Mistborn

During the night, the world belongs to the mist, and the creatures that dwell within. It terrifies people, for it feels as if it swallowed them. Yet there are some, those capable of burning metal, that also call it their home.

Spoilers ahead.

Mistborn is a fantasy book about a teen discovering her new powers and being dragged into a revolution. But, perhaps most interesting, is a book that presents a refreshing and interesting magic system, despite the years.

In the first and the second book, which is what I have read so far, two systems are explained in some detail. The first one, Allomancy,  which is the one Vin (the protagonist) uses, relies on the user burning metals within them to affect either themselves or the world around them. Burning tin, for example, makes them see better while burning pewter makes their body stronger. Naturally, people consume solutions containing the metals so that they can later burn them – and if they run out, they will be vulnerable, as feeble as a regular person.

The system is well explained throughout the book, presenting us with more knowledge as the character obtain it. It is particularly refreshing and captivating, however, because it is established enough that the reader could even formulate what kind of experiments should be done to learn more about them – experiments much like the ones later performed by some characters.

The other system is much more peculiar and obscure, fitting of those who, for the most part, can wield it. In Feruchemy, a person stores attributes in their respective metal, allowing them to be recalled at a later date. Unlike Allomancy, in which the user relies on the power of the metal being released as it burns, in Feruchemy the user draws upon the stored attribute within the metals. This allows Feruchemy to differentiate itself and establish its own limitations: only what you stored can be withdrawn, but the rate at which is withdrawn has no limit.

Feruchemy is used, for the most part, by scholars who wish to record their memories in metal so they don’t decay with time, and to preserve untold knowledge until the time comes to teach it to the people of the land. But there is only so much it can be of use for other tasks as a person needs to store the very power they are to withdraw, with no possibility of sharing said power.

Perhaps a bigger feat, and a mark of a good writer, Brandom then proceeded to show some of the natural results from continued use of said powers. The allomantic road, for example, which essentially consists of a series of metal bars anchored to the ground, allowing a Mistborn to travel between two points by way of pushing against and pulling towards those metal bars.

I can’t help but marvel at these two systems and just how much sense they make without becoming an overly complicated, impenetrable mess of pseudo-science while still retaining that academic side to it. And, of course, how their existence affect the world.

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