Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Early Audiobook Review - Alloy of Law by Brandon Sanderson (4/5 stars)

Reading level: Adult
Genre: Fantasy
Size: 336 pages
Publisher: Tor Books
Release Date: November 8, 2011
ISBN: 978-0765330420
Stand Alone or Series: 1st book in the Alloy of Law series
Source: Audiobook for Review
Rating: 4/5 stars

I got a copy of this audiobook from Macmillan Audio in exchange for an honest review. This book takes place in the same world as the other Mistborn novels but is set 300 years after the original trilogy. It was a good story; very different from the previous three books in that it has more of a wild west mystery feel to it. You do not need to read the previous books in the Mistborn trilogy to enjoy this book (but you should because they were awesome).

It is 300 years after the original trilogy. Waxillium Ladrian is forced to leave his life as a lawman in the Roughs to take his place as the lord of a large noble household. Waxillium is unique in that he is twin-born; able to use both Allomancy and Feruchemy. Unable to completely leave the law enforcement to the city watch Waxillium is drawn into a mystery involving stolen train cars and kidnapped women when his fiance-to-be is kidnapped. The characters from the previous trilogy are mentioned mainly as historical figures.

Some quick comments on the audiobook format. I got this on CDs from the publisher (usually I download onto my phone from audible.com). The performance was very well done; the characters had distinct voices and were easy to follow. The only thing I didn't like was the CD format itself. The CDs end literally mid-sentence; this was confusing and obnoxious. The packaging was also nothing exciting. The outer box is nice but the CDs are in cardboard inserts inside. The inserts weren't all that great looking and they didn't do a good job of holding the CDs in. CDs fell out very easily and I had to hunt them out from under the seat in my car more than once. So I would recommend downloading this audiobook and not getting the CD format if you can. Now on to the story itself.

This is pretty much nothing like the original epic fantasy Mistborn trilogy. It is set up as being a politically complicated mystery and has a very Western feel to it with lots of gun-slinging and numerous shoot-outs. It is an interesting world and the gun fights are a lot of fun, especially with all of the allomancy and feruchemy that's thrown in there.

As with previous novels Sanderson does an excellent job of creating characters that are interesting and easy to relate to. I didn't like any of these characters as much as the characters in the previous Mistborn novels; but they were solid. Waxillium has that whole noble man gone cowboy thing going on for him. His buddy Wayne gives off a sidekick vibe and provides a lot of comic relief. The lady who tags along on their adventures, Marasi, is fun too. She is plucky but realistically tentative at points. Some of the types of allomancy and feruchemy that these characters wield is very creative and fun.

The story itself had a well-done plot that had a lot of surprises revealed as it went on. I enjoyed the twisty turny aspect of it. The action scenes were incredible; excellent description and very creative. There were a few times where the story was a bit slow. Part of that was I was just expecting something more complicated because, well, it is a Sanderson book. This isn't a super complicated story. It is pretty much a straightforward mystery.

The story is tied up nicely but there were some major plot points that weren't resolved at the end of the book. This makes me think that maybe this is the start of another trilogy or something like that? As far as I know Sanderson hasn't commented on another book being published in addition to this one, but with some of the things left unresolved I have got to believe there will be another book in this series.

Overall this was a decent read. Sanderson is a wonderful writer and he does a great job coming up with wonderful characters, a creative world, and a fun plot. Think of this as more Sanderson-light and you won't be disappointed. The book is more a straight up mystery than anything else, although there are a lot of politics and intrigue woven throughout as well. This book is some fun filler and a nice diversion while we wait for the next epic Sanderson book. I am guessing there will be follow-up to this book given that many things are left unresolved at the end of this story. A must read for Sanderson fans and for fans of western-fantasy-mysteries.

This book goes towards the following reading challenges:
- 100+ Reading Challenge
- Audio Book Challenge List

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