My honest rating would be more like 3.5 but since I liked the book enough to read the next one in the series, I bumped it up to 4. Brandon Sanderson does a lot of things really well. He spins a hell of an epic yarn and he writes great fight and battle scenes. However I often find his characters fall a little flat for me, which I’ll address later in the review. Overall, the first book in the Mistborn series was engaging and fun and left some interesting plot points that hopefully get addressed in the next book.
The Lord Ruler has presided over The Final Empire for centuries. Beneath him are varying degrees of nobles and beneath them, the ska who are a permanent underclass said to be physically and mentally deficient though it becomes clear very early on that this is not the case. There’s a pretty obvious parallel to American slavery here. Kelsier, a former thief has become a legend by being the only ska sentenced to work in the Pits of Hasthin and escape with his life. He returns to the capital city with newly acquired powers of Allomancy, the power to use magic by burning ingested metals. He reunites with his former thieving crew and Vin a young vagrant with remarkable Allomantic powers with a plan to overthrow The Final Empire and The Lord Ruler. The plan is outrageous and unthinkable but his crew follows him along resulting in an engaging story.
My one quibble with this book, and Sanderson in general is that he can beat you over the head with his characters’ defining traits. Vin is MISTRUSTFUL. Kelsier is IRREVERENT. They are by no means one note but his books might be a hundred or so pages shorter if people didn’t spend so much time dwelling over their natures. Overall though, this and his Stormlight Archive are worthwhile reads. He creates amazing worlds and stories.