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Review: The Alloy of Law by Brandon Sanderson

>>Thursday, December 22, 2011

Title: The Alloy of Law
Author: Brandon Sanderson
Series: Mistborn #4
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 320
Genre: Fantasy. Steampunk
Publication Date: November 8th, 2011
Publisher: Tor Books
Rating: A-

From Goodreads: Three hundred years after the events of the Mistborn trilogy, Scadrial is now on the verge of modernity, with railroads to supplement the canals, electric lighting in the streets and the homes of the wealthy, and the first steel-framed skyscrapers racing for the clouds.

Kelsier, Vin, Elend, Sazed, Spook, and the rest are now part of history—or religion. Yet even as science and technology are reaching new heights, the old magics of Allomancy and Feruchemy continue to play a role in this reborn world. Out in the frontier lands known as the Roughs, they are crucial tools for the brave men and women attempting to establish order and justice.

One such is Waxillium Ladrian, a rare Twinborn, who can Push on metals with his Allomancy and use Feruchemy to become lighter or heavier at will. After twenty years in the Roughs, Wax has been forced by family tragedy to return to the metropolis of Elendel. Now he must reluctantly put away his guns and assume the duties and dignity incumbent upon the head of a noble house. Or so he thinks, until he learns the hard way that the mansions and elegant tree-lined streets of the city can be even more dangerous than the dusty plains of the Roughs.

Why did I read this book? Sanderson's Mistborn series is probably one of my all-time favorite fantasy triologies. When I heard that a fourth novel was being published I squeed, then promptly requested the book from the publisher.

Source: Publisher

My Review
One of the most intriguing things about this fourth Mistborn novel is that it’s set about three hundred years in the future from the last book, Hero of the Ages. The characters of the trilogy we’ve come to know and love are legends, myths or religious figureheads (sometimes all three). I wanted to see what Sanderson did with this since one of my favorite things about his stories is the religions he creates and how they integrate into the society. I’m not disappointed with this; there are many nods towards the previous books through the new culture.

The Mistborn world has advanced since the events of Hero of the Ages and now there are trains, guns, and other steampunkish technology. This makes for great entertainment since the magic systems are all based on metals. We see two of the systems featured prominently, Allomancy and Feruchemy. Allomancy is the ability to burn certain metals (by ingesting them) and each metal has its own effect. For instance, burning steel gives the Allomancer the ability to push on metallic objects. Feruchemy uses metal to store power (it’s not consumed in the process). You could use gold to store health, so when you really need it, you can heal yourself.

That’s right, the Mistborn series has not one awesome magic system but three! Although the third isn’t mentioned that much in The Alloy of Law.

Aside from the setting and magic systems, I really enjoyed the plot. It follows Wax and his friend Wayne (yes, that’s really their names), who worked together in the outskirts of town keeping the peace. There’s a very western feel to this story, with hats, dusters, guns and shootouts. It fits the setting very well. Wax and Wayne inadvertently come across a series of robberies and they team up with a character named Marasi to solve the crimes. Wax is definitely the exalted hero type and Wayne was the snarky sidekick. I think I would like to see more of these characters to give them more time to develop, but I feel like the purpose of this novel was to give us more Mistborn and also tell an exciting action-packed story.

Rating: A-
I really loved it. There were so many awesome tidbits such as the references to the past books and even newspaper prints placed throughout the book. It really added to the western feel. I'm not a Wheel of Time fan, so when this came out I was super excited to read it, since I don't know when there will be more Mistborn books. I don't think this is the end though. I loved what Sanderson did with the setting and he created a fun mystery packed with Allomancy and Feruchemy to satisfy me until the next book comes out.

This book is also available by Macmillan Audio, and you can listen to an excerpt by clicking here.


  1. I have said this before on your blog, but I am saying it again - I NEED TO READ THE FIRST BOOK! Gah! I shall make sure it is somewhere very visible in my house over the next few weeks and make sure I finish the darned thing!

  2. The Mistborn trilogy blew me away, and I have been looking forward to this one for months.

    I'm reading it a little bit at a time hoping to savor it since it'll probably be quite awhile before we're treated to another book in this world!



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