First, let me start by saying that this cover drives me nuts. I can’t seem to remember that Mistborn is the series name, not the book name, because the series name is so huge and the title is so teeny weeny. I’m sure this must have been a marketing decision to get the series name locked in readers’ heads, so they could go into a store or online and type in Mistborn, and get all the books in the series, but still. Did the title have to be THAT tiny?
I’ve had The Final Empire on my TBR shelves for probably 9 months, at least. I’ve been wanting to read something by Brandon Sanderson for quite some time, especially after it was announced that he would be writing the final book in Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series, which I’ve been a fan of for years.
But still, the book languished on my shelves until Nicole did a great review of it and spoke of it kind of glowingly, pushing me to read it for this month’s TBR challenge. Sadly, my feelings for it weren’t quite as glowing as Nicole’s.
I did enjoy the book, but I found it really easy to put down and go do something else. The world building and set up of the world and story are quite dense, which I sometimes appreciate and don’t appreciate. In this case, I thought the book had some slowww pacing issues in spots but if you were to ask me what I would have cut, I’d have to go back and take a second look because I don’t have clue one. My other small quibble would be that the “romance” aspect was a bit…lame to me, and I could have lived without it because it was poorly developed and so, not too believable. Unfortunately, to buy into certain actions and developments in the book, I needed to buy into the romance and I didn’t. It seemed superficial and I think part of that was because I only knew (and liked) one half of the people in the relationship.
So you’re probably wondering what I did like about the book? In truth, the world building was quite thorough and complex, and several of the characters had wonderful character development, which I really appreciate in a book. Though I found the pacing slow, the story itself was still interesting and well-written, and the secondary characters along with the settings gave the story even more depth that I enjoyed. I also appreciated the twists that were thrown in the book as well as the ultimate resolution for this particular story (which is the first in a trilogy, from my understanding).
As you can see, I had mixed feelings about the book, but I think an author who can make me think this closely about what I did and didn’t like, and who drew me forward despite my perceived problems with it, did his job. I will be reading the second book, Well of Ascension, and actually have it on my Kindle now, though I don’t feel ready to start it right away. Actually, I’m probably going to try Elantris first because I’ve also heard great things about it (proving twice in one review that word of mouth recommendations work on me!).
Do I recommend The Final Empire? Hm. I think I do, if you’re a fan of fantasy with a minor romance subplot (minor though it does have bearing on some events in the book) and deep world building, along with a cast of secondary characters.
ETA: I just read in an email newsletter that Brandon Sanderson will be at RT in Orlando in 2009. (as will Piers Anthony). Interesting!