In one sentence: A great start to a strong fantasy series that is full of interesting characters and slick action.
This review will contain spoilers!
In many sentences:
This book was a lot of fun to read. Sanderson does a great job of introducing the "magic" system through Allomancy subtly and without exaggeration. The simple moment when Kelsier first begins "Burning Tin" is really cool. I also enjoyed how Allomancy, while certainly powerful, was restricted by very clear and logical rules. The power didn't change mysteriously when it was convenient, but developed in a orderly fashion.
My only fear is, with the revelation at the end of the book that there may other undiscovered metals, that the sequels may introduce new powers for Allomancers that are, at best, convenient solutions to difficult problems or, at worst, so powerful as to become invincible. However, judging from the first book, I find the likelihood of this type of development low. Even the mysterious Eleventh Metal was rather "weak" as a power, though it did hold knowledge that was key to the Lord Ruler's defeat.
The book was certainly not perfect, but the best parts were almost all centered around Vin, even to the point that sections that did not follow her felt less crisp. By that I mean the dialogue and impact of scenes not including Vin felt less important, less meaningful, and seemed to be there more for the sake of necessity in developing the plot than for the joy of writing them. Much is probably a result of the way Vin developed from a scared, lonely, untrusting street urchin into a woman who trusted, loved, and believed in something outside herself. Obviously it was by meeting those around her that this happened, but the interesting aspect was more the development within Vin than anything else.
I was initially a little confused by the explanation of the Lord Ruler's immortality (I didn't understand why the power of his youth would be held in the bracelets on his arms when Sazed noted that it was his ability to burn the metals he stored youth in that amplified the normal Feruchemical abilities. However, it was explained to me that by burning metals, it amplified the amount that could be stored Feruchemically inside a metal, thus giving more youth than a normal Feruchemist could ever attain.) I still think this is explained poorly within the book itself, a surprise considering the other complicated magical systems it doesn't have issue detailing, but I no longer believe it to be a true logical gap within the plot.
I'm extremely excited to read the rest of the series, and would definitely recommend this to anyone who is a fan of fantasy.