The Alloy of Law - Brandon Sanderson 4.5 stars. After finishing a reread of all three books of Sanderson's Mistborn trilogy, I finally felt ready to tackle this book. Sure, I was aware that The Alloy of Law could technically be read as a standalone, given that it's set 300 years after the events of The Hero of Ages and stars completely new characters. Nonetheless, I wanted to refresh my memory on the background of the world and especially Allomancy lore.

Good thing I did too, because even though centuries have passed and characters like Vin, Elend, Sazed and the rest of the gang are long gone, their lives and stories have become immortalized in this world's history and even religious canon. They are respected figures, with cities and landmarks named for them, and being able to recognize references such as these makes the reading experience that much better. The magic systems of Allomancy and Feruchemy are also still around, and in fact are made even more interesting by all the resulting possible combinations of metal powers that people can possess.

The protagonist of The Alloy of Law, for instance, is known as a "Twinborn", someone who has access to both an Allomantic power and a Feruchemic power. Waxillium Ladrian's set of abilities allows him to push on metals as well as change his mass at will -- a useful and powerful combination which serves him well as a crime-fighter out in the lawless frontier called the Roughs. But then his uncle dies, and Wax is recalled to the city and his noble roots. He reluctantly turns away from his lawman past and prepares to take on the role and duties more befitting a lord of his stature -- until a gang of bandits called the Vanishers surfaces, robbing trains and kidnapping hostages, and Wax realizes he can no longer stand idly by while decent people get hurt.

I'm not surprised at how much I enjoyed this. If there's one thing I can count on, it's that Brandon Sanderson gets better with each book he writes. Even though his Mistborn trilogy featured more characters and a more epic and elaborate story, I think I might have liked The Alloy of Law better than all three of those books put together. Despite its simplicity, I loved the western-like setting as well as the mild hints of steampunk I caught from passing descriptions of the new and extraordinary technology. It's always amazing to me whenever we get to see a fantasy world evolve like this.

It was also nice to see the humor between the two characters Waxillium and his friend Wayne. I don't think the book is meant to be a lighthearted read exactly, but I like it when Sanderson writes funny scenes like this with clever and witty banter. Reading this book made me laugh quite a few times, a fact I don't take for granted, especially since I make it no secret that I was not particularly happy with how things ended in The Hero of Ages. I don't deny that it might have even soured me on the whole trilogy, so to follow it up with something like The Alloy of Law definitely had the effect of lifting my spirits somewhat. The ending of the book sets things up nicely for the next installment, and I'm already looking forward to it.

This review also at The BiblioSanctum.