The Final Empire is the first in the Mistborn trilogy. I was drawn to Sanderson's work with his YA novel Steelheart, which I loved. I was instantly drawn into the world of the Final Empire as well.
In this world, there are people known as the skaa, they are treated like slaves, and are routinely executed for breaking the smallest of rules, rules that are handed down by The Lord Ruler.
The Lord Ruler is god to most people because he's been in charge for over a thousand years. Beside him are the Obligators and a frightening group of creatures called the Inquisitors. Inquisitors are seemingly indestructible and have spikes for eyes.
As with most great epic fantasies, the lowly skaa are given hope by a hero called Kelsier. Kelsier is a Mistborn, a person who can control metals through a magical force known as Allomancy. Kelsier scours the streets, assassinating noblemen who are loyal to the Lord Ruler and looking for like-minded people to join his rebellion.
Through his team he finds Vin, a sixteen year old skaa thief whose luck has seemingly run out. Kelsier senses that Vin is special, and he's right. He recruits her and together they put together a team of misfits to take on the most powerful force in the kingdom.
I loved this story, it has amazing character development and a very detailed plot line that requires your attention but isn't complicated at the same time. Taking down a thousand year ruler takes more than simply kicking the door in at his castle. Kelsier is a brilliant yet careless leader while Vin, the young upstart, slowly learns that she has a lot more skills than she thought and becomes a huge asset to the team.
For me, this is one of the best fantasy books I've read in a very long time.