Mistborn — The Final Empire — Thoughts (1/n)

This post was originally published on Medium on Sep 13, 2018 and has now been migrated here because Medium sucks.

I’ve been putting off starting a fantasy fiction saga like this for a long time now; the only ones I remember reading prior to starting this have been Harry Potter and Lord of The Rings; and that was a decade ago. Since then I’ve read a few hundred books but they’ve all been standalone novels. The only thing that comes close to a series since then was the Millenium Trilogy by Steig Larsson but that doesn’t fall in this category. My reasons for not having ventured into these waters again are frankly, juvenile — chief among them and the only one worth mention being the fear that nothing will come close to the aforementioned works, which is, if the rest of the reading populace is to be believed, a blatant fallacy.

But earlier today, after finishing yet another standalone work — “Bad Blood” about the infamous scandal that was Theranos, I decided to start with one among the many options in fantasy fiction series available. My shortlist consisted of Malazan, The Kingkiller Chronicles, Mistborn and The Dark Tower series. When I posed this “dilemma” to my book club, two of my trusted friends independently and almost simultaneously suggested I start with Mistborn and the decision was made.

I started reading it with some residual apprehensions and was pleased to see them gradually fading away with every passing page. So far I’ve finished 15% of the book and these are my thoughts along with a summary of what has happened so far —

The prologue starts off with a nobleman, Lord Tresting in the presence of an “obligator”, an inspector of sorts overlooking a land where the “skaa” he owns (his slaves) are toiling away. Tresting comes off an obsequious worm, who wants to please the obligator and make sure everything is as desired by the latter. While scanning the land, he notices that one of the usually subservient skaa is looking back at him with defiance ..or so he thinks because at second glance, the offending party seems to have vanished. Tresting doesn’t pay it much thought….He probably should have because it turns out that this figment of Tresting’s imagination was actually a rogue flitter skaa named Kelsier, who’s been roaming from camp to camp inciting rebellion wherever he goes (and he has a hidden agenda). While in conversation with the rest of the skaa his speech is interrupted with loud screams from outside the camp. This is the first time that we get a glimpse of Kelsier’s “powers”. He “burns tin internally” and is able to enhance his hearing. He understands that a young girl skaa is being taken advantage of by Tresting and is determined to do something about it despite the pleas of the rest of the skaa as it would only, they said, lead to more trouble for them. I won’t divulge what happens in the remainder of the prologue to avoid spoiling any of it. Suffice to say, the chapter ends with Kelsier leaving the skaa and heading to the city of Luthadel.

Chapter 1 introduces us to a girl, Vin in Luthadel, who’s recently lost her only trusted companion — her brother Reen — and works for a thug named Camon and they plan to pull off a job against an obligator and his higher-ups with the help of another local thug — Theron. Vin, has a power called “Luck” that she can use to soothe people when they get angry and Camon, while oblivious of her power, still keeps her around because somehow his plans seem to work out in Vin’s presence. The first meeting with an obligator seems to work out in Camon’s favor but Camon ends up doublecrossing Theron and going over his head to the obligator with Vin himself for a second meeting; only, this time they cause a suspicious obligator to set a tail on them. Kelsier, meanwhile meets up with a friend of his named Dockson and tells him of his plan to assemble a crew because he wants to pull off a big job. This involves him having to rescue Vin from the clutches of her overbearing master -Camon. In hindsight, this was a trivial task for Kelsier. Where I am in the story so far is that Kelsier’s rescued Vin and told her something important about her. Intrigued and wanting to learn more, Vin, apprenhensively agrees to join his team that also consists of a Smoker, a thug who can round up other thugs and a few Mistings. Their plan is to….well, I’m going to retain a bunch of spoilers for the next article, including some part of the story so far that I’ve deliberately left out.

What interested me most was the amount of pop-culture relationships I felt myself drawing as I read through the book. Kelsier’s lost his wife Mare and he broods her absence as he stands on a rooftop before a job, looking at the city absently. This felt akin to Leonardo DiCaprio’s character in Inception who loses his wife and is left in a similar setting. Also, when Kelsier approaches Dockson and tells him he’s assembling a team, it felt like a scene out of Pirates of the Caribbean : The Black Pearl when Captain Jack Sparrow approaches his friend and co-pirate Joshamee Gibbs for the same reason. Also, Jack, like Kelsier, is always of a cheerful disposition, is very respected by his crew (to an extent) and always has a plan up his sleeve. Thirdly, the mention of a 11th element that can be used to destroy the Lord Ruler felt like the mention of The One Ring and the destruction of Lord Sauron in LOTR. Anyway, I’m sure that’s where the similarities between Mistborn and pop-culture end, because the whole concept of Allomancy feels novel and extremely fascinating.

This article was never finished, but the book and its sequels were completed in their reading before 2019 began, and I absolutely loved them.

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