Friday, May 18, 2012

Review: The Alloy of Law by Brandon Sanderson ★★★★

The Alloy of Law (Mistborn, #4)The Mistborn trilogy was the first experience I had with Brandon Sanderson, and I loved it. I loved the world, the magic system, the characters, the concept, everything. Loved it.

Now, revisiting the world after 300 in-story years and about 3 real-life years, during which time I read The Way of Kings (fantastic) and Elantris (pretty good), I find myself having something like mixed feelings about Alloy.

First, a little about the world itself. I was surprised how much I missed this system of magic! It took a little bit to get used to the rules again, but it was like riding a bike. I loved the kind of Gunslingeresque feel to this book as well, and thought that the technological advancement to the age of guns, newfound electricity, trains, and motorcars was well handled and fit perfectly. The old gang are legends, the Church of the Survivor is still around, and surely parents threaten naughty children with Ironeyes when they misbehave. I would.

It was a little hard coming back to this world but not coming back to the characters that I loved so much from the original trilogy. It made me nostalgic seeing them referred to as legends. But the characters here were great, so that eased the sting of missing Vin and Elend and Spook and the rest some. I loved Wayne. He's funny, intriguing and my imagination of him fighting was incredibly sexy. (What? I can do that!) I also really liked Wax, although at times I feel like he was a little too good, too perfect, too predictable. But that's something that I can live with. He is a great character, and he Wayne together kept making me giggle - they should go on tour. Wax and Wayne. Geddit?

I also really liked the dichotomy between Wax and Miles. Miles especially was intriguing to me, but both he and Wax had me thinking WWKD? I thought Miles was a very understandable position, and while I don't really agree with him regarding the way he's helping, I can see why he feels that is the best path to achieve his goals.

But then, and here comes the mixedish feelings, when it comes to the female characters, I just felt that they were too familiar. Maybe this is due to the fact that the last BSands book I read was Elantris, but I kept thinking of Sarene as I read this. Her traits seem to be split up between Steris (I had to stop to think about her name just then) and Marasi. Also, in Marasi, there were shades of Shallan from The Way of Kings.

These aren't BAD things, because, aside from Steris, who was kind of blahsome, I really liked all of the characters I just mentioned. I just kind of want more individuality between them. I like that BSands writes intelligent, independent women into his books, and that they aren't the standard "Whore With A Heart Of Gold" or "Well Connected Madame" or "Naive Maiden/Damsel In Distress" tropes, they are better than that. But they seem to all be intelligent and independent in too similar ways to each other between books. And truly honest, this recycling tendency isn't limited to the ladies. The menfolk are similar to each other as well... but it's just the women that really stood out to me here.

Still, that's a small nitpick. I DID enjoy these characters, and I would be more than happy to read quite a bit more about them. And I hope I do, because the ending was definitely left open for some sort of follow up. I really loved the concept of "Twinborn" Allomancer Feruchemists. The way it was handled was impressive, while still leaving a lot of room to grow. I know that this is not the start of a new trilogy, but it's also not quite a standalone either. We'll see where BSands is going with this, and what the official start to the next Mistborn trilogy brings.

I am excited just thinking about it. :D

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