Cover for The Alloy of Law by Brandon Sanderson

Three hundred years after the events of the Mistborn trilogy, Scadrial is now 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.

The Alloy of Law, set a few of hundred years after first Mistborn trilogy, introduces us to Wax and Wayne, two Twinborn lawmen who find themselves faced with a mystery, two Twinborn lawmen who find themselves faced with a mystery.

Set in the city of Elendel, this book kicks off a whole new story arc while showing us what happened to the world after our previous cast of heroes helped remake it.

First off, I gotta give Mr. Sanderson credit, here: the idea of revisiting the world of Scadrial three hundred years after the first series was absolutely brilliant, as it allows us to see what has happened to world in the meantime.

And how it’s changed!

While the first book is set in a world of swords and armour and walled cities, the second places us firmly in the Earth equivalent of the late 1800s, where horses and guns are common, locomotives are fairly new, and electric lights are just starting to appear in people’s homes.

To this we mix in Wax, Wayne, and Marasi, our heroes, and a group very unlikely those from the original trilogy.

The closest parallel to Wax might be Kelsier, though Wax is older and more cynical, without any of the grandiosity that we saw with Kelsier. That said, of the group, he’s clearly the leader and the most competent.

Marasi has no obvious parallel, though looking beyond Mistborn, she does bear some resemblance to Shallan from The Stormlight Archives, in that she’s a smart, academic woman looking to prove herself. That said, where Shallan was wracked with self-doubt and never really understood herself, Marasi is brilliant, confident, competent, and just absolutely fantastic. I hope she never changes! What an excellent role model for young women who might be reading these books!

Wayne, by contrast, simply has no parallel. He is… just delightfully weird. I don’t know where Sanderson got the idea of Wayne, but he’s an absolutely fantastic foil to Wax’s cynical seriousness.

As to our villains, I actually quite liked Miles. In his character we see the consequences of someone who takes their Allomantic or Feruchemical abilities as proof they are better than others, to the point that they might see themselves as godlike. In the first trilogy there was just no room for that kind of thinking–when your world is being dominated by a living god, there’s not a lot of room for others to harbour those types of delusions. But in this world, gods are far more vague and distant things, and the idea that perhaps Allomancers are a step toward them doesn’t seem quite so outlandish.

I also really loved all the little historical influence in this world that trace their line back to the original series. From the name of Elendel to the various references to Ironeyes (Marsh) or the Ascendant Warrior (Vin) or Lord Mistborn (Spook)–even the switch of Spook’s street slang to becoming a lofty language only used by the nobility–Sanderson clearly worked hard to show an evolution of the world rather than just revisiting it as it once was.

As for the magic system, we see a further evolution. The dilution of Allomantic lines has ended the existence of Mistborn. However, the introduction of Feruchemy to bloodlines means we now have Twinborn, and the consequences of the blending of these abilities (including, finally, an explanation for the Lord Ruler’s extraordinary healing abilities!)

And finally, I suppose I should talk about the plot. I was genuinely surprised how short this book was, and how straightforward the plot! The bright side is the book was very well paced, lacking any of the middle drag that we saw in some of the previous books in the series. The downside is that, while we saw a resolution to the conflict with Miles, we saw only a glimpse of the broader mystery. This was definitely more a cliffhanger than I’m used to!

Overall, this really felt like a refreshing new take on the world, with a whole new set of interesting, unique characters, rather than a nostalgic return, and for that I give Mr. Sanderson a ton of credit!