Book Review: Mistborn

Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson is the first book in a fantasy fiction series.  The term “mistborn” refers to people who are born with the ability to “burn” or use more than one metal to do their bidding.  By swallowing metals and burning them, the mistborn can do all sorts of things like traveling quickly and having super human senses and strength.  Mistborns are rare and are mostly found amongst the nobility.  In order to prevent skaa (the lower class – slaves, thieves, etc.) from obtaining powers, the noble men are required to kill the skaa women they sleep with before they can bear children.  The book’s heroine is Vin, a skaa thief, who learns that she is mistborn.  Vin has had a hard life, being abused and abandoned her entire life, until she meets Kell, who takes her under his wing and teaches her about being a mistborn.

I have to admit that it took me a little while to get into the book.  I felt sorry for Vin, but she became a lot more interesting when she wasn’t such a helpless victim.  I found Kell to be a much more interesting character.  The author did a great job of setting up Kell as the leader.  Though he was charismatic and friendly with everyone, he maintained a certain aloofness, keeping parts of his plan a secret from even close members of his group.  He dealt with people viewing him as savior and people calling him egotistical and doubting him.  I also enjoyed the way the author portrayed society in this book.  I enjoyed the philosophical questions that the characters asked of each other and of themselves about their society and what it meant to be skaa.

In addition to having great insight into societies and how they function, the author has great insight into individuals.  I hate it when authors have characters who basically all act the same, regardless of their age – everyone’s witty and a bit roguish.  In Mistborn, Vin, for the most part, acts like a young girl.  She makes mistakes and says things that a young girl would.  The other characters also acted their age and had distinctive personalities.

I’ve started the second book, but I don’t know if I’m going to review each book in the series.


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