Mistborn Groupread, Part I

Welcome to the first week of the “Mistborn:  The Final Empire” groupread.  I’ve been looking forward to it for quite some time!  Last summer we tackled “The Way of Kings,” and I’ve been wanting to read more of Sanderson’s writing ever since.

This week’s reading covers the prologue through chapter six.  Next week we’ll cover chapters seven through fifteen.

Discussion questions for this week were written by Carl from Stainless Steel Droppings.  His blog will also have link-ups to other participants’ discussions.

This post will contain spoilers.  I’ll be posting a spoiler-free review at the end of the readalong for anyone who isn’t following along.

1.  This first hundred or so pages was packed!  What things are standing out for you in the story thus far?

I’m loving the story thus far.  Part of it might be that I’m always intrigued by a good revolution (part of what made me such a big Russian history nerd).  I’m curious to see how Kelsier’s plot will play out and whether or not he will succeed, especially since the Lord Ruler is portrayed as being very difficult to harm.  The plan seems ingenious, but at the same time there wouldn’t be much of a story if everything worked out perfectly.  I’m wondering how good a job Vin will do at faking nobility, considering that she’s spent most of her life on the streets.  There’s bound to be some trouble there.

2.  What are your thoughts on the magic system that Sanderson is unveiling in this novel?

It’s very scientific, and I like that.  Magic doesn’t make someone invincible, but rather operates through very specific formulas and rules.  I would like to learn more about how Allomancy became the exclusive domain of the nobility and whether the skaa possess any unique abilities of their own.

3.  Kelsier and Vin have held most of the spotlight in these first 6 chapters.  As you compare/contrast the two characters, how do you feel about them? Likes? Dislikes?

Vin is a pretty cool character, but Kelsier is my favorite.  I like the way that he is able to remain cheerful under pressure and treats laughter as something that cannot be taken away by those in power.  I’m hoping he doesn’t get too cocky, even though he’s obviously a skilled fighter.

4.  Finally, how would you assess Sanderson’s storytelling abilities to this point?

Well, I’m having a very difficult time putting the book down.  I also apparently can’t shut up about it.  If it’s any indication, I had a dream a few nights ago that my boyfriend got mad at me because I wouldn’t stop talking about Mistborn.  Luckily it was only a dream and he’s a fan of Sanderson too!

Overall, Sanderson does an excellent job telling a story.  I like the fact that so far we only have two point-of-view characters, and I’m invested in each of their stories.  One of the problems that I encounter a lot in fantasy is that some people can come up with wonderful stories but the writing itself is weak.  Sanderson doesn’t fall into that trap.

Comments make me happy! Please feel free to leave a reply.

47 comments

  1. Hi Grace
    I agree – I hope Kelsier doesn’t become too cocky (remind you of another overly confident character at all?) I do like him though – he’s a hero after all! I don’t dislike Vin but she’s a bit flat at the moment for me – hopefully she will start to open up as she learns about her magic.
    It’s an interesting point you raise about why the nobility has magical ability – I wonder if we’ll find out why? I hope so.
    I’m really enjoying it so far. I read it all in one sitting! Difficult to put down but I made myself do so!
    Lynn 😀

      1. I think part of the problem with Vin might be that she’s a bit abrasive. I’m wondering how she’ll be if she opens up and learns to be a bit less suspicious of everyone. Right now most of her personality seems to be built around protecting herself; once she’s in an environment that’s not quite as harsh she might act differently and develop a bit more.

        1. I think you are right. I have a feeling that most of the characters will be developed. And I’m looking forward to some plot twists and shocks.

        2. Vin definitely needs to learn to be a bit less closed off although i can see why she’s like she is – that being said why did she trust Ulef? I think she was very unlucky in her circumstances. Kelsier is obviously from a similar background but his crew don’t seem to be quite as low. Camon and his crew were just total rats!
          Lynn 😀

    1. Right now I think that Kelsier is fine because he doesn’t overreach his own abilities, but I don’t want him to go all Locke Lamora on us. If he doesn’t know his limits he could jeopardize his entire plan.

      1. Indeed. It’s interesting as well because Allomancy is rare even among the nobility; I feel like if it was a gift to the nobles then more of them would have it.

        1. Maybe when the Allomancy was originally gifted there were less nobles – or is that a really stupid thing to say? So, perhaps there’s more of them now and as they’ve increased in numbers the gift only gets passed down to a certain number? Yep, that’s a stupid thing to say!
          Lynn 😀

  2. I’m also enjoying the story. I have a feeling though that Kelsier will get into some trouble with his cocky attitude. And I can’t wait to see Vin try to act like nobility. When I was a kid, my mother insisted I eat with all the proper silverware and I would have to set the table correctly: salad forks, butter knives…yada yada yada. Since I’m on my own now, I’ve thrown that out the window. However, the other night I was at a fancy dinner and I had to stop and think, which one is the salad fork. I can’t wait to see Vin trying to figure that stuff out. And I’m assuming that the nobility is like other types of nobility with a lot of rules and innuendos. Her big problem won’t be cutlery. It might turn out to be painfully humorous.

    1. Yeah, I can’t see how Vin will pull the nobility thing off really – but I remain quite happy to be convinced. I can’t help thinking that she’ll make some horrible faux pas – she seems so nervous and lacking in that over confident attitude that being a part of nobility seems to instill. It’s going to be interesting – I would definitely be useless with the cutlery!
      Lynn 😀

    2. Haha, the problem with using too many superfluous forks and such is realizing how much extra time it takes to do the dishes… I know what to do at fancy dinners, but I don’t get to go to them very often, lol, and when I’m on my own I don’t even bother with setting the table.

      1. I’m not a big fan of fancy dinners. I like good food, but served simply. And yes Grace, I hate doing dishes. Currently my table is being used as my desk so I eat on the couch. My coffee table has a top that rises. I’m completely sophisticated in my home.

        1. I think that fancy dinners can be a lot of fun on occasion, but not too often, lol. Although the last “fancy” dinner I went to was buffet style, which was a complete win.

          1. I have a friend in Boston who won’t go to a buffet unless he has trained his stomach to eat as much as possible. It is impressive to watch him…and gross all at the same time.

            If you visit London let me know. I know an awesome pub that has Indian buffets on Fridays. It is some of the best Indian food I’ve had.

  3. I’m with everyone else in hoping that Kelsier doesn’t become overly confident and cocky. I think he is just about right at the moment and I suspect that Sanderson won’t let him get out of hand. I guess we’ll see.

    I am liking Vin, although I know that I don’t want her to be in victim mode for much longer. I don’t want to spend the whole of this book reading about her thoughts about betrayal and being used. I hope to see her grow out of that as the story progresses. I think both characters are in for some rough times, after all there are two more books to go after this one.

    Funny dream! It is good that in your waking reality that your bf is supportive of your Mistborn obsession. 😉

    1. I do like Vin as a character. I think that part of the reason why I like Kelsier more is because he’s so charismatic. Sorta like Kaladin, in a way. When I read his parts I want him to succeed and I get curious about a lot of things. I wonder if we’ll see more of what happened in the Pits.

      Tehe, I’m guessing that within the next week or two my boyfriend will get curious, read Mistborn, and then laugh as I get all worried about what will happen to the characters. 🙂

        1. The Way of Kings was awesome, but I’m liking this one a lot too. Sanderson is able to give a very unique feel to epic fantasy that sets him apart from other similar authors, especially with his worldbuilding.

          I’d probably have to say that while The Way of Kings is my favorite, this one doesn’t disappoint, and has the advantage of being part of a series that is finished.

    1. I feel like Locke is a more rounded character: at the moment Kelsier is just too perfect and powerful. It’s not that I want him to slip up, because I like him, but One of the most endearing things about Locke was his weaknesses: “I just have to wait until Jean gets here!” 😀

  4. This is the problem with having read the book already. I read all the comments and thoughts that all of you have (which are all wonderful by the way) and I keep wanting to explain things but I’m not going to ruin the story for anyone.

    Vin’s faking nobility is one of the more interesting parts of the book, I think they’re fun, well written scenes.

    1. I’m excited to see what happens next. I’m trying very hard not to read ahead because I like being able to speculate about what direction the plot is going to go in.

      I’m looking forward to seeing how Vin is at acting.

      1. Yes, I’m definitely looking forward to seeking Vin’s acting – I’m not sure whether I’m expecting it to be tense, funny or embarassing!
        Lets wait and see and this is definitely why it’s good not to read forward!
        Lynn 😀

    2. I’m guessing the fact that she is supposed to be new in the city will help: if she falls short in manners and such they might just think she’s a country bumpkin. Also, with an endless supply of Luck she might just pull it off! 🙂

  5. I’m kind of hoping Kelsier gets a little too cocky and has to be rescued. It would be good for him. Personal inner growth kind of thing.

    Those Mistborn cloaks are awesome, huh? I love the whole idea… but I also have to wonder if they ever become a hindrance – getting caught on things, etc.

  6. haha, I think it’s awesome that you’re dreaming about it that way. 😀 I just joined the readalong and posted my thoughts today, but I really enjoy the book. For me, I especially like Vin.

    1. She’s definitely an interesting character, and I like finding out more about the world as she does. One of the things that I enjoy about this book so far is that I like both of the point-of-view characters a lot.

  7. Yep, one of my biggest concerns is that Kelsier wil be too confident which will then cause him to error. I like both him and Vin – equally, I think. I look forward to seeing how Vin adapts to her “noble” life. With that said, I think Sazed is interesting.

  8. I like too how allomancy is a conquering and distortion of natural laws rather than “magic” too. It fits with my scientific mind and it makes Kelsier seem strong — though not as invincible as if he had a more all-powerful magic. I’m really into this book too! I’ve read one Sanderson before (Warbreaker) and I’m really impressed with his writing.

    1. The magic system is one of the things I like most about Sanderson’s writing. It makes it feel a bit more like sci-fi than straight fantasy, and it makes the worlds seem more organic when magic is treated as a part of the laws of nature instead of something supernatural and unpredictable.