The Alloy of Law

I’ve made little effort to hide the fact that I am a huge Brandon Sanderson fan on my blog.  I have several of his books listed in my favorite books page, and during my 30 day book challenge I think I listed at least 3 or 4 books that he had a part in writing (some of the later Wheel of Time books included).  Suffice it to say this will probably not be the most unbiased of my reviews.

Book Stats

325 pages

Fantasy

Stand Alone novel (it is in the Mistborn world, but you don’t have to have read the Mistborn trilogy before reading this book)

Characters

Waxillium Ladrian is a lawman working in the roughs outside of the city of Elendel.  He is also a twinborn, a rare person who has the ability to use both an allomantic and a feruchemical power.  He returns to the city of Elendel when his uncle dies and he is forced to oversee his family household but he hates the city and tries to avoid everything he can about it.  Wax was a wonderful character to read about, he is very intelligent and observant, and he pieces together parts of a mystery that not many people figure out.  He is regularly assisted by Wayne, another twinborn who is an expert at imitating people and very concerned with his hat.  While Wayne is somewhat oblivious to physical clues that Wax finds information from, he is extremely observant when it comes to dealing with people and expertly imitates both their accents and their behaviors.  The final character that we see regularly in this book is Marasi, a young woman from another distinguished house who assists Wax and Wayne throughout the course of the novel.  She is very intelligent but also very inexperienced, and reading her sections were a welcome change from the overconfidence displayed by Wax and Wayne at times throughout the book.  All of the characters in the book were fun to read and they were well-rounded and very clever in the ways that they used their various powers to overcome the obstacles they are faced with.

Setting

The book is set on Scadrial some 300 years after the events of the original Mistborn trilogy.  The characters from the first novels have all fallen into the realm of history or mythology as we enter this book.  The three magic systems from the original series are still in place in this novel, and they’re still fun to read about how they’re used.  It’s also interesting that Sanderson took his world and moved it forward rather than keeping the level of technology static.  Sanderson has said in interviews that he had never seen it done with a fantasy novel before and he wanted to try it, if more people could pull it off as well as he does, it would probably be done quite a bit more.  This book takes place in what is essentially a late 1800’s or early 1900’s American level of technology.  It’s great fun to see how he interweaves guns and trains and other more modern technology with allomancy and feruchemy.

Plot

This book is essentially a mystery/action story.  Upon returning to Elendel, Wax gets wrapped up in trying to stop a series of robberies where members of the noble households that can be traced back to Lord Mistborn (Spook!).  Wax quickly figures out the method that the robbers and kidnappers are using and works with Wayne and Marasi to stop everything and return the city to normal.

Enjoyment

Time for the horribly biased part of the review.  I loved this book.  I bought it this afternoon and finished it about 20 minutes ago.  It’s a very quick read and the pacing of the book helps keep it that way.  Rather than taking place over several months or years like many fantasy books, the majority of this book takes place over about 2 days.  The characters were great fun to read and watching the banter between Wax and Wayne was great fun, they both are very effective at their jobs and they are also both very aware of how effective they are.  If I were to have one complaint about this book, it’s that the ending of this book solves most of the problems that were faced in it, but easily sets up a direct sequel to this book.  This book is quite a bit different from Sanderson’s other novels, with a much smaller overall scale and smaller cast of characters, but it’s very well written and great fun to read.

Overall Grade

Ok, I admit I’m biased, but if you enjoyed the other Mistborn novels, I think you’ll absolutely love this book.  If you haven’t read the other Mistborn novels, I still think you’ll enjoy this book, but you won’t understand some of the references from those novels.  Either way, I highly suggest this book.

10/10

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