This is the second Brandon Sanderson book we got. It is the first of a trilogy, so he does follow some of the Fantasy trends. This was a really good book. It is over 600 pages and I read it in only a few days.
I have read the author's web page and he says he likes to create unique, very specific magic systems. I say specific because he creates definite rules about how it works and then follows them carefully. A lot of fantasy is done with wave-of-the-hand type magic where whenever the author wants something to happen, they can have magic do it. I think it is a lazy habit. Brandon Sanderson is definitely not a lazy author. His site is amazing in the details of the writing process he puts in it. This might have something to do with the fact that he taught (I'm not sure if he still does) creative writing at BYU.
This book takes on the whole evil overlord overthrown by prophecy thing. What happens if the evil overlord wins? that is a bit simpler than what actually happens, but that is the scenario as the book opens. Slaves and continual ashes, people that don't believe it when told that plants used to be green. I liked that touch. Sanderson works very hard at creating a complete world. And amazingly enough, his plot and characterization are good too.
That is one of the problems I had with Robert Jordan, he got a bit repetitive and seemed to cut and paste whenever characters needed to be re-introduced. The lead in this book is a teen aged girl and it was nice to read a book with a female protagonist that didn't have sex on every other page. Some Fantasy has so much blood and gore that I can stomach it, and others are just thinly disguised pornography, an excuse for leather clothing.
Sanderson is interesting in that you can tell how hard he works to get it right, after you are done, but not while you are actually reading it. Some authors wrench their metaphors so much you are pulled out of the story, Leven Thumps for example, but every thing works smoothly in this book.
Though I've got to say, the cover art is really weird. But I have decided that cover art doesn't have a lot to do with the actual book in a lot of cases. I wonder if artists actually read the book, or get summaries that they work from? I guess it depends on the artist.
Mistborn. Brandon Sanderson. Tor. 2006