Musings on writing, lessons learned by an aspiring professional, book reviews, movie reviews, an occasional t.v. show review, and unashamed opinion.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Day 9, and The Alloy of Law

Day 9, whew.  It went well.  I made my word count early this morning.  It was surprising.  It always makes the day go easier when I get all the writing done before going to work.  Then I don't have to feel all guilty for sleeping in or whatever.  That's all to report on the writing.

The real reason for the post was to review The Alloy of Law, by Brandon Sanderson.

I picked this shot of the cover because it focuses on some things I want to talk about before I give the review.  1. Look at the goggles around the neck of the main character, hanging there like he needs to take them along with him in case, I don't know, he needs to ride some kind of steampunky contraption.  Wouldn't that make sense?  Course it would.  Only problem is he never does this.  In fact, the only time the protagonist dons the goggles is when messing with some metallurgy.   No steampunk, sorry.  I only bring this up because this was kind of marketed as a steampunk, western-fantasy.  And, isn't it silly that goggles on a person dressed in certain clothing communicates steampunk?  It's not like you steamy guys and gals own the rights to goggles, sheesh.  2. If you look real close, behind the lettering, there is something that appears to be a steampunky contraption.  The only thing that could resemble that in the book is a crane on a barge, and it's in the story for like two seconds.  Funny that it ended up on the cover.  3. And last, the sidekick, standing all badass behind the dude in front, is holding what looks to be a shotgun or rifle.  Only problem there is that the sidekick wants nothing to do with guns, and won't touch them.  Isn't it interesting how a publisher tries to sell books?

Having said all that, the cover is awesome.  And it got me excited about the book months ago.  So I guess it did its job.  I just wish it wouldn't have made things up in order to sell the book.  Okay, on to the review (I wouldn't feel like myself if I couldn't rant about something for a bit).

The Alloy of Law, hence forth known as: TAoL, was my favorite of the Mistborn books.  I liked it a lot.  It hit all the right buttons, and was the perfect length for Brandon's style of writing.  (I always feel his books are way too long, despite being excellent).  For me, this wasn't my favorite of his works, but it comes in a respectable second.  (The Way of Kings still wins).

The story starts with a lawman named, get ready for this, Waxillium.  It isn't so bad when it gets shortened to just Wax, but Brandon didn't use nicknames nearly as much as he usually does this time around.  This made me sad, but oh well.  Anyway, Wax gets called back to the city to take up his dead uncle's position as Lord Ladrian.  He gives up his cowboy ways and begins to acclimatize to life in high places.  Until his old deputy, Wayne, shows up and enlists his help in solving a crime.  Lots of cool action scenes ensue, (ah yeah, Mistborn gun fights are very cool) and Wax and Wayne find themselves uncovering a conspiracy.  Can't say much else without giving things away.

The villain is one cool dude.  The girl is rather annoying, filling the academic role that Brandon loves to give to a character in every book he writes, and the banter between Wax and Wayne is fun.  It gets over the top sometimes, but usually stays within the bounds of humorous, rather than idiotic (Wayne is actually the funniest when he's away from Wax, doing his own things.  He makes a great character, and has a past that makes him rather interesting).

One thing I had a problem with: Wax is a twinborn, meaning that he can use Allomancy and Feruchemy.  I know that if you haven't read the Mistborn books you have no idea what these two terms mean, but I don't want to get in to explaining two magic systems right now.  If you want to know more, read the books.  Anyway, being a twinborn is supposed to be a rare thing in the world.  Problem is, the sidekick and the Villain have this rare gift as well.  Makes it seem a little less rare when three of the main characters can use two magics.  Just saying.  Mixing the two systems, however, make for some awesome action scenes.  It's really cool how Wax and Wayne use their powers together to co-op their foes into corpses.  (Oh, and if you care, Wayne and the girl are able to burn two metals that aren't featured in the trilogy.  Kind of fun to see new stuff in the world).

If you liked the Mistborn books, or any of Brandon's other novels, you'll like TAoL.  I only hope that it doesn't take too long for the sequel, because the ending, although satisfying, leaves much unanswered.  (It is okay to do this when done right!  I'm glaring at you, Scorch Trials!)  I listened to the audiobook, narrated by Michael Kramer, who does the Wheel of Time series, Mistborn, and The Way of Kings.  His narration is excellent as always.  Go and get this book!

The Alloy of Law gets 4 out of 5 stars.

One last thing.  Well, two, really.  Like you were ready to stop reading... There are NO Mistborns in this book.  You heard me.  It's a Mistborn book without Mistborns.  They don't exist in the world anymore.  Something to do with the end of the trilogy.  I thought that was interesting.  And last, (it really was last... this little tid-bit happened in the epilogue)  a character from the trilogy shows up in a little cameo.  Which character, you ask?  Ha!  You think I'm gonna spoil that?  All I got to say is it made me smile, and maybe pump my fist in the air... maybe.

*Reaches arm up, closes fist... stops.  Tells himself to grow up*

That's all.


  1. What if I haven't read the last of the Mistborn trilogy yet? Can I read this one and not be totally lost? (I got really bored in the middle of the second book and never went back.)