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Review: Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson

Mistborn is a very fun, fast-paced heist story by current fantasy superstar Brandon Sanderson.

The story takes place a thousand years after a Chosen One has failed and an immortal Dark Lord (called “Lord Ruler”) has ruled over the land for that whole time. But now a man has come up with a wild plan to steal something from the Lord Ruler that will finally end his reign.

Mistborn features a complicated magic system called allomancy that involves swallowing small bits of metal and then “burning” them to gain temporary magical powers. Burning tin increases your senses, burning pewter gives you increased strength and balance, burning other metals allows you to jump far distances, and so on. A large part of the story involves a mentor teaching this system to Vin, the young protagonist. I was not a huge fan of allomancy. It was interesting, but didn’t give me the “Wow, that’s cool” feeling that I read fantasy for.

The plot moves like a bat out of hell, but the characters never really popped for me. Their emotions never felt completely believable, and it seemed like I was reading about well-crafted Dungeons & Dragons characters in an interesting campaign rather than real people in a real (if fantastical) struggle.

Mistborn is part of a trilogy, but it works best as a stand-alone book. I started reading the second book, The Well of Ascension, and had to put it down unfinished: the fast-paced fun of the first book was not present in the second.

Recommendation: Read it. It’s a lot of fun, but lower your expectations for the sequels.

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