Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Book Review - Mistborn: The Alloy of Law

Brandon Sanderson's done it again. And that's why he's become one of my favorite authors. You can find an article on the Tor blog here where Brandon wonders if his 14-year-old self would approve of what he did in this fantasy book.

Well, I loved what he did.

Here's a synopsis:

Three hundred years after the events of the Mistborn trilogy, Scadrial is on the verge of modernity, with railroads to supplement the canals, electric lighting in the streets and the homes of the wealthy, and the first steel-framed skyscrapers racing for the clouds.

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'm good with some fight scenes in books. If they drag on too long I find myself getting bored and will skim ahead to see what the outcome is. What's surprising is how much I enjoyed the Mistborn trilogy's fight scenes using the unique magics of the world, both for the Allomancers (people who can "burn" metals and get power from it) and the Feruchemists (people who can store things like health, weight, strength, etc. into "metalminds" on their bodies).

I love what Sanderson's done in this new society where the main character can do both Allomancy and Feruchemy. Oh, my, the things he can do with it. In Brandon's article above, he spoke about the introduction of guns into this world. Adding this element to the already clever and exciting fight was brilliant. I grew up in a day when westerns were big on TV and in the movies. I remember Clint Eastwood before he became famous in the Spaghetti Westerns like The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly back when he was on Rawhide. The feel that Sanderson brought to the book matched well with my memories but, as always, with his own fascinating twist.

Brandon did a great job blending of our turn-of-the-century-type (the one before) technology with trains, horseless carriages, skyscrapers into the culture and political system we were familiar with in the earlier series. I loved what he's done with the place, so to speak.

And the characters. Brandon writes characters I love. I love their flaws (oh, my gosh, Wayne just makes me smile!), their strengths, their humor, and their interactions with each other. In the character Waxillium, you've got a brilliant mind mixed with amazing physical skills all set inside a man who's dealing with a terrible emotional burden. A man with a powerful sense of justice and a need to do something to make things better. Kind of a "saving people thing" that Harry Potter had--only Wax is no kid.

I'm glad this is the start of a new series. As always, Sanderson throws in some great twists that will keep you on your toes. I highly recommend this book.

Tomorrow is the last chance to enter to win The King's Envoy in The Give Books for Christmas Giveaway Hop. 
Click here to sign up. I'm choosing the winner at noon.

Also tomorrow, you  might want to stop over at Matt's place at The Quintessentially Questionable Query Experiment. He's going to post my query and critique it on Friday.


  1. Sanderson's book sounds like a real page-turner, with lots of riveting elements! Thanks for the review ...

  2. Sounds like an amazing book. Sadly I've never heard of it before. I'm going to write it down so I can read it.

    Also good job getting your query critiqued. I'm excited to see it.

  3. I've heard such great things about Brandon. I have Mistborn #1 sitting on my side table waiting to be read. Is the book you just read part of the trilogy?

  4. The book sounds great. I'd really like to read it, but will I be at a loss if I haven't read any of Brandon's books before?

  5. I'm looking forward to seeing your query. Glad you decided to do it.

  6. Angie - this book takes place 300 years after the end of the Mistborn series.

    franklycreative - I don't think so. He's very thorough in his world building. There are references to the time before (the Mistborn trilogy) but you don't have to know about them to get it. It just means so much more when you do. Kind of like the new Star Trek movie. You totally got the humor, but there was another layer of humor if you were familiar with the classic series.

  7. Great review Donna about a fascinating new world. It sounds really interesting.

  8. This series sounds interesting. One day I'm gonna sit down and catch up on some reading. Right now I'm working my way through the Game of Thrones series. (I read a few pages each night to get my work out of my head -this way I can actually sleep).

    Excited for your query tomorrow. I'm learning so much through the process of other people's bravery.

  9. I've never read his work. I bet my 17 year old son would love it (although I like fantasy/scifi too).

    I'm going to pop over to his website and Amazon and delve into it a bit more.

    Sia McKye's Thoughts...OVER COFFEE

  10. Didn't he start writing this series with Robert Jordan?
    And Matthew does an awesome job with query letters!

  11. This is a fantastic book, right up my alley. I love anything with a new world in it. Have a Merry Christmas since I won't see you till next year. :)

  12. Alex - No, the Mistborn series is all Brandon's and the first couple of books were out before Jordan's widow approached him to finish the series once Robert died.

  13. I love finding books I love enough that I want to blog about them! Enjoy it. :)

  14. I love a good fight scene, but like you I get bored if it lasts too long. And the next thing you know I'm leafing through the book to find the hot make out scenes. :D

  15. You had me at good magical fight scenes :)

    I'll put this on my TBR list. And the other trilogy too.

    Great review Donna.


  16. Sounds awesome, and man! What a title.

  17. I LOVE the Mistborn series! I love that he did his version of a "short story" (hehe) in that same world! The concept is fascinating. I can't wait to read it!


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