Review: The Final Empire

Genre: Fantasy

Published: 2006

Pages: 648

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Synopsis: In the world of The Final Empire, the Dark Lord won. For a thousand years, the common people have been oppressed, beaten down, and degraded by the immortal Lord Ruler’s reign. Kelseir, a Mistborn who can use all eight metals of Allomancy, gets streeturchin Vin to join his thieving crew on their latest mission – take down the Final Empire and the Lord Ruler.

Non-Spoiler Review:

I think this is going to be such an easy book to review because I absolutely loved it! I was definitely skeptical because of the hype and the fact that adult fantasy intimidates me. I was really blown away!

The whole book is in limited third person, except for the brief italicized paragraphs written in first person by an unknown character. I thought these were really interesting because I was kept guessing for awhile about whose point of view those were from.

The plot definitely was a little slow at first, but I can understand that it was necessary because there was a lot of world building that had to happen. It starts out as a sort of heist, but it definitely evolves from there throughout the book. I thought the world overall was so interesting. The magic system, Allomancy, where one consumes then burns different metals to alter their own abilities, was really interesting and unique! I was expecting the system overall to be a lot more complex, but the complex part is how the characters utilize this power. There’s so much the reader learns about the magic and the world in this first book, but there is so much more to learn in the next books.

The characters were the part of this book that grabbed me the least, although I did really enjoy most of them. I really liked that most of the book was from Vin’s perspective, because she was one of my favorites. I really liked her growth throughout the book, both as a character and in terms of her powers. Another character I loved was Elend, and I’m very excited that he will be in the next books a lot more. The whole crew was pretty fun, but I will say that some of the characters blended together for me. My biggest complaint about this book is that Vin is pretty much the only female character. Other than her, there are two named noblewomen, but overall in the story, they are not important at all. I think the characters in the thieving crew would have honestly been easier to keep separate if any of them were women. (👀 @ Brandy Sandy…I know he can do better, based on Skyward and what I’ve heard about The Way of Kings).

There was a lot of foreshadowing, and while I definitely was able to guess some things ahead of time, there were a lot of things that still took me by surprise! Nothing was out of the blue though, as there were definitely hints in the book beforehand that I just didn’t pick up on, even though I was actively trying to figure things out.

An important thing I wanted to mention was Brandon’s annotations on his website! He has annotations for every chapter of the book where he talks about why he did certain things, what he was thinking when he was writing, his struggles, changes he made, and more. I would read what I could for the day, then I’d read the annotations for the chapters that I finished. It was so interesting! I think it helped me absorb the story a little more and it was interesting to kind of get a preview about what will be expanded upon in the rest of the series. I highly recommend reading these annotations for this book, or any of the other books he has annotations for. They obviously have spoilers, so only read them if you have read the book they are for.

Overall, I really really enjoyed this book! I am silently cursing myself for getting the UK editions of these books because it takes some time for them to be shipped to me, so I have to wait to read the rest of the series. I think it definitely earns the hype and its spot among fantasy classics.

Some Spoilery Things:

I guess who the italicized parts were at chapter 12! I had my suspicions before that, but that was the chapter were I was certain.

Some of the things that were foreshadowed that I guessed correctly:

  • The Lord Ruler using Feruchemy. As soon as Sazed said that it could be used to make yourself younger or older, I knew that had to be the key to his immortality.
  • There was definitely a reason that Reen kept moving himself and Vin around.
  • Marsh wasn’t dead. When you have a body that is “barely recognizable as human”, that’s definitely not the body you’re supposed to think it is!
  • The Inquisitors asking Vin who her father is. I knew that was important, but I didn’t really guess how it would come into play

Two of my absolute favorite scenes happened right after one another: when Vin fights Shan, then when Vin puts Kelsier in his place, saying that he really doesn’t know what its like to be a common skaa. Both of those scenes really get to the essence of why I like Vin so much.

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