Review | The Allow of Law by Brandon Sanderson

The Alloy of Law (Mistborn, #4)

I took me a long time to pick up The Alloy of Law: A Mistborn Novel, and I regret that I didn’t read it sooner. It’s a great read.

I am accustomed to being surprised by Brandon Sanderson.  He’s one of the more innovative writers in the fantasy genre today, managing with his Mistborn Trilogy to breath fresh life into a genre that had seen everything. But when I saw that he was going “steam punk” with the world he had created in Mistborn, I found myself a wary. I like westerns, I like fantasy, and I like science-fiction, but I like them distinct and separate.

After reading The Emperor’s Soul, though, I remembered Sanderson’s talent for world building and character, and I decided to give the fantasy/western a try, hoping not to be disappointed.

I was not.

While I’ve seen a lot of people give only grudging appreciation for The Alloy of Law, I thoroughly enjoyed every page. The characters are fresh, the world is new, if familiar, and the story moves along at a quick clip.

The Alloy of Law takes place three hundred years after the events of the Mistborn Trilogy, and the world, in sharp contrast to most frozen-in-the-middle-ages fantasy, has developed technologically to an era of coal, steam, and gun powder. In other words, it’s not unlike our old west. And I like me some good westerns.

Here’s the Goodreads teaser of the plot:

Kelsier, Vin, Elend, Sazed, Spook, and the rest are now part of history—or religion. Yet even as science and technology are reaching new heights, the old 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 the brave men and women attempting to establish order and justice.

One such 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 has been forced by family tragedy to return to the metropolis of Elendel. Now he must reluctantly put away his guns and assume the duties and dignity incumbent upon the head of a noble house. Or so he thinks, 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.

I admit that, initially at least, it was hard for me to take the main character–a guy by the name of Waxillium–serious. I mean, this is the old west, right? Not ancient Rome. Waxillium as a name seemed both pretentious and obnoxious.

I realized, later, that it was pretty typical for almost every Sanderson I’ve read–it always comes at you from a direction you don’t expect, later surprising you as it feels comfortable and familiar as Sanderson skillfully weaves the story. Before long, though, Sanderson’s ability to weave an action packed plot around characters that are both flawed and interesting sucked me in, and I forgot about the names and the book’s relationship to the original series. The Alloy of Law pulled me in, and by the end my only complaint was that it was, perhaps, too short.

But only “perhaps.” While its true that Sanderson might have explored the relationships more or better followed up the relationship to the original trilogy, the conclusion was satisfactory, and I was satisfied.

If you’re interested in something unique, enjoyable, and well-executed, I recommend picking up The Alloy of Law, even if you’ve never read the previous books. The Alloy of Law survives both as a stand alone and as a clever continuation of the world that Mistborn introduced.


Overall rating4 of 5 stars false

Parent’s guide:

  • Sex: None
  • Violence: Plentiful, though not graphic. Mostly shooting and fist fights.
  • Language: None.

About Daniel

Daniel Burton lives in Salt Lake County, Utah, where he practices law by day and everything else by night. He reads about history, politics, and current events, as well as more serious genres such as science fiction and fantasy. You can also follow him on his blog where he muses on politics, the law, books and ideas.

  • I keep eyeballing this book and wondering about it…I should pick it up! I haven’t read a Sanderson book yet, but they sound great.
    I am cruising by from the A-Z challenge sign up list. I should be working on my posts, but couldn’t focus. Good luck to you! 🙂

    • You should definitely pick it up, ocdReader. It’s a fun read.

      Hey, thanks for stopping by, and best of luck with A-Z!

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