Book Review: The Alloy of Law

Alloy of Law

Author: Brandon Sanderson

Released: 2011

Brandon Sanderson is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors.  He did a great job finishing The Wheel of Time series, and Way of Kings is currently in the top two for WWYT Book of the Year 2015.  He is also incredibly prolific, especially by Fantasy author standards.  He is publishing two to three books per year (and in 2013, he published four books) – unlike George Martin – I’m still waiting for Book 6 of Fire and Ice (aka Game of Thrones.)

The Alloy of Law is set hundreds of years after the Mistborn trilogy; with pistols, rifles, and “horseless carriages,” Alloy of Law is almost a steampunk novel.  Waxillian, of House Ladrian, uses his Twinborn powers to fight crime in the “Roughs” (think wild west).  Twinborn means that he has both Allomantic and Feruchemical powers.  He “burns” steel for his Allomantic power allowing him to “push” on anything metal (except Aluminium) – if he is heavier, the object moves, if he is lighter, he moves.  His Feruchemical power is the ability to store physical weight (so he can make himself heavier or lighter).  The two powers combined make him especially fearsome.

When Wax accidentally shoots his partner (and love interest) he gives up the law keeper life and, after his uncle dies, he returns to the city to run his nearly bankrupt family estate.  Wax is drawn back into law keeping by an old friend, Wayne, and a series of mysterious robberies and kidnappings.

It was fun returning to the Mistborn universe, but I definitely needed a refresher on what power each metal gives you.  While Wax’s powers gave him a great advantage (even when fighting other Twinborns), I did have some problems with the physics of what he was doing, or Sanderson did not explain what was happening very well.  Several times Wax used a gun shell casing to propel himself upward – I’m OK with this part I just assumed that he made himself very light (using his Feruchemical powers), but he does this a couple times while carrying a damsel in distress – not sure how that works.  Then perhaps the most egregious violation of physics – he was 40-50 feet in the air when he ran out of steel – yet he landed safely (unless I read it wrong and he landed first, then ran out of steel.)

While this wasn’t Sanderson’s best effort, it was still an entertaining book with a return to an interesting universe with the added element of guns instead of (like most Fantasy novels) swords.  The book felt a bit rushed – the physics weren’t well explained, the final confrontation came early in the book, and the main villain got away.  Don’t fear though, the sequel, Shadows of Self, just premiered at #5 on the NY Times Bestseller list.

WWYT Rating: 6.5

Good Reads Rating: 4.2/5

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One thought on “Book Review: The Alloy of Law

  1. I downloaded the third book in the Mistborn series, then went back and decided to listen to the first two books again before I hit the third one. Not sure I want to move on to this one, but a friend is urging me, so we shall see.

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