Vin is a young girl, mistrusting of everyone, beaten down and controlled by the thieving crews that feed her and shelter her. Everyone is a betrayal waiting to happen. At least until Vin joins Kelsier’s crew and discovers she’s a Mistborn, then Vin’s world is turned upsidedown.
Mistborn shows an extraordinary journey to overthrown the Final Empire, ruled by a man thought to be immortal, thought to be God. When I started this book, I had just finished reading Sanderson’s Elantris and was expecting something of a slow start. And of course, I got what I expected.
However, while Sanderson is slow to reveal his main character – presenting first one man who isn’t the main character and then a second man, who also isn’t the main character – when he does finally reveal her, the story picks up quickly.
Where Elantris was a bit thick with political intrigue, Mistborn is a bit heavy on the planning and detailing of the crew’s intention to overthrow the Final Empire. There is much talk of information gathering, recruitments, infiltrations, etc. but this didn’t come off as boring as I expected. Throughout the crew’s meetings where these things would be discussed, Sanderson’s characters were engaging and alive enough that they took the focus away from the mundane task of organization.
Throughout this novel, you watch Vin change from a fearful, mistrusting child, into a young woman who is experiencing friendship for the first time and is coming to see herself as a valuable part of of something important. This growth is handled amazingly well, as Vin herself is often forced to acknowledge how much she has changed. She realizes how many things she does now that she never would have done in the past.
The story is very character driven, though I think some of the minor characters could have been beefed up to be of more emotional importance to the storyline. But then again, they aren’t supposed to be the focus, so I’m sure things worked out much better because of this. Perhaps it’s just a testament to Sanderson’s excellent characterization skills that I liked a few of the main characters so much that I thought they should’ve had larger parts.
While the story is primarily told from Vin’s point of view, a lot of the novel is given over to Kelsier’s activities. While he’s as engaging as the next fella, I simply felt there was more going on with Vin internally. Sanderson gave Kelsier his own internal conflict but somehow it felt less significant, brought less to the foreground perhaps.
Again, as I dislike giving away too much of a story, I won’t say anymore about what it means to attempt to overthrow the Final Empire. This is the goal revealed to the reader at the start of the book. Now if you’d like to find out if they succeed or not, I suggest you pick up a copy of the book and read it. However, I will say that there were some surprising elements in the book that I maybe should have seen coming but didn’t. Maybe you’ll be more observant than I was, I tend to let the book carry me along and don’t go searching for all the answers before I’m brought to them.
I’ll be picking up the second in the series as soon as I can. (Thrilled that there’s a sequel this time! Unlike with Elantris – *sigh* Great stand-alone that it was… it was still a stand alone. I love trilogies and series – assuming the quality doesn’t deteriorate with each book.)
I’d rate this book a 4 out of 5. I sped through the ending without being able to put it down. While Sanderson may have to start slow and build up to it, his endings are fantastic. I’d much prefer that to starting with tons of action and having nothing left to end with.
So, go pick up a copy and be sure to come back and let me know what you thought!