5 out of 5 stars | Goodreads
This book was chosen as the Fantasy Book of the Month for February 2014 by my book group, Dragons & Jetpacks, and thank goodness it was – I would have taken a while getting round to reading it otherwise.
The synopsis above doesn’t really do the book much justice, in fact it makes it sound like a pretty generic fantasy novel. Which this is definitely not. Whilst it may have some of those common fantasy fiction tropes, it also has plenty of content that makes it totally unique – not to mention Sanderson’s brilliant writing that just keeps dragging the reader further in.
The story is mostly shown through the (third person) eyes of Vin, a young girl living with a street gang. Due to her way of life, she’s reserved and nervous around others, and thanks to some advice from her brother, doesn’t trust a soul. At the beginning of the book I found her a difficult character to connect with or even to understand; she was just as withdrawn from the reader as she was from the other fictional characters around her. However, that all changed when she met Kelsier. A Mistborn, meaning he can use all forms of Allomancy, Kelsier helped Vin to come into her own powers. It was as she learnt to control her own strength that Vin really opened up and developed as a character. She became more confident, comfortable around others and much more likeable. It’s not that her shy self was disagreeable, it’s just that she was hard to feel any real emotion for.
Allomancy was one of my absolute favourite things about the book. A type of magic that relies on metals, Sanderson has created a brilliant and truly unique system. Most people can only ‘burn’ one or two metals, and their powers depend on the types of metal – but some people, known as Mistborn, can use all. The way that Kelsier and Vin can practically fly around the city, using their Allomancy to Push and Pull themselves away and towards metal objects summoned up the most epic mental images, and I just absolutely loved the idea of how they could use their powers. The book, although very enjoyable before, really picked up when Vin began training.
And now for the few things that bugged me. One was Elend Venture, the object of Vin’s affections. I just don’t understand the appeal of Elend – he was a foppish, spoiled brat. The only way I would understand it is if there is a Scarlet Pimpernel type reveal in the next book, where we find out that this rich boy image was just a facade. Here’s hoping! The other minor annoyance was the way one character (Spook) spoke: I get that he wasn’t from the same country as the others, and that his native tongue was different. But his garbled speech was REALLY difficult to read sometimes and it annoyed me.
However, Sanderson produces some shocking moments and makes some controversial decisions that work really well – as well as crafting a wonderfully told story packed full of detailed world-building and well developed characters. I completely and utterly loved this book – and Allomancy most of all. A definite recommendation, particularly for fans of epic fantasy – although I get the feeling most of you would have read this one already!