Why I read it: One of Ed's coworkers lent it to him. He was raving about the neatness of the magic, so I picked it up when he was done. Ed has subsequently read the sequel and bought book 3 in the series, though he lent it to that previously mentioned coworker, and I don't think he's got it back to read yet. BS is apparently currently working on the final installment in The Wheel of Time, so it was interesting to see what he's done before.
Tastes like chicken: Some Raymond E. Feist books I read years ago.
Bookmark: Chapters receipt for gift cards.
What I liked: Ed was right, the magic was really cool.
The world has some sort of ongoing environmental problem where ash falls from the sky and all plants are brown. The social system is feudal -- serfs called skaa and nobles who claim genetic superiority. The skaa are supposed to not have magic (allomancy), but some have noble blood, and have one of the eight talents. These talents involve the ability to process (burn) metal in their stomachs to perform a skill. Eight different metals provide eight different skills -- push against metals, pull on metals, soothe or rage others' emotions, etc. Every once in a while someone has all eight skills (you either have one or all, never just a few).
Vin is a 16-year-old member of a thieving crew who doesn't realize she has magical powers until she gets caught while using them (she gets trace amounts of metals from the drinking water, or from eating utensils). Then she gets picked up by a rather high-end gang of master criminals, gets trained in magic use, and joins their caper. It's a caper that involves trying to build a 10,000 person army, kill the 1000-year-old Lord Ruler, steal the royal treasury, and overthrow the social order.
Not so much: Vin is a Mary Sue, and the male-female balance in the book is really bad.
Lessons learned: I read this after reading some of the "paragraph" stuff over on Ilona Andrews' lj, and it was interesting to notice, say, the camera moves. The fight sequences with all the magic worked in were very good.