Friday, February 24, 2012

The Alloy of Law by Brandon Sanderson

The Alloy of Law
Brandon Sanderson
Mistborn #4
Published 2011 by Tor

Bite-Sized Review
The Alloy of Law was fun to read and a fascinating look at the future of the Mistborn world. I definitely recommend if for fans of intricate magic systems and/or fantasy-mystery.

King-Sized Review
The Alloy of Law takes place three hundred years after the events of the Mistborn trilogy. While that seemed a bit short for the amount of technological advancement their society experienced, the setting, sort of an Old West reflection, was new and interesting. Fantasy books tend to be set either in ancient history or Middle Ages equivalents or in some re-imagining of the modern world. If The Alloy of Law's setting were in our history, technologically I'd put it at somewhere around the early twentieth century, mainly because of the advent of trains and electric lights, which is unusual and allows for some interesting mixes of technology and Allomancy and Ferurchemy, the metal-based magics of the Mistborn world.

The story begins when Wax, a lawkeeper in the wild Roughs, must return to the city of Elendel to accept his place in the nobility. He almost succeeds in putting aside his past, and is even tentatively betrothed, when he finds himself involved in trying to stop the schemings of an unusually skilled robber band. With the help of his old friend Wayne, a con artist and kleptomaniac, and his fiancée's relative Marasi, a student of criminology, Wax must find the thieves before they can succeed in their plans.

For most of the book, I thought the plot was a bit simplistic. (There's only one thing going on? Cue gasps.) It's different from your average high fantasy in that it has a smaller scope, more like urban fantasy than epic fantasy, and while it was entertaining, I kind of wanted it to be more. And then I got to the last thirty pages or so and realized that I actually had only the smallest idea of what was really happening. I have concluded that Brandon Sanderson is a brilliant writer. There had better be more from these characters or I will be tripping over loose ends everywhere I turn.

Wayne was easily my favorite character. The way he could simply "steal" another person's accent and mode of speech was fascinating, and Wayne himself was just full of wit, particularly when mocking Wax. The lawman-turned-lord had a strong sense of duty that was occasionally slightly tiresome, but when he returned to his old ways, I was hooked. Once Wax started hunting down the Vanishers, he became a much more intriguing and likable character. Also entertaining was his complicated interest in Marasi, who was a sympathetic mix of intelligence, determination, and uncertainty.

There were mostly just tantalizing hints and tidbits of what legend made the characters of the Mistborn trilogy. The bit of a cliffhanger at the end made closing the book painful – why wasn't there more? I think I've wanted more stories from every series Sanderson has written, and The Alloy of Law was certainly no exception.

Quality: Excellent
Enjoyability: Excellent

The Alloy of Law is similar to:
Storm Front by Jim Butcher


  1. Holy hot guys on the cover! This looks good, but I haven't read the others in the series....

  2. The Mistborn Trilogy is the catalyst that helped me go from "I wish" I was a writer 2 years ago to "I am" a writer. And my novel is in the final countdown of the revising stage. I love Brandon Sanderson. This book made me crave to know more. I, too, think he is brilliant.


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