In a world where ash falls from the sky, and mist dominates the night, an evil cloaks the land and stifles all life.

Vin, a lowly street urchin with trust issues, joins a thieving crew led by Kelsier, a prison camp escapee, and together, they attempt the impossible job, to overthrow the Lord Ruler’s Final Empire. Kelsier is also young Vin’s tutor in allomancy, an inherited magical ability to control metals once concentrated in the nobility class, but that due to interbreeding has seeped into the genetics of the peasantry Skaa class, like Vin and Kelsier.

Central to the Mistborn universe is a highly detailed and self-consistent magical system! The most widely known discipline of magic is called Allomancy, in which users swallow small amounts of pure metals to gain supernatural powers. Normal Allomancers have access to one Allomantic power, but an incredibly rare subset of Allomancers, called Mistborn, have access to every Allomantic power. Swallow pewter for strength, tin to enhance the senses, and copper to hide yourself from other allomancers. The detailed magical system is also used in highly creative ways that especially enhance the action scenes.

The setting is typical high fantasy world building, complete with feudal-style nobility and practically-slave peasantry, and an ultimately powerful god-like evil lord ruler. The character arcs follow familiar paths, but they are executed quite well. I especially enjoy the banter of Kelsier and his crew, the romance between Vin and Elend, heir to the most powerful noble house, and learning secrets of the disfigured police-priesthood, who wear giant metal spikes through their bodies (including their eyes).

This is only the first book in the fantasy saga that is Mistborn, but I can already highly recommend it to fans of traditional epic fantasy who enjoy a superbly crafted story of two underdogs who take on an entire empire.

“But you can’t kill me, Lord Tyrant. I represent that one thing you’ve never been able to kill, no matter how hard you try. I am hope.”