Book Review: The Alloy of Law by Brandon Sanderson

Posted April 20, 2016 by Kathy Davie in Book Reviews / 3 Comments

Book Review: The Alloy of Law by Brandon Sanderson

I received this book for free from the library in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

The Alloy of Law by Brandon Sanderson
Published by Tor Books on November 8, 2011
Pages: 332
Format: Hardcover
Source: the library

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Also by this author: Shadows of Self, The Bands of Mourning

Fourth in the Mistborn science fiction fantasy series and revolving around those whose abilities are enhanced by swallowing metals. The Alloy of Law starts a new age in the world of the Mistborn, taking place 300 years after The Hero of Ages, 3. The focus is on Wax Landrian, lawman, and his “trading” deputy, Wayne.

My Take

Jesus, that Steris is something else. A twenty-page contract with each step of their “courtship” outlined per a schedule. Romance? Page thirteen. I do have to give Steris credit for how very well she explains the strategy of navigating society. I suspect her father will be getting the best of the deal, based on his reactions to the stories Wax began to tell at the wedding, lol.

It’s an interesting world with its obsession with metals for the Allomancers. It’s also a frustrating read as I can’t figure out how events from 300 years ago tie in with references made in The Alloy of Law.

I do want to read Shadows of Self, as I really enjoyed Marasi’s romantic yet pedantic character. I want to know if Wax holds by his decision at the end of the story, and how Marasi fits into it all. She certainly made Wax sit up with her statistics comparing crime in Elendel with crime in the Roughs. She mentions the “broken windows” theory of crime clean-up, and it still makes just as much sense as the first time I heard about it.

The relationship between Wax and Wayne is hysterical. Old friends and long-time comrades who zing and sling off each other with glee. Wayne does make me a bit nuts, and I feel quite conflicted with his habit of “trading”. He has quite the unique perspective on the world.

The battles they fight sound like a cross between the OK Corral and Le Cirque du Soleil with a dose of James Bond and the evil Spectre…bwah-ha-hahhh… It’s about right, as The Alloy of Law is more fun-filled than tension-filled.

The Story

It’s been five months since Lessie, twenty years since Wax left Elendel. Now he’s back and charged with bringing House Ladrian back into prominence. Pushing down his instincts as a lawman.

The Characters

Lord Waxillium “Wax” Ladrian, Sixteenth High Lord of House Ladrian, is Twinborn — a Feruchemist (he can make himself weigh more or less) and Allomancer with a power of Steelpushing.

Wayne (a.k.a., Uncle Maksil) is Wax’s irreverent deputy (and former thief) as well as a Twinborn who uses bendalloy to fuel his Allomancy as a Slider (create a bubble of compressed time around himself) with the Feruchemical ability to heal fast, a Bloodmaker. Abrigain is an old lady. Farnsward Dubs says he’s a bodyguard to Lord Evenstrom Tekiel.

House Ladrian is…
…the family name and seat in Elendel. Wax had been at odds with his Uncle Edwarn, a gambler who had been the last head of House Ladrian. Telsin had been Wax’s sister. I think Hinston was the heir who died. Tillaume is the family butler. Miss Grimes is the house steward. Kip is a footman? Limmi is head of the ground-floor staff. Krent is the coachman.

The City of Elendel

The unfriendly Ranette is a Lurcher and makes quality guns, including Wax’s beloved Sterrions. She’s got a new gun for Wax to try: a Vindication. Nouxil is a missing gunsmith.

The uppercrust of Elendel
Lord Harms wants Wax to marry his staid, disapproving daughter, Steris. “Cousin” Marasi, Lady Colms, is staying with the Harmses as she attends university; she has the Allomancy ability to slow down time, a Pulser. She has some other hidden talents: markswoman, seeing patterns, thinking… Armal is the cousin taken hostage.

Lady Aving Cett of House Cett, Lord Stanton, Lady Entrone, Lord Shewrman, the least likable of society, and Lord Alernath are some of the people Wax is meeting. Augustin Tekiel of House Tekiel is mostly involved in banking, insurance, and security. Yes, it’s one of the richest houses. Lord Peterus is the retired chief of the Eighth constabulary; Marthin is his wife. The Yomen-Ostelin wedding is the event of the year with Lord Joshin and Lady Mi’chelle entering wedded bliss.

The constables
Constable-General Brettin is in charge of the Fourth Octant. Reddi is one of his men. “Constable Guffon Trenchant” is with the Seventh Octant. Arintol is said to be a good solicitor. Daius is the senior prosecutor.

Professors Modicarm and Aramine are a couple of Marasi’s instructors at the university. Dr. Murnbru was the psychologist who wrote Wax’s psychological profile.

The Vanishers are…
…thieves who cause whole cargoes to vanish. Tarson is a Pewterarm with koloss blood. Clamps does all the recruiting. Sindren is a new lad. Mister Suit leads the Set who are bankrolling the Vanishers. Push and Pull are the minders Suit sets on the leader.

The various religions include…
Survivorists and Pathians, whose worshippers are forbidden to worship the Pathian god, Harmony; its central core is to do more good than harm. Slivereyes worship Ironeyes. A Faceless Immortal is considered the hands of Harmony.

The Roughs are…

…this world’s outback of beyond. Their Wild West. Weathering is the town Wax policed. Feltrel is a dead town now. Far Dorest is Jon Deadfinger‘s territory. Lessie was a female lawman whom Wax loved. Barl would not be Wax’s choice to enforce the law. Over in True Madil, Miles “Hundredlives” Dagouter, a Compound Twinborn, doesn’t care if someone is guilty or not. Arbitan was another lawman. Paclo the Dusty was Wax’s deputy before Wayne.

Bloody Tan was a psychopath and mortician. Geormin had been a coachman; and Annarel was a visiting geologist. Donal is a manufacturer and thief competing against Wax and Wayne. Peret the Black is said to have been Wax’s first bounty, then Taraco, Harrisel Hard, and Pars, a murdering butcher.

Coinshots can push against metal. A Crasher is a mix of a Coinshot and a Skimmer. Lurchers, a.k.a., Ironpullers, can pull themselves to metal. Tineyes can enhance their senses. Rioters and Soothers can influence people’s emotions. Thugs. Pewterarms are very strong. Compounding is when Allomancy and Feruchemy share a metal, and it compounds the ability tenfold.

Rust and Ruin is an expletive. Aluminum is Allomatically inert. The Words of Founding seem to be a sort of letter which tells of the world’s past achievements. The Originators?? Perhaps they’re Vin, Elend, and Sazed? I suspect Vin is who they refer to as the Ascendant Warrior.

I can’t remember who Lord Mistborn actually was at the end of The Hero of Ages. It does say he was “the most powerful Allomancer who ever lived with all sixteen of the Allomantic powers in one body.”

The Cover and Title

The cover feels like an old-fashioned photograph but with a hazy golden background of life in the big city of Elendel and brownish black for the two main characters: Wayne, tilting that lucky hat of his and Wax, hand in pocket, pondering his next move.

The title is like the blend of metals, The Alloy of Law, as Wax and Miles discover.

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3 responses to “Book Review: The Alloy of Law by Brandon Sanderson

  1. The series seems to have a lot of characters and places to remember. Do you have a hard time remembering who’s who? Just wondering because I have that problem with some sci-fi and fantasy.

  2. I usually start off with part of a memory, and then it solidifies as I read on. The sci-fi series I do have problems remembering who’s who is David Weber’s Honor Harrington and his Safehold series. Oy. Oh, and Dorothy Dunnett’s House of Nicolo and The Lymond Chronicles, lol. It’s when it gets into that “cast of thousands”…and with those weirdly spelled names that I get a bit nuts.

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