Fifty Books, 365 Days. Book Fifteen – Mistborn: The Alloy of Law by Brandon Sanderson

Date started: April 11th

Date finished: April 17th

Since I started this whole experiment with the Mistborn trilogy, I wanted to save the Alloy of Law for a special number. I was thinking 25. Unfortunately, I jumped the gun on picking up the paperback, and wanted to read it as soon as I was done with my previous book. My self control being what it is, I simply couldn’t wait and dived right in.

The Alloy of Law is technically the fourth Mistborn book. Only it’s not. Mistborn was initially pitched as a trilogy of trilogies; an epic fantasy trilogy, an urban fantasy trilogy, and a far future space opera. The Alloy of Law is a sort of standalone novel set after the events of the first trilogy, but before the second. But it’s not really a standalone, because it’s getting a sequel. Everyone still on board at this point? Okay.

The Alloy of Law is set within the Mistborn world, but it’s changed a bit since the Hero of Ages. The different castes such as the nobility and skaa are still sort of around, but in a different form. The noble houses have less power now, and while there is no longer a slave underclass, there is a criminal element living outside and within the city of Elendel. The time of horses and high fantasy is past, giving way to steam engines and electricity.

Our lead character this time is Lord Waxillium ‘Wax’ Ladrian, a former lawkeeper in the Roughs, who happened to be next in line for one of the noble houses of Elendel after his uncle died. Scarred by the loss of his lover to a psychotic criminal, he returns to Elendel and vows to give up his lawkeeper ways to more effectively manage his household. But when a gang of thieves starts robbing trains, will his vows be forgotten to team with his old lawkeeper friend Wayne, and the mysterious and attractive Marisa to stop them?

I imagine it’s not much of a spoiler to say, yes. Yes he does. And it’s spectacular. In the first three Mistborn books, steel burners shot coins at each other with their metal ‘pushing’ powers. In this, it’s bullets. What we’ve got here is a collision of the fantasy and western genres. The kind I haven’t seen since I finished up Stephen King’s Dark Tower series. The action sequences are fast and furious, even more fun than they were in the initial trilogy. Brandon Sanderson excels at fight choreography and description, and I found myself getting excited at even the hint of a major action scene. A fight on top of a train from midway through the book stands out as a particularly excellent one.

Sanderson must be commended on his characters too. I was more than a little sceptical going in. I fell in love with characters like Breeze, Vin, and Sazed the last time around, and I was nervous that Wax and his friends wouldn’t have the same effect on me. Fortunately, I was wrong. Very wrong. Wax, Wayne, and Marisa all have their fun quirks and solid arcs over the course of the story, and I can’t wait to see more of them. Luckily, Brandon Sanderson is secretly a robot who somehow manages to pump out a novel a day or something, so it shouldn’t be too long until I do.

The other thing worth mentioning is the length of the book. It’s about half the length of the main Mistborn books, and that’s reflected in the content in a way. This is a much smaller story. Whereas the repercussions of the previous three novels are felt in this one, aside from one pretty big revelation, I can’t see the events of the Alloy of Law making any kind of huge difference to the lore or mythology of the Mistborn world. Not that it particularly matters, since the Alloy of Law is a fun tale that presents a familiar world in a different light. Highly recommended to anyone who enjoyed the first three books.

Further adventures in Mistborn Book Reviews:

The Final Empire
The Well of Ascension
The Hero of Ages

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