Book Review: The Alloy of Law by Brandon Sanderson (A Mistborn Novel)

Wow! This book was the perfect continuation of the Mistborn series–a must read for fans of the original trilogy!

5/5 stars

A companion to the Mistborn series

cover the alloy of law

 Amazon description:

New York Times bestselling author Brandon Sanderson returns to the exciting world of the Mistborn in The Alloy of Law.

In the three hundred years since the events of the Mistborn trilogy, science and technology have marched on. Scadrial is now on the verge of modernity, with railroads, electric lighting, and even the first steel-framed skyscrapers racing for the clouds.

Yet even with these advances, the magics of Allomancy and Feruchemy continue to play a role in this reborn world. Out in the frontier lands known as the Roughs, they are crucial tools for those attempting to establish order and justice.

One is Waxillium Ladrian, a rare Twinborn who can Push on metals with his Allomancy and use Feruchemy to become lighter or heavier at will. After twenty years in the Roughs, Wax must now put away his guns and assume the duties incumbent upon the head of a noble house-until he learns the hard way that the mansions and elegant tree-lined streets of the city can be even more dangerous than the dusty plains of the Roughs.

My review

This book was so much fun to read. Fight scenes, great characters, witty banter–it has everything.

The characters are wonderfully alive and endearingly hilarious. Waxillium (AKA Wax) is a great “honest” character–his drive to be a lawman and his moral compass are believable and never become preachy or cheesy. His past in the Roughs sets him up to feel completely out of place in the high society world of being a Lord in Elendel (and so the throwbacks to Mistborn begin ;)). Though he is in his forties, his character still felt approachable and readable for a YA audience. His banter with Wayne (his sidekick) was funny, adding a dose of humor to a grim plot, as well as portraying the depth of their friendship effortlessly. They are the perfect crime fighting duo, with Wax’s fierce drive for justice and Wayne’s obsession with disguises and his lucky hat (once you get over the fact that their names are Wax and Wayne…God). Marasi added a dose of youth to the story and grounded what could have been a ridiculous collection of fight scenes and magic.

On the fight scenes–they are amazing. Probably the most enjoyable part of the book. Brandon Sanderson’s continuation of the magical elements of the Mistborn world work perfectly in this companion novel. His understanding of the physics of Allomancy and Feruchemy make Wax’s fight scenes breath-takingly kick-ass. I could read an entire novel of just these fight scenes (*fangirling*).

The plot of the book is good. I liked the conflicts it presented Wax’s character in regards to getting back into being a lawman. The mystery unfolds nicely and the villain is appropriately daunting (once you know who he is). It is fast-paced, never letting the reader rest or get bored. In classic Sanderson style, there are lots of twists and turns and startling reveals–though not as emotionally damaging as in the original Mistborn series. On the whole, this book is lighter than the Mistborn trilogy, with more of an emphasis on fight scenes and banter than heart-wrenching drama. Fans of the series will probably appreciate this–as well as the fact that this book reads significantly faster than the other books.

The world building takes what is a good story and makes it amazing. I loved that Brandon Sanderson didn’t let his fantasy realm stagnate. Three hundred years in the future, the world looks very different, even if the magic is (mostly) the same. As a reader, I got to at once revisit one of my favorite magical worlds ever and to discover a new one. The throwbacks and allusions to the events of the first series were so much fun to read; but there were also names of events and people that weren’t immediately familiar to people who had read about the city’s founding. The myths and lore surrounding the ending of the Mistborn series and the subtle differences between what the reader knows to be true and the rumors floating around three centuries later added realism to the world building. Also, the Roughs alluded to the setting of Joss Whedon’s Firefly, endearing me to the story from page one.

Anyone who read the Mistborn trilogy would love this book. I can’t wait for future installments of this story (whose ending was left rather wide open) and for other novels set even further into the future.

Comic Con–Land of the Geeks, AKA My New Home

I went to Comic Con in San Diego for the first time yesterday.

It was sooooooo freaking awesome!!!! There aren’t words.

So many people. So many cosplays. So much amazing art. So many geeky t-shirts. My life is complete.

(I didn’t get to see any panels, which was the only downside. I’m crossing my fingers for next year.)

I don’t like posting stuff just about my life…but I can tie this into this blog!

Remember the Mistborn series by Brandon Sanderson I finished last week?

I bought stuff.

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Okay, so it’s really only funny if you’ve read the series. But now my sister and I have our own metal vials, of Copper and Atium. So, yay!

Also, check out the warning in the middle of the label. In the series, the characters have to swallow the metals to use them, so the package has not one, but two warnings not to ingest them. The guy who sold it to me also warned me about it.

Thanks guys. Because I was really going to down some copper dust in my spare time, just to see if I was a Misting. Right.

I also found a really cool Edgar Allan Poe t-shirt. He’s one of my favorite authors ever, and this design is just awesome.

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The designer is

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Of course, I bought way more than those two things. But those are the only two items that tie in to the literary theme of this blog.

What about you guys? Did any of you go to Comic Con this year? Have you gone a year in the past? Do you want to go in the future?

 

 

Book Review: The Mistborn series by Brandon Sanderson

HOLY CRAP.

These three books are probably the best series I’ve read this year.

Not even sort of joking.

They are sooooooooooooooooooo good.

A shout-out to my amazing friend who recommended these to me. I never would have picked them out on my own…and my life would have been missing a piece of itself.

It seems redundant to say, but I give this series 5/5 stars.

Everything is perfect. Just–AHHHHHHHHHHH! How do I describe how much I liked these books?

First, the amazon description of book one, Mistborn:

Brandon Sanderson, fantasy’s newest master tale spinner, author of the acclaimed debut Elantris, dares to turn a genre on its head by asking a simple question: What if the hero of prophecy fails? What kind of world results when the Dark Lord is in charge? The answer will be found in the Mistborn Trilogy, a saga of surprises and magical martial-arts action that begins in Mistborn.

For a thousand years the ash fell and no flowers bloomed. For a thousand years the Skaa slaved in misery and lived in fear. For a thousand years the Lord Ruler, the “Sliver of Infinity,” reigned with absolute power and ultimate terror, divinely invincible. Then, when hope was so long lost that not even its memory remained, a terribly scarred, heart-broken half-Skaa rediscovered it in the depths of the Lord Ruler’s most hellish prison. Kelsier “snapped” and found in himself the powers of a Mistborn. A brilliant thief and natural leader, he turned his talents to the ultimate caper, with the Lord Ruler himself as the mark.
Kelsier recruited the underworld’s elite, the smartest and most trustworthy allomancers, each of whom shares one of his many powers, and all of whom relish a high-stakes challenge. Only then does he reveal his ultimate dream, not just the greatest heist in history, but the downfall of the divine despot.
But even with the best criminal crew ever assembled, Kel’s plan looks more like the ultimate long shot, until luck brings a ragged girl named Vin into his life. Like him, she’s a half-Skaa orphan, but she’s lived a much harsher life. Vin has learned to expect betrayal from everyone she meets, and gotten it. She will have to learn to trust, if Kel is to help her master powers of which she never dreamed.

The review (no spoilers):

There are the characters. Vin, the protagonist, begins the books as a paranoid, skittish creature who you instantly fall in love with for her fragility and at the same time her impossible strength. She grows with the series but she never stops being the person I fell in love with, only becoming more and more amazing. The other characters in the story (I’d list them, but spoilers) are complex, alive, and endearing. None of the characters were flat, and they all were important in their own ways.

Then the plot.

I’m just going to put this out there: in the first pages of the book, Kelsier lays out the entire plan, in detail, that what one would assume the plot of the book will follow.

And yet, these books are the most unpredictable novels I’ve probably ever read. Even though I should have felt like I knew everything that would happen, the series always left me in a state of panic, flying blindly through the intense plot that ties the books together.

The series has something most series lack: continuity. Though the characters grow and change and each book has a distinct plot, the entire series is held together by underlying questions, common themes, and running conflicts. And the series forces you to read all three books, because these strings tying the books together aren’t exposed and explained fully until the end. All three books work together to create a whole; looking back on them, you realize that scenes you thought you understood in chapter one weren’t explained until the end of book three.

Most books out there talk about one “social issue” through their plot, conveyed through some running plot elements and themes. In Patrick Ness’s Chaos Walking series, themes of sacrifice and destruction highlight the corruption of power and the trials of war. Through her Gemma Doyle trilogy, Libba Bray speaks about women’s roles in society and the strains power can put on friendship. Power, overcoming stereotypes, war, religion, friendship, love–these are themes we see in almost everything we read today. But usually, an author chooses one or two of these elements to focus on.

Brandon Sanderson chose them all. Over the course of the series, he tackles both sides of rebellion, the disconnect between ideals and reality, the difficulty of establishing democracy, the burdens of wielding power, the roles of kings, women’s rights, being underestimated by society, the effects of abuse, atheism and crises of faith, the power and importance of faith, the meaning of love and friendship. EVERYTHING.

Part of the reason he could work all of these themes into his series is that each book is really long. I didn’t go into the series expecting this, because the books–that I bought–were average in size. Less than an inch and a half thick. But they have very thin paper. Each book has somewhere around 500-750 pages.

But they aren’t a slow read. That is one of the most impressive things Brandon Sanderson accomplished. I never felt a lull in the plot. I was sucked in by page one and hurtled headlong straight through the last page of the third book. Looking at my physical progress though the book, it looked like I was reading slowly, but in truth, I read the entire series faster than my usual pace, desperate to find out what was going to happen next.

And the book should be a slow read. It is in third person, which, at least for me, is usually harder to get sucked into than first person. It is a different area of the fantasy genre than I usually read. It pops between characters, and in the later books, entire plot lines, continuously. By the rules of everything else I’ve read, one of these other plot lines should be less interesting than the other ones, and I expected to feel some disappointment or drag when switching between plots. I didn’t.

OOH! And a quick shout-out to the cover designer. They are really accurate, and if I’d read these books when I was judging books by their covers, this definitely would have gone in the good pile.

Please read these books. If you don’t pick up any of the other books I review on this blog, at least try these. They’re long, sure, but worth it.

Book 1: Mistborn

Book 2: The Well of Ascension

Book 3: The Hero of Ages

My To Be Read List Update

Whoops.

Remember that post from last week? My To Be Read List?

Yeah, I only read two books on that list.

Turns out, the Mistborn novels are reaaaaaaaaaaaaallly long. Amazing, powerful, emotional, unique, well-written, and awesome, but also deceptively long (they look sort of average length).

The end of second book sort of ripped out my heart and left me with major trust issues. I don’t know if I’ve ever been so surprised and betrayed by a book.

I’ll post a review for the series once I read the third book.

And then I’ll read the rest of the books I talked about.

You know what they say about best laid plans…