Sanderson is the Fantasy Writer of this Century so far. He does not borrow from anyone else to write his fantasy, it is all out of his head. Matter of fact this goes against all the fantasy laws. Usually iron is the bane of magic, which explains why elves, fairies, etc disappeared with the coming of civilization and metals. Sanderson has made metals the magic element. All of his books that I have read so far are totally different from the norm. In Elantris, Magic is the enemy. The Way of Kings is his masterpiece so far.

Look at the ratings on this book, thousands have read it and it has an average of 4.6 stars. That alone speaks volumes.

The book is not perfect and it was written early in Sanderson's career. For instance having a Feruchemist or Keeper sure comes in a little too handy as more then once he saves the day. There is also, especially in the beginning a lot of talking and planning. Hours of planning. Still I enjoyed it, the writing was great, the character development excellent, lots of twists and turns, and even with the planning there is still lots of really cool action. Fighting with metals reminds me of a character in Erickson's Gardens of the Moon, who is able to turn up down or sideways or left to right, etc. The characters are not black and white. Sometimes you are not sure who is the bad guy and who is the good guy (I love that).

Fans of Abercrombie and Paul Hoffman will love this.

Fans of The Wheel of Time series will recognize the great narrator Kramer.

Listen to the story to see why I compare Atium to Spice.

69 of 92 people found this review helpful