'Writing for me is not about speeling, grammar or punctuation – that’s why we have editors.... No, writing for me is the ability to capture a story and put it in words.' - Fantasy Muse
The Alloy of Law: A Mistborn Novel (Wax and Wayne series) by Brandon Sanderson.
The three hundred years since the events of Mistborn have shaped Scadrial. Ever taller towers race for the clouds, railways as well as canals criss-cross the land. But this is still a land of magic.
Kelsier, Vin, Elend, Sazed, Spook, and the rest may be part of history - or religion - but even as science reaches new heights, the old magics of Allomancy and Feruchemy still have a role in this reborn world. In the Roughs, the wilds beyond the cities, magic is a crucial tool for the brave men and women attempting to establish order and justice. One such is Waxillium Ladrian.
After twenty years in the Roughs, Wax has been forced by family tragedy to return to the metropolis of Elendel. He must assume the duties and dignity incumbent upon the head of a noble house. Or so he thinks, until he learns the hard way that the mansions and elegant tree-lined streets of the city can be even more dangerous than the open plains of the Roughs.
Before I begin, I must admit I haven't read the Mistborn Original Trilogy (the 3 books preceding this book), and the main reason for that is that they've never really appealed to me. But, I stumbled across The Alloy of Law, and I immediately became intrigued by the description and after reading several reviews reassuring me that I didn't need to read the original trilogy, I bought it.
And I'm glad I did.
Brandon Sanderson is a well known author and is one of the A-list celebs when it comes to fantasy but apart from Elantris, I haven't really been wowed by his books - that's probably part of the reason why I avoided the original trilogy.
Main character in The Alloy of Law is Waxillium Ladrian - What a name to give your main character - Anyway, Wax (for short), is a law-keeper, who had spent a good 20 years defending the Roughs, a place where criminals and other shady characters live, but after suffering a personal tragedy, he returns to the city, Elendel. But trouble seems to follow him wherever he goes, and he soon finds himself involved in the recent spate of kidnappings that have plagued the city.
The book was short for a Sanderson novel, and it was interesting to learn that the author originally wrote the book as a creative writing exercise, not necessarily intended for publication, which may explain why the book was so succinct and the sentences to the point.
The action scenes were well written and the dialogue flowed effortlessly. Sanderson infuses a heavy dose of humour into the book, and he pulls it off superbly. Throughout the book, the interaction between Wax and his sidekick Wayne, had me smiling at their antics.
Wax is a fantastic character, who is instantly likeable and has real depth to him. In fact all the main characters are engaging, even the bad guys - I think it might the few times where I wanted to read more about the bad guy and learn about his past.
The storyline wasn't unique, but it was far from boring, and the pace of the book was such that you never got stuck in a rut.
I really enjoyed the book and for those, like me, who haven't read the original trilogy, it's perfectly fine to read as a stand-alone.
If you're a fan of steampunk and fantasy then I highly recommended The Alloy of Law, and if you've read the original trilogy then you don't need me to tell you to read it.
Out of 10 Stars:
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The Arcanist by Greg Curtis.
Edouard Severin was useless. Happily useless.
The third son of Count Argus Severin he would not inherit the title of count nor the reins of House Barris. He was free to do what he liked with his life provided he didn't embarrass his family. And what he liked was to live in his ancient fort in the town of Breakwater, tinker with his machines and play with his magic. Life was good.
Then the city of Theria was attacked by a herd of stampeding mammoths, his older brother Marcus turned up on his doorstep in the middle of the night demanding his help, and he suddenly had to put his skills to use in investigating the crime.
Little did he know that the attack was merely the first step in a plan to seize control of the Kingdom of Therion, or that the one responsible would be a member of his own family.
Greg Curtis is one of those authors that I don't need to read the blurb to know that it'll be a great book. I've read many of his works and they are all as good as the next one. Admittedly, his writing style is quite elaborate and he does have a tendency to go too in-depth with character's inner monologue and as a result leaves large chunks of texts between dialogue, sometimes, so much so, that I've had to go back several pages just to remember what the last conversation was.
The Arcanist is slightly different from his other books in that the main character is not a total recluse who has chosen a life of solitude due to some personal tragedy. Rather, our hero, Edouard, is loved by his family, well nearly all of his family members, and so it was interesting to see a softer, more caring, and less bitter character than Greg Curtis normally writes.
Edouard is the third son of a noble family and has accepted that in terms of pecking order, he's at the bottom. He lives a carefree life until that is the city of Theria is attacked by a herd of stampeding mammoths (yes, I did scratch my head a few times at that plot line), and finds himself dragged into the investigation to find the culprits.
Edouard is less physically imposing than what I'm used to in Curtis's protagonist's, but what he lacks in brawn, he more than makes up with in wit. He also has a spark of magic which allows him to cast fire. So he's not powerless, but he's not invincible.
There are also a host of other characters, main ones being, Marcus, his older brother, who is the warrior of the story, and Kyriel, a handmaiden to an omnipotent magical being.
I enjoyed the storyline, despite how predictable it was times. What I enjoy most from Greg Curtis's novels is the personality he installs into his characters, all of his characters have their own little idiosyncrasies, and they become flesh and blood, and not simply words on a page.
The world that The Arcnaist is set in is fascinating in that there is a blend of technology, such as cannons, pistols and hot-air-ballons, alongside traditional sword and sorcery. I normally hate reading books that try to marry the two but the concept was well written and didn't feel awkward.
Greg Curtis is one of my favourite authors and so it came as no surprise to me that I enjoyed his latest work, so if you haven't read any of his novels, then I not only recommend this book but his other books as well.
Out of 10 Stars:
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