My verdict: This book was fabulous. I wish I already owned the sequels so I could keep reading. Sanderson's prose is engaging and the magic system (termed allomancy ) is interesting. As long as it wasn't raining or snowing (this was a Valentine's Day present), I would read this on my way to and from campus—no matter how cold it was. There are several good plot twists (don't read the back cover of the paperback!—it partially gives away one of them), most of which I didn't foresee. The characters are interesting and vibrant, though some of the things people did seemed implausible human behavior. My only concern is that I felt like Sanderson introduced a spectacular battle early on which may require him to escalate the future fights in order to keep them interesting.
 See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hard sci-fi.
 Even these definitions are contested and some would classify Star Trek as soft science fiction because it uses impossible technologies (such as faster-than-light travel) or seemingly fantastical elements (e.g. the powers of the Q Continuum).
 See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soft science fiction.
 This can be summarized in his 'laws'. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sanderson's First Law and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sanderson's Second Law.
 Read my review of Towers of Midnight (also written by Brandon Sanderson because Robert Jordan passed away before the series was finished) here.
 Read my review of Phantom here.
 Read my review of The Gypsy Morph here.
 Those with the ability to use allomancy, termed mistings or mistborn (depending on the extent of their ability) ingest different metals (e.g. tin) and 'burn' them to extract abilities from them.
Molten Tin Droplet is by Jurii, available at http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Tin-2.jpg.