Book Review: ‘The Final Empire’ by Brandon Sanderson

It’s taken me a very long time to get round to a well-loved series of books. I have to say, I can see what all the fuss is about. The twist on the usual interpretation of fantasy is very refreshing – the idea that the evil overlord (the ‘Lord Ruler’) is in control, with the main characters being the rebels.

The magic systems as well (those of ‘Allomancy’ and ‘Ferochemy’) are unlike anything I have read before. By virtue of its sheer innovation therefore, the story is one of exploration of a new world, complete with histories and cultures. For me, a self-confessed world-builder, I found such an exploration incredibly interesting.

The plot itself, while starting a little slowly, does build up momentum, and by about the halfway point, I found myself pulled along by the political intrigue. While a book including political intrigue seems bound to be compared to Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire, the sort found in The Final Empire is far more accessible and perhaps more understandable, if less subtle. By the time I reached the last five or so chapters, I was unable to stop myself from continuing. The twisting nature of the final chapters was so unexpected that I was forced to re-read them more than once, and I still ended up shouting at the book – always a good sign for me.

In short, I would definitely recommend the book, and feel that it certainly lives up to the hype. Writing immediately after finishing the book, I do feel however that this high praise comes only off the back of the conclusion of the book. The slow initial sections are inevitable when introducing a new world, and I feel they were dealt with as well as can be hoped for.

‘The Final Empire’ by Brandon Sanderson is the first book in The Mistborn Trilogy. 

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Book Review: ‘The Weight of Blood’ by David Dalglish

A very simple read. Not a bad thing in and of itself, but when combined with some clear editing mistakes, it does detract from the overall quality of the book.

While the characters, storyline and setting are entertaining, it is for the same reasons they were when Tolkien wrote them. That is to say, they are very cliched. The whole idea of orcs being brutal, as well as inherently bad seems a little old-fashioned, and overdone. At the same time, the portrayal of elves as being at one with nature -as well as all being aryan archers- is a similarly well-used idea in modern fantasy. This however, is just my personal opinion, and I know that other people like it.

Alongside this however, I did finish the book, and in only a week or so. The plot kept up at a decent pace throughout, such that when combined with its simple writing, the book is very readable. That said, I probably won’t buy the next in the series.

‘The Weight of Blood’ by David Dalglish is the first book in The Half-Orcs Series.