Book Review- The Alloy of Law by Brandon Sanderson

Well… this is awkward. I was supposed to write and post this about two weeks ago. And here it is almost halfway through November and you’ve heard nothing from me!

Downright despicable, that is.

Anyway, a couple small points before I dig in.

I didn’t win that writing contest, which is fine, since it’s an ancient story and I had zero hopes set on it winning.

Book Club meets today to discuss Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick. I’ve already finished it, but won’t talk about it at length until after the meeting.

Also, thanks to Book Club and various assigned readings, I only have to read three more books this year to meet my goal! That’s right! I’ve read 42 books this year, which when you think about all the school work and the whole 48+ hours a week thing, is pretty badass. I am super excited to reach this achievement.

Anyway, on with the review! Consider yourself warned, here there be massive spoilers and fangirlish squealing loud enough that you’ll swear you can hear it through your computer screen.

My paperback version, which is now mostly illegible thanks to the myriad notes...
My paperback version, which is now mostly illegible thanks to the myriad notes…

So, The Alloy of Law is what you might call a spin-off. It’s set in the same world as the original Mistborn series, 300ish years after the events of those novels. Which is awesome because-

A: I’ve never seen a fantasy world do that before. Grow, change, experience time in a moderately realistic way.


B: The reader gets to pick up countless references to characters from the old series, and figure just how they played into the development and history of the world. They have weight and value beyond just the old plots. They’ve become gods, statues, and tombs. Street names and slang terms. It’s really wonderful to experience.

So, Scadrial, the planet on which all of this takes place, is an active place with sense of time and history.

We meet Waxillium Ladrian in the prologue, as he’s hunting down a deranged serial killer called Bloody Tan. Even in these early pages Wax’s strong sense of justice and his wry sense of humor comes through. He’s immediately likable and intriguing, part lawman, part gentleman, and an Allomancer to boot.

Btw, being an Allomancer means he can use a type of magic (Allomancy) which allows him to “burn” a metal which grants him a certain ability. Every type of Allomantic metal creates a different kind of power, but most people can only burn one metal (unless you’re a Mistborn, then you can burn them all, but those seemed to have died out after the events of The Hero of Ages). In Wax’s case he can burn steel, which allows him to push off of metals and basically fly around. In the world’s layman terms, he’s a Coinshot.

Anyway, Wax hunts down this Bloody Tan chap to find that the killer has Lessie, Wax’s wife (more or less), held hostage. But, not to worry, they have a plan for this exact scenario. Lessie blinks three times, on three Wax fires, and Lessie jerks to the side. Perfection, right?

Oh, except for the part where Bloody Tan is on to them, and Wax’s bullet takes Lessie right above the eye, killing her instantly.

And that’s how Wax finds himself back in Elendel, seeing to his family’s estate, shrugging on the mantle of nobleman with decided discomfort.

But, Wax’s retirement is short lived, as a series of train robberies mystify local constables, and one of his own shipments goes missing. Enter Wayne, Wax’s irascible sidekick, who’s equal parts confusing and lovable. He is easily my favorite character ever. I mean this literally. Wayne is my all time favorite character I have ever read.

Anyway, Wayne has returned from the Roughs (read: frontier) to pull Wax from retirement, but it isn’t until women are kidnapped at a wedding he was attending that Wax finally takes up arms.

I feel it’s important to mention here that Wax’s fiancée, Steris, is one of the kidnapees. It’s an engagement of necessity. Wax’s family, the Ladrians, are very prominent in society, and have a seat at the Senate. But, thanks to his uncle, they’re very literally broke. Steris’s family is loaded, but outside of that inner circle of nobility.

Anyway, once Wax and Wayne battle at the wedding, there’s no keeping the duo from following leads in an effort to get Steris back. They even get a new accomplice, Ms. Marasi Colms, who turns out to be Steris’s illegitimate sister. And a potential love interest for Wax.

As the story moves on, Wax figures out that the leader of the Vanishers, the enigmatic robbers responsible for disappearing train cars and the kidnappings of women with Allomantic genealogies, is none other than Miles Hundredlives, a Roughs lawman with an overwhelming ability.

See, Miles is a Bloodmaker, like Wayne, allowing him to heal by using stored health from his Metalminds, but he also can burn gold as well. It’s called compounding, and pretty much means that Miles can heal continuously, with no known limit. Aside from aging, the man is quite immortal.

Gunfights between Wax and Miles are intense, full of aerial acrobatics on Wax’s part, and require a ridiculous amount of cleverness from him as well.

But, in the end, it’s Marasi’s Allomantic power that saves the day. She’s been told her whole life that it’s useless, shameful even, but she can speed up time for herself. The outside world moves in a blur, as she sits inside a bubble of normal time. It’s the opposite of Wayne’s Allomancy, which allows him to slow down time.

Anyway, after clearing the hideout of all other Vanishers in a grueling gunfight, Wax singles out Miles and basically starts boxing him. At this point, Wax’s body is in bad shape, and he lets Miles take out his rage on him. While Miles is preoccupied, Marasi uses her Allomancy, and Wayne runs to get a squad or three from the nearest Constabulary.

And so they capture Miles Hundredlives, rescue Steris, and Wax earns an Honorary Constable Badge, allowing him to investigate crimes and perform arrests.

But, at the end, Wax draws the line between him and Marasi. She’s infatuated with him, and he likes her, but he’s engaged to Steris, and Lessie’s been gone less than a year.

And so Marasi focuses on her schooling, in criminal justice by the way, and attends Miles’s death sentence. But, as she’s leaving, she sees something strange. An unusually tall figure, in a cloak, beckoning her to follow. Turns out it’s Ironeyes himself, a character from the original trilogy, come to deliver a handwritten book to her. He wants her to give it to Wax. And then he disappears.

And then I waited four long years to see what that book had to say!

Obviously, I am a huge fan of this series, as I’ve talked about it at length for about four years now. And it doesn’t look like I’ll be quiet anytime soon, since the next book comes out in January!
Wax and Wayne (Mistborn)

See you soon, Blogland, when I’m back to discuss Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick.

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