Today I would like to take a dive into high fantasy with a twist as I recommend Brandon Sanderson’s novel Final Empire, the first installment of the iconic Mistborn series.
You know the story, you’ve seen it before: A young and noble hero arises from rural obscurity to be hailed as the prophesied Hero of Ages. The nations and armies of the world unite beneath his banner in an effort to challenge a mysterious force of darkness threatening to engulf the world. But what happens when the prophesied one…fails? The Death Star doesn’t blow up, Harry never defeats He-who-must-not-be-named, Frodo keeps the Ring?
This is the backstory of Sanderson’s epic telling of what happens next. Since the failure of the Hero of Ages a thousand years ago, the entire world has been ruled by the immortal Lord Ruler. Those few who supported him from the beginning became the Imperial noble families, their existence filled with opulence and extravagance. Everyone else became slaves forced to work until they die. Every attempted rebellion has failed, and the oppressive regime grows stronger each passing day. That is until a new kind of rebellion is planned. Led by the heroic and charismatic Kelsier, the plan consists of subterfuge and infiltration, basically it’s the ultimate heist.
One of the best descriptions I’ve heard about this book is “It’s Ocean's Eleven meets The Italian Job, but set in Mordor after Sauron has ruled for 1000 years or so.” Sanderson’s writing is simple, narrative, and easy to follow. You will not be bogged down with flowery exposition, multiple intertwining plot lines, or names you can’t get your tongue around. He has created an amazing magic system completely unique from other novels of its kind. As well as strong world building, characterization, plot points, and incredibly well written fight scenes. His plotting of the book unwinds beautifully and manages to provide you with real twists and turns.
This recommendation is for those who love fantasy, especially high fantasy. If you are someone who has never read high fantasy, but have always been curious about it, I would suggest starting with Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson. Come visit us at the Sioux City Library to get a copy, and don’t hesitate to ask for more fantasy recommendations.
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