Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson, Mistborn readalong

Just finished reading the fourth instalment of the first book in the Mistborn series by Brandon Sanderson for the readalong challenge being hosted by Carl over at Stainless Steel Droppings.  Check out the discussions here and although it’s probably a bit late to join in reading this book we are also going to be reading books No.2 and 3 so it’s never too late to join us.

This week’s reading has been so exciting – only one more week before I find out the conclusion!  Onto this week’s questions: (Whoops!  Forgot to draw your attention to spoilers!!)

1.       Well, we finally got our long awaited view of the Lord Ruler, firstly just a brief glimpse during the executions and then during the fight with Kelsier.  What do you now think about him and the myth’s surrounding him?  And, given his strength do you think he can be beaten?

I’m not sure that I ever really understood that the Lord Ruler was such a very powerful allomancer (or whatever magic it is he’s using).  Working his magic over all those people in the crowd during the executions – most peculiar, not to mention extremely demonstrative!  Also, he finally did put in an appearance – unfortunately – and he does seem fairly invincible.  I was racking my brains for something, some similarity to anything that might give me a clue as to what he is.  The nearest I can come to is a book I recently read about immortals who also couldn’t be killed without a great deal of effort.  I was also intrigued about the Inquisitors interest in Vin.  They are very keen to locate her – clearly the Lord Ruler has something to fear from her but I really don’t know what.  Perhaps she will be the one who can use the eleventh metal.  Anyway, if I didn’t already think he deserved to die (which I did), executing all those people and then killing Kelsier has certainly not improved my mood towards him at all!  Do I think he’s invincible – last week I said I thought he could be beaten and so foolish consistency it may be but I’m going to stick with that theory.

2.       We seemed to suffer a number of set backs to the plans this week.  The army had already been all but destroyed and following a bit of a rethink/regroup/coming up with a Plan B things still have gone disastrously astray.  What do you think the Crew will do now??

Well, the crew already seemed to be losing their will to stick together.  But, I can’t help wondering whether Kel’s sacrifice might provoke other people to rise up.  Perhaps he will become a martyr.  I think Vin is going to have to step up and be tested now and hopefully she’ll be able to hold everyone together.

3.       What was your reaction to Kelsier’s response to finding Marsh dead?  I can’t help feeling that there are going to be some serious economic repercussions to destroying the crystals – what sort of impact do you think this will have, not just on the nobles but on the Skaa?

I could totally understand his reaction and to a certain extent I was thinking good (in fact I had a bit of a punch the air type of moment) – now he’s going to get some payback!  (Which he did by striking out at what would hurt the Lord Ruler most).  That being said, I’ve got a bad feeling about this plus the Skaa then got it in the neck again. I think somewhere deep inside I can’t help wondering what the Lord Ruler is using all that Atrium for?  He doesn’t come out of his lair very often so surely he can’t be using it all for magic – I can only think he’s using it somehow to keep the mists and the darkness at bay.  We might regret not having the atrium.  It will certainly have an effect on the nobility – particularly House Venture.  I’m not sure about the Skaa – at least they won’t have to work down the mines again?

4.       Finally, each week we learn a little bit more of the Lord Ruler’s history.  And each week it has a different impact.  This week’s snippets had the same impact – I was really interested in the excerpt when he mentions that the Darkness is not as oppressive when higher up in the mountains – do you have any more ideas about the Darkness?

I find these little stories fascinating and fluctuate between thinking the Lord Ruler really did change as a result of his role and the length of time he’s endured and reverting back to thinking he’s a raging monster.  Did he really start out relatively normal and become like this or was he always just a raging ego maniac.  I wonder why he seems to fear Vin and can’t help thinking maybe there was something in the prophecy that he is trying to hide.

5.       (I did have another query – but it might be too much??)  I was wondering about Elend and Vin – they’ve also had their ups and downs this week but seem determined to work round them – can you see anything of a future for these two or is there too much history between the nobles and Skaa and too much difference and prejudice between the two?

I was really surprised at first when Elend gave Vin the big elbow – then I remembered he’d been having her followed and thought she was spying on him – even so though I was really shocked – and he was sitting at his family’s table.  What the hell is wrong with his dad?  What a rat!  Anyway, back to the point.  I liked the way that Elend then came around to thinking he didn’t mind too much if Vin was just trying to rob him.  I also thought it was an eye opening moment when he was trying to help Vin – when he thought she was part of the captured Skaa being taken for execution.  I hope they can find a way to make it work and because I like to have a happy ending I’m going to imagine that this is the case!  Time will tell.

Final Empire, Mistborn Book One readalong, week 3

This week we’ve been reading Chapters 16 to 25 for our group readalong hosted by Carl over at Stainless Steel Droppings.  Check out the details here and it’s probably not too late to take part or to join in with the discussions if you’ve already read the novel.  Questions this week were provided by Grace and be warned not to read further if you don’t want any spoilers.

I’ve really enjoyed this week’s reading and can’t wait for the discussion this week.

1.  During the past week there’s been a lot of speculation as to the quotes at the beginning of each chapter.  Now that we finally know the answer, does it change anyone’s opinions of the Lord Ruler?

It’s very intriguing.  At the start of the readalong I was actually reading the quotes but not really giving them a great deal of attention to be honest.  I only went back to check them out because there was speculation about who the quotes were from – at that point I hadn’t even considered that they were from one of the characters we were reading about.  I think this is a great way of incorporating another storyline.  I’ve had to go back to the beginning to reread the quotes and piece together the little story that’s taking shape.  What a great idea.  We’re not getting to see the Lord Ruler and so far he’s a big mystery which all adds to the speculation about him but now we have this story within the story it’s really very interesting. I wouldn’t say that learning a little more of the Lord Ruler’s story is making me like him anymore but perhaps it starts to give him a bit more of an identity – you can see that he didn’t start this way and maybe living for two thousand years would be enough to make anybody a bit jaded (no, still don’t like him)!.  I certainly want to find out what actually took place and I’m interested by these mists/shadows that are mentioned.  Perhaps, the Lord Ruler was the first person to be born a mistborn but without direction he didn’t know how to use his powers or perhaps he found this ‘eleventh’ metal that nobody else seems to know of and has used that to become immortal. It feels to me like Sanderson is now taking us down the path of ‘can we really trust Kelsier’?  The Lord Ruler didn’t seem to always be the monster he is now known as and so will Kelsier’s inevitable saviour status corrupt him also.  I’m not sure that I believe that at the moment.  I can see that Kelsier is becoming a little bit enamoured with his new ‘celebrity’ status but he still seems to listen to the rest of his crew.  Anyway, I’m eager to find out – I wonder whether the recently discovered book that Sazed is translating will reveal something important or essential about the Lord Ruler??

2.  What did you think of Elend’s group of subversive nobles?  Do you think that Kelsier is right to dismiss people who could be potential allies, or is this another case of his anti-nobility biases showing?

I suppose to a certain extent I can’t help thinking Kelsier is not in a strong enough position to dismiss any potential allies, but, saying that is easier said than done.  It would be incredibly difficult to relay your plans about overthrowing the Lord Ruler to a bunch of the nobility – they’re his little favourites after all and even though they might have squabbling between themselves they have very easy and indulgent lives (at the Lord Ruler’s whim) and they have a lot to lose.  Plus the skaa are nothing to them.  There are a few with consciences (or so it appears) but are they going to get on board with a situation which potentially loses them their workforce or their lives?  Despite that, I do like Elend, I’m not totally sure he’s going to be a man of action – maybe he’s going to uncover something important with all his reading.  I can’t help thinking that reading is going to play a part her somewhere – we keep being told about all Elend’s reading and now Sazed with his translation of this all mysterious book!

3.  What’s your favorite part of the book so far?

Well, this is a really difficult one to answer!  Every week I’m totally surprised to find I’ve liked this week’s chapters more than the last – even though I really liked the earlier parts as well!  I’m particularly enjoying watching Vin’s development.  Not only is she becoming more confident in her own abilities but she’s actually starting to enjoy the company of the rest of the crew and to feel like a part of something.  She even had a brief spell of reflecting about her brother and wishing he’d had a chance to experience something similar.  I like the fact that she likes Elend and wants to think the best of him and will actually come straight to the point and ask her questions.  But, I like the most the interaction with her and Sazed.  Their discussion in the library was good to read and I also liked that she actually asked Sazed before she used her allomancy when following Elend at the last Ball she attended – they both seem to be developing a mutual trust and it’s good to see.

4.  Now that Kelsier’s plan has hit some major stumbling blocks, what do you think will happen next?  Do you think he can still succeed in defeating the Lord Ruler?

I actually do think that the Lord Ruler will be defeated and Kelsier and his crew are just going to have to come up with a Plan B – quickly.  But, the only reason I feel so confident about this is because of the name of the book ‘Final Empire’ which is probably a bit goofy of me but there it is!

Bonus:  For anyone who has read “The Way of Kings,” were you surprised at all to see Hoid pop up?  What do you think of his role here?  Unfortunately I haven’t yet read The Way of Kings so can’t comment on this one.

Good questions Grace, thanks.

Lynn

Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson, Mistborn readalong week 2

Just finished reading this week’s Chapters for the Mistborn readalong being hosted by Carl at Stainless Steel Droppings.  If you’re not taking part there’s still time to join in the fun or just to become involved with the discussions.  Check out this link and whilst you’re there take a look at Carl’s Once Upon a Time event.

Well, I really enjoyed this week’s read, again.  It was very interesting and compelling, new characters and also I had what I thought was a bit of a revelation (for me) although it’s probably all wrong!  I was getting towards the end of the designated chapters – probably No.14 or something like that – and I was reading the little introductory story at the start of the chapter and it came into my mind (and I don’t know why) that maybe these little snippets were actually related to the Lord Ruler?  Now that’s probably a stupid idea but it got me thinking and so I went back and read the previous chapter beginnings from the start to our current point and it’s actually telling a story of sorts – I hadn’t realised that as I was reading along because I read the snippet and by the time I get to the next chapter I don’t remember the content and so hadn’t realised they were connected – I originally thought that there were all random thoughts from different people involved in the story but now I think it’s the same person and one story – has anybody else noticed that at all?  Anyway, moving over to the questions which this week were provided by TBM my answers are below (stop reading now if you haven’t read as there will be spoilers ahead).

1.  The nobility, the skaa, and the Lord Ruler have integral roles in the novel and yet we haven’t really interacted with them much.  Do you think there is a reason for this?  Have you formed an opinion about them?

I wonder if we have had so little interaction at the moment in order to maintain a sense of mystery.  Particularly in relation to the Lord Ruler.  I’m finding it difficult to believe that he’s immortal for example and can’t help wondering if he has some sort of secret device or other means or regenerating himself?  I suppose the less we know the more our minds will run rampant looking for explanations.  I like that about Sanderson’s way of storytelling.  The other thing that I’m really enjoying about Sanderson’s storytelling is just that he has this brilliant way of making me feel as though I’m on the same wavelength as him (which I’m pretty sure I’m not), but, what I mean about that, is I read something and think (‘well, why/where/when,etc) and within a few pages or lines even he’s explaining away my query.  It’s great – it’s as though he’s reading my mind and answering my thoughts as we go along (virtual reading!).

2.  Religion plays a vital role in the story.  What is your opinion about the role of religion under the Lord Ruler?  What do you think of Sazed’s role as a Keeper.

I think the Lord Ruler uses religion as a device to keep his subjects in tow.  I think the Lord Ruler has probably made up or fashioned some kind of religious story about himself in order to make himself seem invincible.  So, in that respect the religion is very important to him.  I’m not sure that everyone buy’s into it and there have been hints to the contrary which brings us to Sazed.  I don’t think he believes for one minute the Lord Ruler’s hype.  I think that’s why he’s always telling people about the many other religions that have been lost to the past.  I get the feeling that he’s trying to demonstrate that people want to have something to believe in.  They need to have faith that there is more than just ‘this’.  And, I think he’s alluding to the fact that the Lord Ruler’s religion is similar in that respect – it’s really a story that he’s surrounded himself with.  What is interesting about this religion though is that there is no love for it.  The ska are mainly ruled by fear and they may believe the Lord Ruler’s religion (or maybe they are too browbeaten to disbelieve it) but it is simply fear that controls them.  Actually thinking into that a little more I suppose many religions have the ‘fear’ aspect – ‘do this’ – and ‘this’ will happen/go to hell/internal damnation, etc, etc – but most religions are loved by their followers??  I don’t think you could even accuse the Ska of loving the Lord Ruler.  Not really sure what point I’m now getting at!!  I suppose on reflection the Lord Ruler knew what he was doing when he made himself a God and he’s proved himself to be rather canny in terms of self-promotion and marketing!  In terms of Sazed – I think he has the potential to turn into one of my favourite characters (without a doubt).  He is brilliant as a keeper and I love his patience and his overall attitude.  Everyone could do with a friend/keeper like him.

3.  Are you for/against/or ambivalent about Kelsier’s plan to overthrow the Lord Ruler?  Do you think his heart is in the right place or is it just revenge? 

It’s strange to admit but I’m almost complacent about the plan to overthrow the Lord Ruler.  Not that I don’t want Kelsier, Vin and the rest of the crew to succeed, but I feel so wrapped up in the minutiae of what’s actually taking place that it’s almost as though I’ve lost sight of the bigger picture.  I will just point out that I say this in a good way.  I’m enjoying the story and just waiting to see how it develops.  I do think Kelsier’s heart is in the right place.  I’m sure there is an element of revenge, because frankly how could there not be, but I think he’s always had a sort of mission in his mind – he did after all get captured trying to break into the Lord Ruler’s secret chambers – and this was well before he had any reasons for revenge.  Plus he comes across as a bit of a softie – which isn’t always a good thing!  He definitely could have done with being a bit firmer with Vin over his latest mission – it almost got her killed after all.  And I got the impression he was feeling very guilty about that and turning round with the excuse ‘she followed me and is very stubborn’ doesn’t really cut it when you consider his age and experience.  (Although I will admit she is a tenacious little so and so!)

4.  Vin and Kelsier are the main characters of the novel, yet there are many characters.  Is there a certain character who intrigues you more than the others?   

I’m enjoying the development of Vin and Kelsier.  I particularly enjoyed watching Vin’s first performance as a noblewoman which brings me nicely onto the two characters that really intrigue me.  Sayed and Lord Elend Venture.  I think that learning more about Sayed’s history will be very revealing to how this world became as it is.  And, I have a feeling that Lord Venture is set to maybe play a bigger part.

I can’t wait to read on and find out how horribly wrong I am!!  LOL

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