It was years ago when I originally read the first in the Mistborn series; The Final Empire. Since then I have listened to the trilogy on audible a number of times. After my most recent listen, I picked up Alloy of Law to read, intrigued by the concept of a story set so many years after the original trilogy. The concept isn’t new, and it is one that I enjoy immensely; it enriches the fantasy world significantly and is actually something I am trying with my own work. However, Alloy of Law is set a whopping 800 years after the events of Hero of Ages, events which left the world of Scadrial as a fledgling society. Though those events have now become distant history, fading into legend, we readers are given snippets and suggestions as to what happened to the surviving members of Kelsier’s crew through the eyes of our new hero Wax.
Waxillium Ladrian, a man born in high society and forced back into his role after spending two decades fighting crime in the Roughs, is having a hard time adjusting. His sense of duty to both his House and peacekeeping are at odds: High Lords do not fly through the night using their allomantic powers, apprehending criminals. But when his friend and fellow Roughs lawmaker Wayne* turns up following a lead about stolen train cargo, Wax just can’t help but get involved. Their investigations lead them to some reveals which blow the story wide open, with Wax all the while searching for harmony between his two responsibilities.
The book is a lot shorter than most of Sanderson’s other works, but it was completely packed. It was certainly not lacking in anything. I am not sure how well it would read as a standalone, a lot of the references would be missed, and it is those references which really add to the story. For example, the main city is called Elendel, named after Elend from the Mistborn trilogy. There are many other places named after the crew too, as well as other mentions of the original characters. There is a lot in the story to make it enjoyable, but I do think that it is so good due to these call-backs.
One thing that I particularly like is that the story is set in the height of an industrial revolution. Progress which had been quashed during the Lord Ruler’s reign is now propelled and the new technology’s interactions with the system of magic is all the more interesting due to its relationship with metals: something which is core to industry. I feel this isn’t something seen much in fantasy, steam-punk excluded (though please reference me works if I am mistaken!).
Sanderson gives so much life into his writing. In the back of each book is a glossary of terms, metal interactions and much more. While looking into this online, my mind was blown when I discovered that the Mistborn series and a number of his other works are all part of the same universe. I didn’t delve too much into this as I have yet to read the Stormlight Archive or Elantris which are also involved in this over-arching story. However, I am just not sure how I will be able to cope with it. I find it hard enough trying to understand our own world and its intricacies.
I whole-heartedly recommend both the Alloy of Law and any/all works by Sanderson. I just cannot begin to describe how much I love his writing. If I am ever even a quarter as good as him then I will consider myself truly blessed.
*Seriously, the name combo, Wax and Wayne, is brilliant.