Sunday, December 11, 2011

REVIEW: The Alloy of Law by Brandon Sanderson

I have a lot of mixed feelings about this one. I should preface my thoughts with a few things ... Firstly, other than Ian Irvine's Three World series, the Mistborn trilogy are at the top of my list of favourite books ever. The Alloy of Law is (obviously) not only by the same author, but is set in the same world - a sequel of sorts - and so I had very high expectations. Secondly, I began reading this while on holiday on a tropical island and honestly only got through about ten pages. For other reasons since then it has been a very slow and gradual read. Being quite a short novel to begin with, I think this ruined the flow and fast-paced nature of the story for me.

In terms of writing I think this one sits on par with Sanderson's other works - brilliant. He quickly yet thoroughly introduces a remade Scadrial in the heart of the industrial era as well as a small cast of endearing characters. As with most successful novellas, no time is wasted on unnecessary details, but neither are the crucial ones left out. 

However, this is were I was left a little disappointed. Since the events in Mistborn the physical world has dramatically changed, yet the metallic arts including Allomance and Feruchemy are still present in much the same way. Characters from Mistborn who had the most influence on events have also now become divine to some extent and several religions have sprung up following their teachings (as humans are wont to do). There are mentions of Vindication, the Lord Mistborn, Ironeyes and Harmony and while references were fleeting in the beginning I was sincerely hoping that more would be revealed as the story progressed. Alas I was left crushed.

To be honest I have no real interest in crime and investigation or anything resembling the real world. While Mistborn was a true epic fantasy, I felt The Alloy of Law was a far cry from it and was instead focused on a crime-solving, gun-toting, train-riding shoot up. Sure there was still elements of 'magic', the most obvious being Allomancy, but other than that, it reeked of science-fiction.

I found myself having little to no interest in the primary (well, only) story and instead wanted to know more about Harmony (presumably Sazed), the Originators and all of the religions. Texts and laws set by Harmony are also mentioned but never explored. I wanted more of the history, of the world, of the magic, but instead I was reading about guns. It seems to me that setting this story in a Mistborn setting had little more to do than being able to use the same system of magic.

I also had a lot of unanswered questions which I feel may have been answered at the end of The Hero of Ages (anyone?) such as a mention about creating a whole new set of alloys when combining them with the two 'mythical' God metals, one being atium. What was the other one? And what did the new set do?

All of that aside, I still think it was a good read, but just not wholly what I expected or wanted. What I did find interesting was the ending and how much it smacked of a sequel; while the battle was won, the war seemed far from over.

Not quit sure what I'll read next ... I think I will give The Sending a go and discern whether or not I need to reread the Obernewtyn series before any of it will make sense. If that is the case I think I may wait until The Red Queen is released and do it all in one hit. If that is the case I'll read Elantris.

No new purchases recently, far too poor!

EDIT: Ok I did some researching and found this great site/page: which explains a lot, some of which I now remember from Mistborn and some that I didn't even get, such as the other God metal was the one that Vin gave Elend at the Well of Ascension and it creates powerful Mistborns. I also never knew that all of Sanderson's world were connected and in such an interesting way!

1 comment:

  1. This one is still sitting on my shelf, sigh, I need to catch up!