I’ve been a fan of Brandon Sanderson ever since I picked up Mistborn a few years ago. I was interested by the author, since he’d been picked to complete the Wheel of Time series after the unfortunate demise of its author, Robert Jordan.
The original Mistborn trilogy was absolutely fascinating. It took place in a more or less traditional fantasy setting, but what really set it apart is the magic system, in which you consume and burn metal to have access to various powers.
In Sanderson’s own words, The Alloy of Law was written as an exercise to refute most classic fantasy settings, in which things are static and never change, year after year and eon after eon. David Eddings, anyone?
In any case, The Alloy of Law takes place in what would be about the mid-19th century, with a definite Old West tinge and a general Steampunk feel. Magic still exists, although it is much more diluted in the general population; people have access to a single Allomantic power, as opposed to the God-like Mistborn of the previous series.
The story follows Lord Waxillium Landrian, better known as Wax, the scion and heir of an old but impoverished noble family. He abandons his life as a lawman in the Roughs – and this is where it sounds very Old West – to take up the mantle of Lord Landrian at the passing of his uncle.
He is accompanied in his adventures by his friend and sidekick Wayne, a sticky-fingered dueler and former criminal.
Both are powerful Allomancers in their own rights, although with very different powers.
Without giving away too much, the plot revolves around a gang of thieves performing heists in the City of Elendel, and kidnapping young women for a intentionally vague but certainly nefarious purpose.
Brandon Sanderson is without peer at describing awesome battle and action scenes, and the book certainly doesn’t disappoint in that regard. Moreover, the story and characters are both well-developed and satisfying.
If there was anything even remotely negative I would have to bring up, it is the fact that the book is quite short, weighing in at only 332 pages. Certainly shorter than anything else I’ve read by the same author, and much, much shorter than the epic novels I usually enjoy. I did leave me with a sense that the story was only starting.
On that note, it is clear by the end of the book that Mr. Sanderson has left the door wide open for sequels or additional novels, featuring the same characters. I look forward to reading them!
On the topic of cheap entertainment, I have borrowed this book, and even though I’ll now have to give it back, it doesn’t get much cheaper than that. If I’d had to purchase the book to read it, I would certainly have waited for the paperback, as the length of the book did not warrant a full hardcover price, even discounted.