Note: All of my reviews are spoiler-free unless otherwise noted in the title. This review does contain spoilers pertaining to the book’s setting and magic system, but there are none pertaining to the plot.
I am a huge fan of Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn series, so I was fairly excited to discover the release of his spin-off novel, The Alloy of Law, a slight departure from his grand plan of three trilogies, each occurring during a different technological era on the planet Scadrial.
The Alloy of Law takes place a little over 300 years after the first trilogy during an age that invokes aspects of both the American “Wild West,” as well as some latter industrial advancements. It follows the storyline of Wax, a Lawbringer from the Roughs, and his approach to… well, a problem. It is definitely a gun-slinger story, in a world marveling at the early advancement of electricity and machinery. The plot utilizes a mixture of Wild West, Heist, Who-Dunnit, and High Fantasy genres, although the mood is very similar to any of Sanderson’s other works. (Yes, I know this is extremely vague, but the plot is the kind that even minor spoilers have a major impact on the plot.)
Fans of the first Mistborn trilogy will not be disappointed with The Alloy of Law. With the exception of two or three unnecessary asides to the reader (explaining an obvious plot development, or reexplaining rules of the magic system solely as a reminder), the writing is done in an enjoyable, fun, and fast-paced style. As should be expected in a Sanderson book, his characters are relatable and matter to the reader from the onset.
One of the best features of The Alloy of Law involves the magic system. While the first Mistborn trilogy dealt with Allomancers, Feruchemists, and Hemalergists, this book primarily deals with just Allomancy and Feruchemy. While the trilogy superbly explored many of the Allomantic combinations, Alloy of Law instead explores Twinborns– individuals who can access just one Allomantic metal, and one metal using Feruchemy. These twin combinations add a unique element to the book, previously only briefly utilized. Exploring this new element to the magic system makes the read good enough on its own.
Another aspect of Alloy of Law that will appeal to fans of the series is a series of references to the trilogy. The main city is Elendel, there are followers of both Harmony and the Survivor, to name a few. There are some other references as well, but as River from Dr. Who always proclaims: “Spoilers!”
Apart from previously-mentioned asides to the reader, my only problem with The Alloy of Law is its short length, but that is merely an annoyance; it is the perfect length for the story that Sanderson wanted to tell, even if it left me wanting more. It also left room for a sequel, so it will be interesting to see if Sanderson revisits this time period before moving on to the second trilogy. Also on a side note, the name”Alloy of Law” might seem rather strange, but I was surprised at how much sense it really made after finishing the book; it fit to the point of being philosophical.
As with any Brandon Sanderson book, I highly recommend this novel. It is well worth the read. My only caution would be that, if you have not done so first, be sure to read the Mistborn Trilogy. It is not completely necessary (well… mostly), but it sure does enhance parts of the story, both in enjoyment and understanding their cultural mythology, as well as understanding passing events more clearly.