The Alloy of Law

In Alloy of Law, Sanderson demonstrates not one, but two things that he’s done which I’ve never seen another author pull off.

For one, he has a massive shared universe in the Cosmere. Each world has its own unique magic system (Sanderson’s strength) with just enough relation to the others to hint that they might just be part of a bigger universe.

For two, he’s managed to take a fantasy series (Mistborn) and advance the timeline a few hundred years. The magic is still there, but it’s grown and changed as the technology of the world has grown and changed. Rather than the semi-traditional fantasy world of Mistborn, Alloy of Law is set in a rough equivalent to Victorian / Wild West. The characters are new (which is always a risk), but the world is the same.

It makes for an interesting story.

Basically, Wax and Wayne are lawmen from the Roughs come back to the city (the former fully intending to retire). There is a series of train robberies and they get drug back into the job of upholding the law–roughs style. It’s a mix of fantasy and a western, with a good bit of mystery for good measure.

Updating the magic system a bit, both Wax and Wayne are twinborn: those with both a single Allomantic ability (to burn metals) and a single Feruchemical one (to store attributes). Wax and push off metal and change his weight; Wayne can create a bubble of sped up time and heal himself. Both very useful abilities for lawkeepers. It’s interesting to see how the magic system has changed since the original trilogy.

Overall, it’s a quick and fun book, with none of the epic scope of the original trilogy. I’ve read that was intentional, that Alloy of Law is more of a breather before the next trilogy (which will be set in the same time period featuring Wax and Wayne, but will have a wider arcing plot). I look forward to whatever comes next!

Side note: This time around, I listened to Alloy of Law on audiobook. The narrator was fantastic. I particularly like how he handled Wayne’s various accents.

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