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At Louisville Literary Arts, we all love to read. But our interests in literature are as varied as hats on Derby Day. Some of us gravitate toward poetry, while others prefer an epic novel. A few of us love reading creative nonfiction. In this space, we recommend recent books we've read, and hope that you'll find something just right for your reading list.

Amy recommends: THE FINAL EMPIRE by Brandon Sanderson (Tor, 2006)

​​Genre: Fantasy

Brandon Sanderson is a giant in the realm of fantasy writing, right up there with George R. R. Martin. He’s written several books that are parts of different series, including the Elantris series, the Warbreaker series, the Mistborn series, and the Rithmatist series. In addition to finishing Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series, Sanderson also produces the Writing Excuses podcast, along with Dan Wells, Mary Robinette Cowal, and Howard Tayler.

Confession: I devoured fantasy, science fiction and horror growing up. I always loved what’s termed genre fiction much more, generally speaking, than “literary” fiction. Then I went to graduate school, and somewhere in there I got the message that I should read “serious” books. I also was tired of reading fantasy that had been contaminated by the success of Tolkien’s Middle Earth trilogy. Back in those days, everything in fantasy seemed to involve elves and dragons, and stretch out interminably into inevitable trilogies.

Well, those days are gone. Speculative fiction, which encompasses science fiction and fantasy, has been revitalized, and Sanderson is part of the reason why. The Final Empire is a prime example of this. In this book, certain people called Mistings or Mistborn can ingest bits of different metals and unlock various abilities. A Tineye can burn tin, and her senses will immediately become extremely sharp. A Thug can burn pewter and become very strong. This art of burning metal is called Allomancy, and it’s truly a beautifully conceived system of magic.

While a Misting can only burn one type of metal, a Mistborn can burn all of them and therefore derive different types of powers. Kelsior is one of these rare people, and he’s hatched a plan to rebel against the immortal Lord Ruler, who has complete control of this world. Vin, a young thief, is soon taken under Kelsior’s wing when he discovers that she is a Mistborn as well. Adventure and hijinks of all types soon ensue. The Final Empire is an exciting and compelling book that will leave you under Sanderson’s spell.

If you would like us to consider recommending your book, please contact LLA Reads editor Alice, who will let you know how to get your book to our readers.

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