The Final Empire


Not sure where I got the suggestion for this one. I suspect this was a random pick-up from Waterstones many years ago, prompted by a gift card. Recently, having been watching some ‘top 10’ videos on YouTube, it seems this series comes highly rated.

Having languished on my to-be-read shelf for a while, and having finished a few books in quick succession recently, I decided to go for something more substantial. Which I consder this to be, at 600+ pages (in this edition).

I upped my reading game as well — partly in response to my enjoyment of the book — so was still able to chomp through this pretty quickly (for me).

There aren’t too many new elements to the story. In fact, it shares a basic outline with Steelheart — a powerful, evil ruler keeps the populace under his thumb. One thing that is novel, and which I did like, was the magic system, which is based on metal. Each one allows the user access to particular traits — strength, emotional manipulation, enhanced senses, etc.

The story is very linear, very quick and engaging — there are few dull periods with another challenge, hurdle or action scene just around the corner. A little too regular to be honest. It felt less organic and made the plot noticeable. It was as if the author couldn’t let his characters have too much joy before bringing them to their knees again. Maybe that was the point (given the setup).

The characters too, while I liked them, were a little two-dimensional, especially the lesser characters. And the YA-level love story threaded loosely throughout was sappy.

That said, I romped through it, looking forward to each chance I had to return. It’s an easy, uncomplicated read. I think it could also be read as a standalone novel, though there are other books in the series (an original trilogy that has expanded since).

Still not sure if Sanderson is entirely my taste, but with his output there are at least plenty more titles and series for me to sample.

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Reviewed: 13th March 2020