I tend to shy away from so-called "epic fantasy" novels due to their long-winded nature and the fact that it takes too terribly long for the authors to tackle world building. While Sanderson's Mistborn does not come across as true epic fantasy, it was still closer than I generally care to trek. However, I actually quite enjoyed my time with Sanderson's Mistborn world and characters.
I was surprised to find that the main character of the novel is in fact a female, a street kid to boot. I was apprehensive with a male's ability to properly convey a female, especially one at the age of sixteen, but Sanderson tiptoes around this dilemma by making Vin very much a tomboy. As she begins to explore the high society life she begins feeling more like a girl but it is never fully convincing, but the tomboy aspect makes this work. I did wish that Vin would have spent less time in the orphan and woe-is-me stage than she did, it became tiresome at times. I also felt Vin could have benefited by a bit more maturity as a character.
I would not consider myself one that cares overly about world building, I care more about characters and plots. But I really enjoyed Sanderson's Mistborn world which is seemingly quite like ours, at least until the Lord Ruler took over. There were allusions to a green world with flowers and such while the current state of the world is brown and lifeless with ash falling often. I wish some aspects were explained more, such as the ash and weather systems (since it does apparently snow). I also liked Allomancy and how it was incorporated into the story. It was a different kind of magic than I have been exposed to and I found it quite interesting. However, I felt Sanderson spent too much time explaining it when it was clearly established previously. The Allomancy made fight scenes bearable for me as one that dislikes fight scenes in general.
I loved the characters of Kelsier and Sazed. Sazed was a calming presence for Vin and the book as a whole I felt. As for Elend, the "love" interest I suppose, although there was little to no actual romantic element to the book, despite the "Romantic Times" misleading review. I did not expect romance in an "epic" fantasy book but I do have a problem with such a misleading review! (Why choose Romantic Times of all things?) I felt Elend was a strong character and I look forward to seeing how he grows in the other books. I did, however, feel there were scenes that should have been included regarding Elend that were ignored, such as how he ended up in key locations. For all the scenes explaining Allomancy, I would have traded a few to get a greater look into Elend's world. I think it would have added strength to the book and character. I really enjoyed Elend and Vin's interactions. There was a splash of humor here and there in the book, often with Elend and Vin.
I must complain about the ending, it felt terribly rushed. Some parts of the book felt like they dragged a bit so there certainly could have been a more thorough ending. Too much seemed to line up perfectly and then suddenly we are at the end. I did, however, figure out the big secret of the ending earlier in the book which was a tad disappointing. I would have preferred to be wrong so I could have been surprised.
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed The Final Empire and made it through quickly in order to see what would happen next-always a good sign. However, I am in no rush for book two (although I will read it). I wish Sanderson had left me with more of a "What happens next?!?!" attitude, but unfortunately he did not.