4 out of 5
Imagine a world with a magic system built on swallowing and then burning metals, where only the ruling class has magic, where slaves called skaa do most of the work, where skaa women are used as prostitutes and then murdered to ensure the do not reproduce possible magic users, where one man is God and rules everyone and everything. This is the Final Empire, a world where accidents happen, where skaa like Kelsier and Vin manage to survive despite being the highest form of magic users, Mistborn. Kelsier survives the atruim mines, the only person to ever escape. Vin survives years on the street with only her brother to protect her until he too abandons her. Together with a motley crew of skaa, each with some ability to burn metal, they launch a plan to save their people and their world from the Emperor.
Sanderson has created an interesting world with a believable magic system. The various levels of magical ability are well thought out and still leave room for growth. His characters are well developed and capture the readers attention. The mystery of who the Emperor is and how he became Lord over all is a constant undercurrent. This is not your typical fantasy novel, there are no pastoral scenes or handsome heroes. It is a dark world where death and destruction rule. Sanderson is a master craftsman and this is a superb story.