This book is a truly awe-inspiring fantasy epic. Its setting is a wholly original world with a mix of Gothic and Victorian influences, some Kung Fu/Matrix-style battle scenes, very believable (and almost worldly possible) systems of "magic", and very relevant philosophies/morals peppered in, resulting in it becoming my #1 favorite sci-fi/fantasy novel.
The story takes place in "The Central Dominance" of "The Final Empire", which is ruled by "The Lord Ruler" who is supposedly immortal, and a sliver of God. The first twist is that the oppressive, tyrant Lord Ruler was the "Epic Hero" who saved the world from an intangible, destructive, evil force. He obviously, however, used his power for evil as he currently dominates all the land, and along with his nobility enslaves the "lesser" race of people, known as "Skaa". Sanderson's story begins with a mysterious living legend named "Kelsier". He survived a death sentence from the Lord Ruler, and now is out to seek revenge, and a changed world for the Skaa, by putting together a crew of the best Skaa outlaws and overthrowing the Final Empire. A task regarded by most as utterly impossible.
The leading lady of this book is "Vin": a 16-year-old, scrawny, timid Skaa thief who is rescued by Kelsier and made part of his crew. They soon realize, however, that she possesses the same intrinsic abilities as Kelsier, so he begins training her in the powers of a "Mistborn".
The primary system of "magic" is called "Allomancy", and it has to do with ingesting flakes/beads of pure metals (pewter, tin, steel, iron, copper, etc.) and then "burning" them-using up their energy for the powers they grant. The most noticeable & powerful power of allomancy is the ability to push/pull metal objects. So they carry around bags of coins, and throw them on the ground in order to push themselves off of the coins and essentially "fly" around the city.
Honestly, I saw very few problems with the story, and those that I did observe were so minute that others might not even see them. Overall this book is almost perfect! It has well-crafted characters, well-written dialogue, well-thought-out plots, scams and intrigue, amazing battles and plenty of jaw-dropping twists to leave the reader feeling as though they're a part of the story and good friends with the characters. I personally found myself very attached, and caring greatly when things happened to them. All in all, this book is AWESOME!
There are two more books in the "Mistborn Series", and Brandon has stated that he would really like to write an offshoot of the Mistborn series set in more modern times. I would recommend this book/series to anyone who enjoyed "The Lies of Locke Lamora" by Scott Lynch. While definitely not as gritty, graphic and vulgar, they do have some things in common. If you're looking for a very original world, with characters you can feel and plots you certainly won't expect, then this book is for you!