Mistborn: The Final Empire (Mistborn #1)
Author: Brandon Sanderson
Genre: Epic Fantasy
Release date: July 25th 2006
Sanderson has created a new kind of magic in the form of Allomancers, people with the ability to ingest and burn (rapidly digest) various types of metal, which in turn gives them special powers ranging from superhuman strength and constitution, to magnetism (pushing and pulling of metal objects), and most powerful of all; the ability to foresee the immediate future actions of an opponent.
This brand of magic is unique in the fact that an Allomancer gains a different ability dependent on which type of metal they can burn. This presents a whole new range of magical possibilities and an entire fictional world based off of that ability. It's a refreshing change to read about this new and unique magical system - totally unlike most mainstream fantasy novels which feature mana as the source of magical abilities - where different metals and their alloys fuel their powers.
The story takes place in the Final Empire, ruled by the Lord Ruler, a so called "God-Emperor". Nearly the entire population of skaa (slaves) live in fear of his incredible powers and his immortality, save for a few rogue thief lords who rally around Kelsier, the sole Survivor of the Pits of Hatshin and an incredibly skilled Mistborn, a rare form of Allomancer who can burn and harness the powers of all the metals rather than just one type. Kelsier aims to overthrow the Lord Ruler and free the Skaa from millenia of slavery.
The really interesting bit about Mistborn: The Final Empire (MTFE) is that there are multiple stories within the main story itself. It's not just one one main plotline, there are multiple smaller plot developments that serve to futher expand the main plot and expand the MTFE story-verse (lol, short for story-universe). I also love the fact that even though the main characters have had an extremely harsh life, they don't get overly emotional over it. They're just like, "Meh, shit happens. Life goes on." I LOVE that attitude. I love the fact that they don't wallow in misery and instead have resolved to live for the future rather than dwell in the past. Maybe it's because they're mostly grown men and tend be more stoic than women in general, or maybe it's just how Sanderson envisioned them. Either way, it's just brilliant.
Comment: There's a really HUGE suprise in store for readers with regard to the ending. The author continuously drops clues throughout the story but it's quite hard for people to see it coming since authors rarely tend to stray from the well-worn path of predictable and dull endings that most well-read readers could see coming from miles off. I highly recommend this book to fantasy enthusiasts.