Review: The Alloy of Law. Wax & Wayne 1 by Brandon Sanderson

The Alloy of LawAlloy-of-Law-UKsm

336 pages
Gollancz
published in 2011

1. The Alloy of Law
2. Shadows of Self
3. Bands of Mourning
4. The Lost Metal (probably sooner than you think!)

In a world recovering only slowly from evil, a world where allomancers wield immense power through their ability to unleash the magic bound up in common metals someone who can burn metals that no-one has burned before can tip the balance…

This is the first of Sanderson’s novels that takes place 300 years after the Mistborn trilogy and is supposed to be a stand alone, followed by another trilogy. It introduces the reader to two new main characters, Wax and Wayne and tells the story from their point of view.
I quickly came to like both of them. Wax is a 40-year old lawman who used to live in the Roughs and took down criminals. In the beginning of the story he returns to the capital city Elendel and tries to save his house which was left in debt after his uncle died in an accident. He is struggling with his new role though that involves going to parties and meeting with the aristocracy of the city. Wax is Twinborn, which means that he has one Allomantic as well as one Feruchemical ability (Knowing the Mistborn Trilogy will be VERY helpful here 😉 ). He is a pretty good shot and built up a reputation for himself in the past. He is quite stern but still has some good humor and can’t stay away from crimes happening in town. He tries to stick to his morals and I couldn’t help but like him a lot. Wayne is a bit of the opposite. He is a bit younger and doesn’t take anything too seriously although he has his own demons following him and depth to his character. He is also Twinborn but has different abilities. Wax & Wayne’s exchanges and dialogues were a lot of fun to read and in this regard they reminded me of Locke Lamora and Jean Tannen from Scott Lynch’s Gentleman Bastard novels. Loved the humor in The Alloy of Law!

He seemed baffled. Of course, most things about guns baffled Wayne, who was generally better off throwing a gun at someone than trying to fire it at them.

The secondary characters are great as well, for example Steris, a very bland and stiff noble woman of a minor house that has lots of money but no reputation. She thinks it’s a good idea to marry Wax as his house has fame but is in desperate need of money. Marasi, who gets introduced as her cousin has a bigger part in the story and we sometimes see the events from her point of view. She is also really interesting and has lots of layers to her character which makes her interactions with Wax and Wayne very lively.

The world has steampunk characteristics as science and and technology are developing quickly and characters now use guns and we even see the first cars as well as electricity. I loved, loved, LOVED all the references to well known characters from the Mistborn Trilogy that are now part of myths and religion. And there are some surprises that I won’t mention! But be prepared to see someone you might know 🙂 (I didn’t expect that but it was awesome!!) Lots of what we know is lost, even some metals and there are apparently no Mistborn anymore but on the other hand some more metals have been discovered.

The story is a mix of genres! We have some western elements, as well as traditional fantasy with the magic system we already know from the previous trilogy. Also, as already mentioned, steampunk and a crime story that centers around mysterious robberies of train shipments that can’t be explained. The story has a lot of action and reminds me of Steelheart in this regard. Wax & Wayne seem a bit too powerful in some scenes as they easily defeat about 30 or so enemies in one run. Still, I enjoyed the action scenes but the big winner for me were the funny exchanges between Wax and Wayne and the great humor in this book. Also some of the quotes were damn good!

He turned to her. “You are inexperienced. So was I, once. So is every man. The measure of a person is not how much they have lived. It is not how easily they jumped at a noise or how quick they are to show emotion. It’s in how they make use of what life has shown them.”

I was a bit underwhelmed by the conclusion as I was expecting something more mind-blowing but it was still a fun read and although it has a conclusion, it leaves room for more and I am curious about what’s going to happen! Especially when the past is involved 😉

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