Every time I read one of Brandon Sanderson’s novels, I reaffirm my belief that he is one of my favorite modern fantasy authors. His books are incredibly fun, well-written, and have unique magic systems. Although Alloy of Law: A Mistborn Novel isn’t part of the set of three trilogies he originally outlined at his book signing, it acts as a quick way to move the world timeline along in anticipation of the next trilogy. The Mistborn series, which I read before starting this blog, is based on a complex three part organic magical system: Allomancy, Feruchemy, and Hemalurgy. What this means is that people can “burn” metal ore to get power, creating individuals who can be super strong, heal quickly, push off metal to “fly,” or push metal away to deflect bullets.

Alloy of Law

Alloy of Law is everything I love about old western stories, with an added dash of magic and tortured romance. It’s now 300 years since the last Mistborn novel ended, and the original characters are now part of the world religion. Scadrial is growing quickly and the city now has trains, electric lights,  and skyscrapers. Mistborn are becoming rare, and few people have more than one skill. Yet as the major metropolitan areas begin Mistborn-like Industrial era, the rural areas (called the Roughs) are havens for bandits. Waxillium Ladrian, or Wax, is a sheriff in the Roughs who uses his rare Twin-born ability (he can both push off iron with Allomancy and use Feruchemy increase/decrease his weight) to bring peace to a small town. Yet unexpectedly Wax is called back to the civilized life he had left years ago when a relative dies and he becomes head of the family.

Wax is torn throughout the entire novel between his desire to follow through on family duty and his law-keeping instincts. To protect his family’s dignity (they are secretly going bankrupt), Wax arranges a loveless marriage to unite two strong families.  Everything seems to be going fine, minus how bored Wax is, until his friend and partner from the Roughs, Wayne, comes to town to convince him to return to he law-keeping life. Suddenly Wax and Wayne are in the middle of a crime spree, which is somehow tied to families that have Mistborn ancestors–including the woman he is engaged to. When she is kidnapped, Wax stops at nothing to rescue her and quiet a ghost from his past.

The plot line is dependent on Wax being torn between two choices throughout the entire book. Every time he makes a decision, something happens to make this choice either wrong or very hard to enforce. Although his choices were annoying, stupid, and uninformed at times, Wax is still an adorably endearing character. He truly means well, in a corrupt city where everyone is trying to be the best. His concern for the woman he is engaged to, despite some rather frustrating personality quirks (to put it nicely), shows how dedicated he is to doing what he truly believes is right. Wax is exactly the kind of man you want as sheriff in a lawless back-country town, because you know he will always protect the innocent citizens.

Alloy of Law isn’t a complex story with grand characters and a magnificent story line. It follows the life of one small town sheriff turned family patriarch, who has to make hard decisions to protect the people he loves. Wax does have exciting adventures and there are harrowing gun fights, but Alloy of Law is above all else the story of a sweet man you’d be proud to call a friend.

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