“Wax dashed across the rooftop and leaped off, moving toward Demoux Promenade. Just before hitting the ground, he flipped a spent casing down and Pushed on it, slowing his dissent. He landed in a patch of decorative shrubs that caught his coat tassels and made a rustling noise.
Damn. Nobody planted decorative shrubs out in the Roughs.”
Brandon Sanderson returns to the universe of his bestselling Mistborn trilogy in this pulp Western Fantasy adventure.
Three-hundred years after the events of the Mistborn trilogy, certain developments freshen the scene, from railroads and guns to “Twinborns”—individuals with both allomantic and feruchemical powers. Wax, or “Lord Waxilliam Ladrian,” as he hates to be called, prefers to roam the “Roughs” outside the city of Elendel, where he can play the gentleman rogue officer and enjoy the adventures of an action hero. He plays the role quite well, too, capturing criminals for bounty and meeting friends with the same idea.
But when an accident shakes his confidence in his own skill, he returns to the city of Elendel and the grown-up life he’s been avoiding—only to find the city as dangerous as the Roughs. Adult Fantasy published 2011 by Tor Books.
What a treat!
The Allow of Law is the stylistic antithesis to the original, epic Mistborn trilogy. While retaining the character introspection, complex magic systems and trademark twists of any Sanderson work, this book scratches a different itch. It’s shorter, faster and more fun.
Most of the beloved characters from Mistborn live only in the past, now, although there are a few surprises. I have heard library patrons complain that they missed the epic scale of the Mistborn books, in The Allow of Law and the two volumes that follow it. But I honestly liked this change. I like the original Mistborn trilogy for what it is, literally earthshaking and moving; but I like this, too. It has plenty to keep Mistborn fans interested.
And to be honest? I raced through The Alloy of Law. The Mistborns took me a while to read through.
What I Liked :
This book focuses on action and clever plotting, rather than the politics of Mistborn, a stylistic choice which gives the magic system a chance to shine. And the magic rocks, of course. Anyone who has already read the Mistborns will understand the basics of Allomancy, Feruchemy and Hemalurgy; but The Alloy of Law re-imagines the possibilities by combining the powers, watering down their genetics (creating interesting limitations), and putting them in a modern world full of metal.
Though the cast is limited in number—readers spend most of the book reading from Waxillium Ladrian’s point of view—all of the main characters still have satisfying arcs. They’re also funnier. Here, Wax is speaking to a pretty young lady named Marasi about his colorful friend Wayne:
“‘Ignore him,’ Waxillium said. ‘Trust me. He’s like a rash. The more you scratch him, the more irritating he gets.'”
There’s much more humor where that came from, and not just in the dialogue. You’ll find other amusing tidbits, like the fact that aluminum is basically THE MOST VALUABLE METAL in the UNIVERSE, since Allomancers can’t Push or Pull on it.
I honestly don’t have any complaints. At least, not anything serious: Occasionally the humor feels stretched; the religious development, though diverse and pluralistic, takes a back seat to the action. Also, Sanderson doesn’t arrange his writing to be beautiful, on a sentence level. (As he explains it, words are just the window through which readers can enjoy his stories.) But ultimately, this book is exactly what it’s supposed to be. Even though it’s not as epic and political as the original Mistborns, I really enjoyed the ride and I’m eager to begin the next book, Shadows of Self.
Recommended To :
Anyone who enjoyed the Mistborns. Some say you can enjoy The Alloy of Law without having read the original trilogy, and that’s certainly true; but I recommend reading this as volume 4. The details of the worldbuilding and magic systems will seem much more coherent, that way. This book doesn’t ever slow down to explain anything like that. The quiet moments are reserved for characterization.