Book Review: The Alloy of Law

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The Alloy of Law by Brandon Sanderson is the fourth book in the Mistborn series. Actually, it’s more of the first book in the second series set in the Mistborn world. It takes place several hundred years after the events of the original Mistborn trilogy and it tells the story of Waxillium Ladrian, a “retired” lawkeeper of the “Roughs”—basically the wild west of the new Mistborn world. Waxillium, or Wax, has left the Roughs and returned home to his family’s holdings in Elendel, a large city in the Mistborn World that serves as the center of action for the bulk of the story.

Wax is accompanied by his sardonic friend Wayne and a young woman named Marasi who is a lawyer-in-training. For those familiar with the works, Wax is a twinborn, that is, he is both an allomancer and a feruchemist, possessing a single power from each heritage. His companion Wayne is also twinborn; and Lady Marasi is an allomancer.

Overall, I enjoyed the book—though I did approach it with a certain degree of caution: I normally don’t go for westerns, but I like Brandon Sanderson and he didn’t let me down; this proved to be a skillfully crafted mesh of both western and fantasy. The writing was excellent, as usual. The characters were well-developed and the story intriguing. There were, however, a certain number of flaws. First, the character Wayne, as wise-cracking, sardonic sidekick was a bit overdone. It seemed every conversation he was involved in degenerated into “witty banter’ and an endless stream of jokes. It was funny, for the first few chapters, but after a while I got a little tired of it. There was also a small matter of inconsistency. The first time Sanderson described Marasi’s allomantic power he said it could only affect her; later in the book it changed to be able to affect multiple people. And, this did have important storyline ramifications.

Still, it was an interesting read, particular since the characters of the first trilogy were fresh on my mind—I read the other trilogy just a few months back—it made it intriguing to see how they shaped the development of the later world.

I’ll give it four stars. An excellent read, but, as I said, a few serious flaws.

This post originally appeared on Goodreads on 6-20-12.

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