The Allow of Law by Brandon Sanderson – Book Review

Title: The Alloy of Law
Author: Brandon Sanderson
Release Date: November 8th 2011
Publisher: Tor Books
Series: Mistborn #4

I wanted to move away from static places, where millennia would pass and technology would never change. The plan then was for a second epic trilogy set in an urban era, and a third trilogy set in a futuristic era—with Allomancy, Feruchemy, and Hemalurgy being the common threads that tied them together.

These were the words of Brandon Sanderson in his acknowledgements to The Allow of Law, a prequel to his steampunk-era trilogy of Mistborn novels. If this novel is a taste of what’s to come in the next Mistborn trilogy, I am confident in Sanderson’s ability to set his fantasy novels in steampunk, urban, and futuristic times.

Perhaps we’ll see Mistborn robots and cyborgs, or maybe a Magneto-like character with control over metals. But how will that affect the line between fantasy and science-fiction?

But, I’m getting ahead of myself here.

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The Alloy of Law is lighthearted, action-packed addition to the Mistborn series. I recommend that you read the first Mistborn trilogy before reading this novel, as the latter glosses over much of the exposition on the workings of Allomancy, Feruchemy, and Hemalurgy. There are also references to past books that may confuse new readers.

What works best in this novel is the comedic banter between lead characters Wax and Wayne (even their names sound funny when said together). Their friendship reminds me a lot of the camaraderie between Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson. Also welcome is the star-crossed attraction between Wax and Lady Marasi.

“That hat looks ridiculous.”
“Fortunately, I can change hats,” Wayne said, “while you, sir, are stuck with that face.” – Brandon Sanderson, The Alloy of Law

The huge dose of humor in this novel is a welcome break from the doom and gloom seriousness of the last one. But I can already see undertones of a much deeper story that will surely develop in the upcoming trilogy.

The Alloy of Law features a different kind of action compared to the first trilogy. At first, I found myself nostalgic for the swords, knives, staves, shields, and horseshoes. But I found myself getting used to all the guns and brawling after a couple of battle scenes.

I think Brandon Sanderson has much room to explore regarding how his magic system can work with gunpowder weapons—perhaps including the ability to influence the movement of bullets mid-flight—and I look forward to seeing what he comes up with in future novels.

The mark of a great man is one who knows when to set aside the important things in order to accomplish the vital ones. – Brandon Sanderson, The Alloy of Law

Miles is a very powerful antagonist, but I would have preferred an opponent who isn’t invulnerable. His healing powers reminded me too much of Wolverine, who I think is one of the most overrated and overpowered X-Men. I would have preferred a battle among equals rather than an underdog outsmarting his opponent and winning in the end.

Nevertheless, I think this novel is a fine addition to the Mistborn series, and I’m very much looking forward to reading the next one.

Coffee Bean and Tea Reads Rating:

4 out of 5 beans

4 Beans

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