It’s no secret that I’ve become a bit of a Brandon Sanderson fangirl – I’m waiting for The Stormlight Archive to arrive at my local bookstore. So I’m sure it comes as no surprise to you that I might have let out a little squeal when I found out about Alloy of Law after finishing the Mistborn trilogy (which I reviewed previously here at Nevermet Press). Alloy of Law is not a sequel to the trilogy, instead it is a stand-alone novel set 300 hundred years after the events of the trilogy.
One of the first things that stood out for me was Sanderson’s letter to the reader. In it he mentions that he often wondered why technology seemed to stand still in worlds with magic, and what would happen as technology developed in those worlds. Alloy of Law is thus – or at least as I read it – an exploration of what would happen. This exploration of a world with developing technology and magic was one of the best parts of the novel for me. Especially the way the protagonist, Wax and his buddy Wayne use a combination of both. Sadly though, there isn’t a balance of the two something I suspect would happen in any such world.
I’m jumping the gun here. Let’s start with the premise. It’s 300 hundred years after the events of the trilogy – a reminder: Kelsier died sparking a revolution; Vin killed the big evil only to find out he wasn’t the big evil; Elend becomes king, loses the crown goes to war, dies and becomes a Mistborn; Sazed finds some disturbing information; there’s a big battle; the world gets rearranged and those still alive start anew. As usual there is some unexplored areas, and places that a lot of people don’t go to, in the new world it’s called the Roughs. The Roughs pretty much is the wild unexplored West. Given that it’s the wild West it’s obvious that with our magic there’ll be some guns. I’m not really a fan of Westerns so I wasn’t that excited about the novel, but fortunately although it starts in the Roughs, and there are mentions of life out there most of the hijinks occur within the capital city.
We’re introduced to Wax, a sheriff, while he’s hot on the trail of a serial killer. As to be expected something tragic occurs while he’s on the hunt – to be fair without it there wouldn’t be as much character growth as there was. Shortly thereafter Wax has to return to the city to resume duties as a noble heir. At first he tries his darndest to avoid getting drawn back into the law enforcement game, but his hand is forced, especially when his fiancé gets kidnapped (I tried to avoid spoilers, but this is a little one that shouldn’t impact you’re enjoyment of the story).
So we have guns, but what about the magic? Well for starters Feruchemy isn’t a Terris magic only, it’s known about and used by a few. Although those few must have the ability to use it, much like Mistings and Mistborns of the other novels. Now though Twinborns are the rare magic users, as the names hints at Twinborns are those who can use both Feruchemy and Allomancy. Our hero, and his buddy, are both Twinborns, as well as the villain. Aside from this growth in magic, as hinted to Spook at the end of Hero of the Ages other metals have been discovered and used for Allomancy.
Five take home points:
- The Western feel adds a lot to the development of the setting, differentiating, yet still having it feel like the familiar world of the trilogy.
- Guns :). Guns are the great equaliser between those with magic and those without; although some of the newer metals help swing things in the magic users favour.
- There are some great references to the characters from the trilogy. Keep an eye out for the ones related to Spook; they’re bound to give you a laugh.
- Wayne, a slapstick sidekick without any of the annoying bits.
- *Spoiler alert* Cameo appearances.
If you’re looking for the same feel in Alloy of Law as there was in the Mistborn trilogy then the novel won’t deliver, but if you want adventure and a new yet familiar world then read this one. Not to mention the bonus fangirl points you’d get ;).