Mistborn series

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"Mistborn" redirects here. For the first book in the Mistborn trilogy, see Mistborn: The Final Empire. For the fictional ability to burn all Allomantic metals, see Allomancer.
Mistborn series
Ebook cover of the original trilogy
Author Brandon Sanderson
Illustrator Isaac Stewart
Country United States
Language English
Genre High fantasy
Publisher Tor Fantasy
Published 2006 - present
Media type Print (hardcover and paperback)

Mistborn is a series of epic fantasy novels written by American author Brandon Sanderson and published by Tor Books. The series consists of the original trilogy of Mistborn: The Final Empire, Mistborn: The Well of Ascension, and Mistborn: The Hero of Ages published between 2006 and 2008, followed by a sequel set 300 years later,[1] titled Mistborn: The Alloy of Law[1] released on 8 November 2011.[2][3][4] The sequel sets the stage for the second trilogy in the series, yet to be published.

Books in the series[edit]

# Title Pages Chapters Words Publication date Trilogy
1 Mistborn: The Final Empire 541 38 213,000 July 17, 2006 Original Trilogy
2 Mistborn: The Well of Ascension 590 59 245,000 August 21, 2007 Original Trilogy
3 Mistborn: The Hero of Ages 572 82 234,000 October 14, 2008 Original Trilogy
4 Mistborn: The Alloy of Law 336 20 85,000 November 8, 2011 Standalone Wax and Wayne Novel
5 Mistborn: Shadows of Self 384 26 115,000 October 6, 2015[5] Wax and Wayne Trilogy
6 Mistborn: Bands of Mourning January 2016 Wax and Wayne Trilogy
7 Mistborn: The Lost Metal (Working Title)[6] Wax and Wayne Trilogy


The series primarily takes place in a region called the Final Empire on a world called Scadrial. One thousand years before the story begins, the king of the Final Empire, the Lord Ruler, gained access to a divine power at what is called the Well of Ascension.[7] With this power he remade the world and everything in it into its state at the beginning of the first book. In the Final Empire a Dominance is a territory within the Lord Ruler's empire.

Luthadel is the capital of the Central Dominance and the entire Final Empire. Luthadel is the heart of the Lord Ruler's power, as well as the site of his palace, Kredik Shaw. Before the Lord Ruler remade the world, Luthadel was a mountainous region known as Terris. To hide the true location of Old Terris and the Well of Ascension, the Lord Ruler moved the mountains elsewhere and named that region "Terris" instead. Terris is the ancestral home of the Terris people. It is a mountainous region located north of the Northern Dominance. The Terris Dominance is the only Dominance to retain its original name. It was historically the home of the Well of Ascension. Urteau is a key crossroads city in the Northern Dominance. It was the traditional seat of House Venture although the family is based mainly in the capital. Later it came under the control of a Skaa dominated government led by a man calling himself 'the Citizen'. Urteau is also famous for its canals that mysteriously ran dry. It plays a key role in the third novel. Fadrex City is an important cross roads city in the Western Dominance. Although all cities outside of Luthadel are forbidden from having walls, Fadrex City has a natural rock formation that makes it very defensible. Lord Cett made this city his base after the fall of the Lord Ruler for this very reason.

The nobility are the descendants of the early supporters of the Lord Ruler. The Lord Ruler gave them the gift of Allomancy because of their support, through a substance that exists only in the Well of Ascension. The Allomantic power has been passed down through the generations, but their Allomantic gifts have grown weaker over the years. "Mistings" have only one of the many Allomantic powers, while "Mistborns" have all the powers. At first there were few Mistings, but now Mistings far outnumber Mistborn. Allomancy is the main reason the interbreeding of nobles and skaa was made illegal by the Lord Ruler. The Lord Ruler had more control over the Nobles, so he didn't want the skaa to have Allomancy. Skaa are the descendants of the people who did not support the Lord Ruler when he first came to power. During the reign of the Lord Ruler they were oppressed slaves treated brutally, with the law stating they belong to the Lord Ruler but loaned to the nobility for work. There were multiple skaa rebellions over the centuries, but they never came close to succeeding. All skaa Allomancers have some noble blood.

Before the Ascension of the Lord Ruler weapons technology had progressed to the invention of gunpowder. At the beginning of his reign the Lord Ruler deliberately suppressed knowledge of gunpowder and most other advances. This was done to prevent technology undermining his military strength and being used against him in rebellions. This left only archers as the only long-range military option, and it left skaa rebellions at a disadvantage because archers require considerable training. The only major advance since the Lord Ruler's reign started is the invention of canned food.

Kandra are highly intelligent life forms without distinct shape, physically resembling Mistwraith in their natural form, however, they are shapeshifters. The prime function of the kandra are as spies, because of their notable ability to imitate any being. They can consume dead creatures, memorizing and replicating the physical traits perfectly. The First Generation of kandra were converted by the Lord Ruler, from pre-Ascension Terris Worldbringers, the sect of spiritual leaders and Feruchemists, resulting in the kandra calling him "Father".[8][9] Worldbringers mainly used their Feruchemical abilities creating copperminds to store knowledge as religious philosophers and scholars.

Mistwraiths are concentrated mistforms and mindless scavengers with the ability to add the bones of creatures they consume to their own forms. They are part of the reason why Skaa fear the mists. Named the Unbirthed by Kandra, the Mistwraiths can become Kandra. Koloss are of Ruin and are violent creatures that kill, with superhuman strength that grow to a maximum height of about 13 feet, at which point their hearts cannot support their bulk and they die. They only have two emotional states: boredom and rage.

The three Metallic Arts symbolize the three Realms of Existence; Cognitive Realm, Physical Realm, Spiritual Realm. Allomancy is of Preservation. In the rational case of Allomancy, net power is gained. It is provided by an external source, Preservation's own energy. Hemalurgy is of Ruin. It destroys. By taking abilities from one person and giving them to another—in reduced amounts—power is actually lost. In line with Ruin's own appointed purpose—breaking down the universe into smaller and smaller pieces—Hemalurgy gives great gifts, but at a high cost. Feruchemy is the power of Balance. Of the three powers of the metallic arts, only it was known to men before the conflict between Preservation and Ruin came to a head. In Feruchemy, power is stored up, then later drawn upon. There is no loss of energy—just a changing of the time and rate of its use.[10] Terrismen or Terriswomen with Feruchemical abilities are called Keepers. Not all Terris were Feruchemists only very few. Each Keeper has a specific field of knowledge on which they focus, but all Keepers carry all of the previous Keeper's knowledge.

The term "Twinborn" was not introduced until the fourth book. A Twinborn is a person with one Allomantic power and one Feruchemical power. There is no relation between the Allomantic and Feruchemical metals of a Twinborn and most of them have different ones. A Twinborn having the same Allomantic and Feruchemical affinities significantly enhances both, even if the abilities themselves are unrelated.[11] It also allows Compounding, where an allomancer burns a metalmind which provides significantly more feruchemical effect than the charge of the metalmind.[12]

Preservation and Ruin are the two opposing gods of the Mistborn world, Scadrial. They are described as Shards of Adonalsium; fragments of the power of creation. Preservation and Ruin agree to a pact between gods, with an initial stalemate between them, each aware that only together could they create and achieve their separate goals while knowing they would never gain complete final satisfaction. Preservation could not keep things perfect and unchanging and Ruin could not destroy completely. Ruin is of destruction, without malice but intent on reducing everything to molecular level. Imprisoned by Preservation in an attempt to prevent Ruin from destroying the world, Ruin's consciousness was trapped by the Well of Ascension, kept mostly impotent. Ruin's remaining strength enables it with small powers to alter writing and Feruchemical Memories, but not writing inscribed in metal or normal memories. It was Preservation that wanted to create life on Scadrial, but he needed Ruin's help to do so. In exchange for Ruin's help, Preservation promised that Ruin would be allowed to destroy everything one day. However, after they had succeeded in creating the world, Preservation reneged on its bargain and sacrificed a significant portion of its power forever to create the Well of Ascension as a prison for Ruin to prevent the destruction of the world.

The Steel Ministry is the name of the religion that the Lord Ruler established for everyone else to worship him. The Lord Ruler allowed the Nobles to control most aspects of the empire, such as the production of resources, but he used the Steel Ministry to control the Nobles. The Steel Ministry had two groups of people used to control different aspects of society; Steel Inquisitors and Obligators. Inquisitors are creatures of Ruin; their powers gained through Hemalurgy. An Inquisitor is created when several Hemalurgic spikes are pounded through a Feruchemist or an Allomancer into the body of a human, usually an allomancer or an existing Inquisitor. The obligators were drawn from the ranks of nobles, usually Allomancers and are trained in the arts of bureaucracy and the teachings of the Steel Ministry. They are marked by tattoos which decorate their face and body; the more tattooed an obligator is, the higher his rank. They served as witnesses for every possible legal contract (e.g., business deals and marriages), which meant that they were privy to all happenings among the nobles. This gave the Lord Ruler great control over the nobility, as any contract not witnessed by one of his obligators did not officially take place.

The Church of the Survivor worships Kelsier, who served as its first martyr, and thus Vin, as the Heir to The Survivor, and Kelsier's 'disciple', was also worshiped. Kelsier created the Church as the means of spreading Hope for freedom and equality in the Skaa so they would finally rebel. With his death, the Skaa turned their devotion to Vin and Sazed, who are unsure of their own beliefs and initially uncomfortable with the worshiping masses. There are a number of other religions in the series which are studied for historical and philosophical purposes only. Sazed is a Terris Keeper whose specialty is in pre-Ascension religions. Sazed mentions that the Keepers recorded at least five hundred and sixty-two different belief systems including sects and branches of the same religions in their metalminds. However, none are currently practiced as the Lord Ruler has suppressed them.


In the Mistborn universe, magic is depicted as a supernatural force harnessed by three distinct disciplines: Allomancy, Feruchemy, and Hemalurgy.


Allomancy allows users to gain magical powers by swallowing and "burning" specific metals. These users are known as Allomancers. Allomancers manifest in two forms: those who can use one of the Allomantic powers, known as Mistings; and those who can use all of the Allomantic powers, known as Mistborn. Allomancy is described as a genetic trait that only manifests after an extreme emotional experience, referred to as a Snapping.

Each of the Allomantic metals confers a specific power. Not all metals have Allomantic value; it is mentioned that burning a metal without Allomantic power can severely injure the user. Metals are grouped into fours by theme; within each group, metals are classified as either internal or external and either pushing or pulling.

Basic Allomantic Metals
Metal Effect Theme Internal/External Push/Pull Misting Title
Iron Pulls on nearby metals Physical External Pull Lurcher
Steel Pushes on nearby metals Physical External Push Coinshot
Tin Enhances senses Physical Internal Pull Tineye
Pewter Enhances physical abilities Physical Internal Push Pewterarm or Thug
Zinc Inflames Emotions Mental External Pull Rioter
Brass Soothes emotions Mental External Push Soother
Bronze Detects Allomancy Mental Internal Pull Seeker
Copper Hides Allomancy Mental Internal Push Smoker

Over the course of the series, other Allomantic metals are discovered and used by the protagonists.

Higher Allomantic Metals
Metal Effect Theme Internal/External Push/Pull Misting Title
Cadmium Slows time around user Temporal External Pull Pulser
Bendalloy Speeds time around user Temporal External Push Slider
Gold See own past Temporal Internal Pull Augur
Electrum See own future (negates Atium) Temporal Internal Push Oracle
Chromium Drains others' metal reserves Enhancement External Pull Leecher
Nicrosil Consumes others' metal for burst of power Enhancement External Push Nicroburst
Aluminum Drains own metal reserves Enhancement Internal Pull Aluminum Gnat
Duralumin Consumes own metal for burst of power Enhancement Internal Push Duralumin Gnat

Finally, two special fictional metals are encountered in the series, and are discovered to be the coalesced power of gods in the Mistborn universe.

God Allomantic Metals
Metal Effect
Atium Sees the future of others
Malatium Sees the past of others
Lerasium User becomes Mistborn

It is erroneously believed by the protagonists during the course of The Final Empire that atium and gold are paired. Another metal, known as "the Eleventh Metal," is believed by Kelsier to be a weakness of the Lord Ruler, though it is eventually revealed to be malatium, an alloy of atium and gold. Burning malatium allows the user to see the past of others, an ability used by Vin to deduce the Lord Ruler's identity. Sanderson has revealed that atium and lerasium can be alloyed with each of the sixteen normal Allomantic metals to create new metals with new effects.


The original trilogy is the first in what Sanderson calls a "trilogy of trilogies." The second trilogy will be set in an urban setting, featuring modern technology. The sequel Mistborn: The Alloy of Law is not a start to the second trilogy but is rather a stand-alone short novel.[13] However, Sanderson's announcement on August 1, 2012 to write a sequel to Mistborn: The Alloy of Law, titled Shadows of Self,[14] means it will not stay a stand-alone novel, but it will not necessarily turn into the second trilogy.[15]

In other media[edit]

Role-playing game[edit]

In early 2009, Brandon Sanderson announced he was working with Crafty Games to release a role-playing game based on the series. While the release date was originally placed as "sometime in 2009", it has been since quoted as fall, 2010.[16]

The RPG was originally scheduled to be released in November 2011 to coincide with the release of the fourth Mistborn novel Alloy of Law.[17] The Mistborn Adventure Game was released in December 2011 in PDF, softcover, and hardcover editions.[17]


In January 2010, Brandon Sanderson announced that he had optioned the rights to the Mistborn books to Paloppa Pictures LLC.[18] In Q1 of 2014 Paloppa Pictures' option ran out.[19]

Video game[edit]

In March 2012, a video game prequel called Mistborn: Birthright was announced slated for a fall 2013 release. The game had been delayed until 2015[14] to take advantage of the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, but is now due to be released in Fall 2016.[20][21][22] Developed by Little Orbit, Brandon Sanderson wrote the story of the game.[23]


  • Forbes magazine praises all of the books in the Mistborn series saying, "The narrative is crafted with such bloody precision, it’s nearly impossible to put the books down." [24]


  1. ^ a b "Tweets November 12–19.". Brandonsanderson.com. 2010-11-19. Retrieved 2010-11-24. 
  2. ^ "Mistborn: The Alloy of Law Cover & Details Emerge!". Tor.com. Retrieved 2011-03-18. 
  3. ^ "Brandon Sanderson continuing Mistborn with The Alloy of Law". SFScope. December 3, 2010. Retrieved December 4, 2010. 
  4. ^ "Tweets November 5–11 part 2.". Brandonsanderson.com. 2010-11-11. Retrieved 2010-11-24. 
  5. ^ "Mistborn Fans Will Get TWO New Novels Next Year!". Tor.com. Macmillan Publishers Ltd. Retrieved 18 December 2014. 
  6. ^ Sanderson, Brandon. "State of the Sanderson: December 2014". brandonsanderson.com. Retrieved 18 December 2014. 
  7. ^ The Well of Ascension at The Coppermind wiki
  8. ^ "Lord Ruler - The Coppermind - 17th Shard". The Coppermind. 2013-08-02. Retrieved 2013-09-30. 
  9. ^ "Worldbringers - The Coppermind - 17th Shard". The Coppermind. 2012-12-15. Retrieved 2013-09-30. 
  10. ^ "Metallic Arts - The Coppermind - 17th Shard". The Coppermind. 2013-09-17. Retrieved 2013-09-30. 
  11. ^ in The Alloy of Law, Miles "Hundredlives" Dagouter is able to heal much faster than a normal bloodmaker due to being a pure-gold Twinborn
  12. ^ Compounding is why the Lord Ruler tried to destroy Terris people: he tried to avoid mixing allomantic powers and feruchemical ones (aside from himself being both Mistborn and Feruchemist)
  13. ^ "Another Long and Rambling Post on Future Books". BrandonSanderson.com. Retrieved 2010-10-13. 
  14. ^ a b "State of the Sanderson". July 25, 2013. 
  15. ^ "Today I got up, and I did not have a Wheel of Time book to work on.". BrandonSanderson.com. 2012-08-01. 
  16. ^ "Mistborn RPG Release?". Crafty Games. Retrieved 2009-12-04. 
  17. ^ a b "Mistborn Adventure Game". Crafty Games. Retrieved 2011-09-27.  Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "Mistborn_Adventure_Game" defined multiple times with different content (see the help page).
  18. ^ Brandon Sanderson (January 11, 2010). "Press Release: Mistborn Movie Option". Retrieved January 15, 2010. 
  19. ^ Brandon Sanderson (February 21, 2014). "Mistborn Film Rights". Retrieved July 25, 2014. 
  20. ^ Brandon Sanderson during the Birmingham "A Memory of Light" book signing, February 22, 2013
  21. ^ "Mistborn: Birthright Facebook page". Retrieved January 24, 2015. 
  22. ^ "Mistborn: Birthright moved to next gen systems". June 28, 2013. 
  23. ^ "Mistborn the videogame coming to the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC in 2013". Retrieved March 27, 2012. 
  24. ^ "'Mistborn' Review: A Fantasy Masterpiece". Forbes. 2013-09-16. Retrieved 2013-09-30. 

External links[edit]