Fantasy Book review, Mistborn #1: The Final Empire

mistborn-vin-christian-mcgrath-art

Hello to my readers. I hope you all had a lovely Holloween. I’m attempting a new type of post—a book review of other science fantasy works I’ve read. This review will focus on Mistborn book 1: The Final Empire. I wanted to read the second book—The Well of Ascension—before I finished this review. I’ll keep spoilers to a minimum.

With that said, let’s delve into Brandon Sanderson’s world of intrigue—a perfect start to November!

Mistborn, the Series

Premise

Mistborn is an epic fantasy series that spans multiple books. The story also incorporates some dark fantasy elements. Each book is long—and well worth it. Expect to invest time in each installation if you so desire.

If I could describe Mistborn in three words, it would be—gloomy, epic, and intricate. There is a sense of adventure too, though most of the plot takes place within a capital city.

Characters

The main character, Vin, struggles to understand herself in a turbulent world of war, oppression, and darkness. She meets many characters in her journey, most that popped out of the page for me, the reader.

Sanderson did an excellent job with the characters. The cast came off as likable and amusing. There were a few scenes where I laughed and had to reread for the fun of it. Sanderson knows when to cut the tension with old-fashioned comedy relief—an essential element in manuscripts, by the way.

The villains were sadistic enough—and arcane enough—to warrant interest. The antagonist in book 1 is practical a god who survives decapitation, experiences immortality, and can manipulate thousands of people at will. Talk about a challenge for the protagonist!

Magic System

The magic in Mistborn is intriguing—an alchemical system where a person burns metals within the body. Each metal provides a specific power when burned. The effect is usually temporary and limited by the metal resources at hand.

Superhuman feats are common in Mistborn, so, expect some Avengers-grade thrills. The action blew me away and kept me reading. It is refreshing to see supernatural action mixed it for once rather than the usual sword or gun fighting.

My one complaint is that the action is a little confusing with all the unique terms. Brandon Sanderson could have improved on the readability during these scenes. I sometimes skimmed over the fight scenes because they weren’t easy to follow.

Romance

The romantic interest for the main OC, Vin, starts late in the book and builds up gradually. It may not read like the best romance novel—and came off a little flat to me—but it fits in well enough with the plot and characters.

Romance does play a stronger role in the second book, Well of Ascension; admittingly, Sanderson did a better job of it in the second installation.

Conflict

Mistborn is rife with conflict—another good detail of the book. I couldn’t go ten pages without feeling sympathy, pain, or anticipation. Sanderson knows how to keep the pages turning—never a dull moment.

I sometimes compared the feeling to Dragonlance—another favored series of mine.

Overall Summary

The Good

The characters, magic system, conflict, and atmosphere of the book are my favorite elements of Mistborn. It set the proper tone for a dark fantasy epic novel. I imagine I’ll be rereading it again in the future.

The Bad

The action/combat scenes were confusing, and the romance was not deep enough. I feel Sanderson could have developed these scenes more. Regardless, they weren’t terrible and never impeded the book’s flow beyond a few pages.

The Ugly

There were a few graphic scenes in Mistborn, some which made me pause (not in the wrong way, mind you). I’m all for gore and blood if it helps add dimension and immersion to a book. That said, this book isn’t nearly as extreme about it as Song of Fire and Ice (another excellent book, by the way).

Still, Mistborn isn’t for the light of heart. After all, it is a dark fantasy novel to some degree—and I still enjoyed it.

My rating: 4.5/5 stars—outstanding

Thank you all for reading. This review post was a first for me. If you have any feedback, comments, or suggestions, let me know in the reply boxes below. Love and gratitude to my readers. 🙂


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For more information on dark fantasy or other types of science fiction, be sure to check out my guest post here, hosted on Richie Billing’s blog. Cheers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What is reading? 5 ways to stay focused.

How do we define reading? If we asked that question decades ago, anyone would say it is the study and consumption of a physical book. In the modern age, the average person doesn’t read many books anymore. Instead, they peruse more abstract avatars of information on tablets, computers, and iPhones. The way we read has transitioned as we entered the 21st century. Hard and soft cover books are viewed as traditional, while digital ebooks are the norm.

While ebooks are faster, more convenient, and cheaper to produce, they are a drastic shift in how our eyes and brain absorb information. Humans are still new to this change, and the effects of staring at a blue screen translate data differently than a paper page does. Further, the average attention span has shortened to around 8 seconds since the fast advent of digital tech. Short messages crowd online media and people want the facts ASAP, rather than slogging through at a traditional pace.

5 ways to remain focused in our busy world of technology:

  1. Stay hydrated – Our bodies run on water and the added electrolytes help the body process the information we absorb. Most people require half their body weight in ounces every day (I find that drinking 12 to 16 cups a day works for me). Get a Brita filter if you can.
  2. Exercise – The act of exercise stimulates our circulation, allowing new blood into the brain and better cognition.
  3. Monitor and limit too much EMF exposure (if possible; we’re all guilty of this to some extent) – Too much information can be a bad thing, especially if presented on a screen. Try taking breaks or parsing out your digital time. A good rule of thumb is once every 20 to 60 minutes–stand up, stretch, and stare out the window for at least a minute. Take a walk if you have to.
  4. Meditate – Long known for its positive influence on focus, meditation is an ancient remedy for a distressed and burdened mind. Even small bouts of 10 to 15 minutes may prove helpful. Your mileage may vary.
  5. Mindfulness – This goes hand-in-hand with meditation, as mindfulness keeps us in the present moment. You can do this even when not meditating.  Simply stay in the current environment and don’t let your thoughts wander. Unfortunately, it’s harder than it sounds, trust me.

Are we losing the ability to read and focus in the traditional sense? Or is this a stepping stone in human evolution for the better? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below. Thanks for reading!


Sources:

http://www.medicaldaily.com/human-attention-span-shortens-8-seconds-due-digital-technology-3-ways-stay-focused-333474

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/i-have-forgotten-how-toread/article37921379/

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/reading-paper-screens/

https://leaderonomics.com/functional/stay-focus-digital-world

https://greatist.com/live/five-minute-meditation-for-better-focus

https://www.lifehack.org/articles/productivity/how-mindfulness-can-improve-our-focus-and-productivity.html