As promised, the conclusion of my featured Mistborn books is the Book of the Week!* This time, it’s the first Wax and Wayne adventure, The Alloy of Law.
*Not actually the conclusion. A review of Shadows of Self is currently in the works, set for posting either Sunday or Monday.
So, this is a really fun book. I’m sure most people know the story of how this came to be, that Sanderson needed a break from writing WoT books and decided to write a little Mistborn short story as a creative exercise, and then because he’s Brandon Sanderson that exercise turned into a four-book interim Mistborn series. Alloy of Law is the first book, featuring a new cast of characters in a new era of Scadrial.
That’s not to say that there aren’t any of the familiar faces. There are tons of callouts to the original trilogy, from the name of the main city (Elendel) to cameos from Marsh and Sazed. The major religions were all founded due to events in the first trilogy.* Roads are named after minor characters like Demoux and Tindwyl. Waxillium Ladrian, the central protagonist, is a descendant of Breeze. It’s all there.
*Except for Trellism, but we’ll get to that in the Shadows of Self review.
The tech era is fascinating, due to the unique interactions with the magic systems on this world. While steampunk is far from my favorite subgenre of fantasy, it works perfectly with Allomancy and Feruchemy. The tech makes for thrilling action sequences, and the gunfight between Wax and Miles on the train is something I’m positively dying to see on the big screen.
The plot is very fast-paced. Other than the prologue, everything in this book happens over the course of just a couple days. The first time I read Alloy of Law, it sucked me in to the point that I read the thing in a shade under two hours. When I say this is a fast book, I mean it’s a fast book.
There isn’t really much to say about the characters in this one. Wax is a fairly cut-and-dry reluctant hero with emotional issues holding him back. Wayne is an amusing sidekick. Marasi is an awesome, strong woman who’s too spunky for her own good. Steris is absent for most of the book. The really compelling character in this one, I thought, was the antagonist Miles. While in some ways he’s a standard fallen-from-grace bad guy, he has some great passages of import and is the lone follower of Trellism that we’ve seen so far. There are huge implications there.
Overall, Alloy of Law is really just a set-up book, introducing a new era and new characters in a fun but light plot. The meat comes in the next book. I definitely recommend giving Alloy a read, and you really don’t need to have read the original trilogy to get it. I give Alloy of Law four out of five stars.