20 October 2013

The Alloy of Law - Brandon Sanderson

It has been three hundred years since the end of the events in the Mistborn Trilogy, and our previous heroes have fallen into myth and religion. The powers of Allomancy and Feruchemy still go on though, and the new society they built is on the brink of modernity with the invention of electricity. But society has become corrupt once again, and there are few people who still keep the peace.

 Lord Waxillium, our protagonist, is one of those law-keepers. He is an Allomancer and a Feruchemist, able to push on metals and store his weight, a very useful combination. He has been forced back to the city from the roughs due to the death of a relative and it is now his duty to look after the estate left to him. But Wax is much more interested in patrolling the streets, looking for trouble, than the life of an aristocrat.

When Wax learns about the mysterious Vanishers stealing train cargo, he tries to resist investigating, but when a friend from the roughs turns up on his doorstep and his fiancee-to-be is kidnapped, it all gets a little too close for comfort.

The original series was really gripping and wonderfully complex, and this book is no exception, despite being much smaller and quite separate in terms of the story-line. I would not say that this novel could stand alone, though. You definitely need to read the Mistborn books first to understand the language used and the way that Allomancy and Feruchemy work. However, the links to the previous events of this world are very nicely incorporated and you even get a nice surprise at the end of the book. The world its-self is as well-drawn as ever, and you really get a sense of place and an image of where you are.

The way that policing and electricity are involved are very interesting, as we never truly got quite the sense of time and place that we have in this book from the previous ones. Here, we can imagine a world not so different from our own. It shows exactly how the world has evolved and exactly where it is lacking. Still, the focus is more on the action than the growth of the community, and on personal growth for that matter.

In fact, we don't see a large amount of personal growth from our protagonist, but since it is a rather short book, I did not expect to. While he does learn a few things along the way, his growth is outshone by that of Lady Marasi, who managed to come to terms with her near kidnap and all the fighting relatively quickly. The best character of all was Wayne, Wax's right-hand-man from the roughs. He brought all the comedy and fun to the book, and his conversations with Wax are extremely enjoyable to read. He also has a very useful power combination. I loved the way that Allomancy and Feruchemy have been combined to create some awe-inspiring powers, therefore also increasing the complexity of the world.

Sanderson's writing style is a little bit less easy to read in this book, but the story and the characters are still as compelling as ever. A lovely companion book, and one that has clear potential for a sequel, should he ever think one up - you become really rather interested in Wax's marriage prospects. Fans of the Mistborn series will be in love once more. 8 out of 10.

Image: booksmugglers.com