When I started this book, I had high hopes for it. Not only are there some incredible reviews for it, but Brandon Sanderson is also the author chosen to finish Robert Jordan's epically epic fantasy series, The Wheel Of Time. This is my absolute favorite epic fantasy series, and I was devastated when Jordan passed, and skeptical to say the least of another author finishing what he created. But Sanderson came through and gave fans deeply satisfying WoT books. (He also did so in a respectful, humble way, stating several times that he was in no way claiming the books he'd written for that series as his own. They were Jordan's, through and through, and Sanderson was honored to be able to finish it.)
But, seeing as this review is for Sanderson's very own, original work, I digress.
While I was reading Mistborn, I began to grow afraid that the rave reviews I'd seen were exaggerated, that Mistborn was just another epic fantasy - albeit with a very intricate, very original magic system. But somewhere along the way - and I can't even pinpoint where - this novel just became so much...more. The characters became more three-dimensional, the plotline felt more fleshed out, the writing stopped seeming slightly forced. And the truly unique magic system of Allomancy blended seamlessly with the world it was set in.
In the world of epic fantasy, there are a ton of prophecy-based plotlines. Mistborn is no exception. But whereas the other novels in this genre typically follow the destined, prophesied hero, Mistborn follows a gang of thieves trying to do the impossible in a world where the ancient hero failed. The Lord Ruler is that supposed ancient hero, made immortal, god-like in his power. But he is a terrible oppressor, an unabashed murderer. I absolutely love the ending of this book, because it's only then that you really find out the secrets of the Lord Ruler. One of the most interesting, compulsively readable chapters I've ever read in epic fantasy.
The choppy pacing and questionable beginning of this novel prevent me from giving it five stars, but the astounding last half, the originality of the magic system, and the way my hands are now itching to get ahold of the sequel make it quite deserving of the four I give it.
Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson - 4 out of 5 stars.