The Alloy of Law and Shadows of Self by Brandon Sanderson

Synopsis: 300 years after the end of the original Mistborn trilogy, most of the characters have faded into the stuff of legend. The world of Scadrial has become much more modern, with railroads, guns, and the beginnings of electricity and automobiles. After living in the Roughs for 20 years as a lawman, Waxillium Ladrian must return to Elendel to run his household. He is joined by longtime friend and partner Wayne, as well as his betrothed Steris and her cousin Marasi as they uncover plots that threaten to ruin Elendel.

NON-SPOILER REVIEW:

I was going to review this whole series together, but I think I need a break before reading The Bands of Mourning, so I wanted to get all my thoughts out now so I don’t forget anything. I’m not sure how much sense this review will make if you aren’t familiar with the original trilogy, but I tried to make it accessible. Here is some background for things I mention in this review:

An Allomancer can ingest a certain metal and “burn” it to a specific power based on the metal. An Allomancer can only burn one specific metal, but someone who can burn all Allomantic metals are called Mistborn. Feruchemy allows the user to store specific attributes in the same metals. Most Feruchemists use jewelry or bracers for this. Hemalurgy uses spikes made of the metals to pierce and kill an Allomancer or Feruchemist to steal their power. Anyone who pierces their skin with one of these spikes gets the power stored in the spike. All three are known as the metallic arts. Kandra are a species of creatures that consume a person’s bones and become them. Though they don’t retain any of the person’s memories, they are very good at getting enough information to accurately become that person.

I really enjoyed both The Alloy of Law and Shadows of Self! It did take me a hot minute to read Shadows of Self, especially considering how short it is, but I think that it just wasn’t the genre that I was in the mood for at the time. I had heard the Wax and Wayne series was going to be very different than trilogy, so I thought I was prepared, but I wasn’t. It wasn’t different in a bad way at all, but it was hard to wrap my head around the fact that this was the same world since so many things had changed.

Once again, one of my favorite things about these books is the creative uses of Allomancy and Feruchemy. I thought it was so interesting to see how the usage of those powers changed with technological advances. Instead of using coins to Steelpush off of like in the past, Wax uses bullets because guns have been invented. I also thought it was really interesting that there were Twinborn, people with a Allomatic power and a Feruchemical power. Wax can Steelpush, but he can also make himself lighter or heavier, so seeing the interaction between those two powers and how creative he could get with it was really cool!

I also thought that it was cool how this series kind of mirrored the original. In the original trilogy, each book gets you acquainted with a different metallic art, so you really get the chance to understand and become familiar with each one. The Alloy of Law focused on how Allomancy and Feruchemy work together, then Shadows of Self introduces some new uses of Hemalurgy. It is a clever way to make sure readers aren’t overwhelmed by all the different powers. I’m excited to see what twist on the metallic arts will be in The Bands of Mourning! Shadows of Self also had a “who’s the kandra” plotline, similar to the second book of the original trilogy. I personally love the kandra, so I was excited to see this plotline being done again (in a different way).

I really enjoy the characters in this series! I think Wayne is actually hilarious and I love Marasi. Wax isn’t my favorite, but that honestly could just be because he is the one involved in action scenes, which get kind of boring for me. I think the relationship between Wax and Wayne is also really interesting because it’s unique. They work together and care about each other, but they can also piss each other off and make fun of each other.

I love the cameos and throwbacks to the original series. There are buildings, roads, and towns named after the original characters. It is interesting how they became the religious and mythical figures of world. I’m also so glad to see the characters who made an appearance (in Shadows of Self, not necessarily The Alloy of Law).

Brandon Sanderson is so good at writing twists that make sense! No twist of his ever leaves me feeling cheated because even if I can’t predict what will happen, I can look back and remember the clues he placed in the story. If I can predict a twist, then I feel accomplished because I was able to pick up small clues throughout the story.

Overall, I think these books are super fun and I’m really enjoying them! I love the world of Mistborn and I think the magic systems are so cool and unique. The reason I am stepping away from this series for a bit is because I’m a little bored of action-heavy scenes. These books are definitely full of them, so it kind of caused me to be less inclined to pick the book up. I’m definitely still loving the story, and especially after the end of Shadows of Self, I am excited to read the rest!

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