Sanderson is one of my favorite authors--right up there with Patrick Rothfuss and Laini Taylor. The Alloy of Law is not my favorite of his books, but it did not disappoint.
Returning to the Mistborn world was like coming home again. You probably shouldn't read this book if you are not already familiar with that world. I recommend reading all three of the original Mistborn trilogy before picking up this one. Sanderson didn't waste any time giving readers a tutorial on his magic system. Instead, he dove right in, expanding on the foundation set by the prior Mistoborn books. While I was thrilled not to have to read an explanation of the magic system with which I am already familiar, I imagine the magic would have been difficult to follow without having read the other books. Also, the book makes numerous references to religious beliefs and religious figures that would be lost, and probably confusing, to those who haven't read all three of the original trilogy.
The magic used in The Alloy of Law includes primarily two types: Allomancy and Feruchemy. Both of these magics are based on the use of metals, where each of sixteen various metals provides a distinct power in each of the two magics. An Allomancer is capable of "burning" one type of metal inside his body, which provides the Allomancer with the power of that metal. A Feruchemist is capable of tapping the power of one type of metal, which he wears in contact with his skin.
In the original Mistborn trilogy, the most powerful of Allomancers were "Mistborn," each of whom were capable of burning every Allomantic metal. And Feruchemists were endowed with the ability to tap the power of Feruchemical metals. In The Alloy of Law, there are no Mistborn; each Allomancer gets only one metal. Likewise, each Feruchemist gets only one metal. "Twinborn" are those who are both Allomancers and Feruchemists, but they get only one metal for each magic.
Sanderson introduces new metals that were unknown at the time of the original trilogy. Combining the concept of Twinborn with new metals (and corresponding new powers) provided an exciting twist to the magic system that I already new.
At its root, the plot was your typical steampunk mystery. The main character investigates a serious of robberies and gets into loads of trouble along the way, running into a nearly immortal bad guy. There was a bit of romance thrown in, as a young woman taken hostage in one of the robberies develops a fondness for our hero. This was just an exciting book with numerous action sequences involving a creative and original magic system.
I gave this book four stars, instead of five, because there were a number of points in the book that I caught myself skimming. Throughout the book, there were sections in which the thoughts of the three main characters were described. Their thinking didn't change much throughout the book, and thus, this eventually got old. Yes, I know what Wax is thinking because it's the same thing he was thinking the last time you told me. Yes, I know what Wayne and Marasi are thinking too.
Another place I skimmed was . . . the climax, which is a particularly bad place to catch oneself skimming. The action sequence at the climax was really really
long. Action is good, but I thought this bordered a bit on overkill. Someone else might think that all that action is truly fantastic, but I was ready to move on to something else well before it came to a conclusion.
I'm looking forward to the next book!