The Final Empire  - Brandon Sanderson Having now finished the whole Mistborn-trilogy, I'd nominate these books the best epic fantasy I read in the year 2012.A thousand years ago, the story world was in some mysterious danger (what exactly, you'll find out in the third book, [b:The Hero of Ages|2767793|The Hero of Ages (Mistborn, #3)|Brandon Sanderson|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1312051231s/2767793.jpg|2793516]), and the alleged saviour became a tyrannic emperor-god, the Lord Ruler (still on the throne). The world itself is in a rather bad state - ash is falling all the time, everything's covered in it, and at night, most people hide behind closed doors and windows, because outside, there's a thick and scary fog populated by dangerous creatures. The common people (skaa) are oppressed, basically slaves who have to work for the nobles (usually under threat of beating or death) - and since such a situation has lasted for centuries, the skaa are broken and submissive. The nobles, on the other hand, have a pretty good life.People with noble blood may inherit special magic powers, allomancy. Allomancers can swallow metals and then "burn" them, which gives them the ability to use magic powers (as long as there's still metal left in the body). The magic system is very well thought out and doesn't make it too easy for the characters to use magic - there's only certain alloys that can be used, to every alloy corresponds a specific ability (like physical strength and dexterity, influencing other people's emotions, etc). In order to master allomancy, one has to train a lot, and the allomancer always has to have a supply of metals at hand. Most of the allomancers can only use one metal (and only have one magic power), but there's some people, mistborn, who can burn all different kinds of metals.The story centers around a group of skaa criminals - at least that's their background. Since they all have a drop of noble blood in them, they're all allomancers. The main characters are Kelsier (mistborn, an incurable optimist who wants to get back at the Lord Ruler for killing his wife) and Vin (also a mistborn, a young girl who grew up on the street and has trouble with trusting people because of past experiences, but who's clever and a survivor). Under Kelsier's lead, the crew is planning their hardest gig ever - to lead a skaa revolution and remove the Lord Ruler from throne. And so, the adventure begins.The book is very exciting - although the story moves relatively slowly, I was never bored. There's constant tension, although not that much action (but the few existing action scenes are incredibly well described and gripping). The author doesn't use too much description, but the reader gets a good picture of the world. There's a bit of romance, some (mostly political) philosophy... What else would you want from a fantasy book? :) If I wanted to criticize something, the very end solution wasn't quite believable for me, but there'll be some reasoning for that in the next book.To conclude - in the book, there's lots of original ideas and few clich├ęs, sympathetic and believable characters, excitement and magic. I'd recommend it to any fan of classical fantasy.By the way, on [a:Brandon Sanderson|38550|Brandon Sanderson|http://d.gr-assets.com/authors/1201547425p2/38550.jpg]'s home page, you'll find lots of additional information on his books, including a commentary to every chapter of the book. It's worth reading!This review has also been published in Estonian in the blog Fantaasiajuttude muljed.