Friday, October 18, 2013

Sanderson, Brandon (The Alloy of Law)

I generally dislike Westerns. At least on celluloid. And I can't think of one I've sought out to read. But if it's Sanderson, of course I'll read anything. (And I'm really trying to eke this out, since I only have four or five extant novels to go until the next Way of Kings comes out next spring...)

It took me a while to realize that this novel was not taking place during the years of the Mistborn Trilogy. I kept wondering what time period I was in, and finally had to go back to the Goodreads description to notice that the story happens 300 years after the "reawakening." (This is the point when Kindle readers in totality bemoan the lack of flipping to the back cover to read the blurb.) Its setting is a Western because that's pretty much where you'd expect humanity to be after that upheaval. There are the outer "Roughs" and the "City" and the story takes place between the two (but mostly in the City).

As with all Sanderson novels, the characters are all immediately likeable and recognizable. They have regular human foibles, and the plots revolve around their triumphs and their tragedies, as any good novel does. Because we're set in a Western context, the women are strong but struggling, the men are heroes or villains, and there are lots and lots of cool trains, guns, and other gadgets of the times. With, of course, all the magic you could ever want. In this case, the Mistborn push-pull metal-alloy-type magic.

I admit to not trying to follow all the physical laws he's working with as he describes extraordinary fights between the good guys and the bad guys. But I will say that particularly in this novel he seems to be creating his movie screenplay in advance. Hollywood must know he's going to make them tons of money, so where's that announcement?

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