The Alloy of Law by Brandon Sanderson — Steampunk Extraordinaire 3

The measure of a person is not how much they have lived. It is not how easily they jump at a noise or how quick they are to show emotion. It’s in how they make use of what life has shown them. ~Waxillium Ladrian from The Alloy of Law

Oh…my…goodness. I just finished reading The Alloy of Law by Brandon Sanderson. As you probably know by now, I am an unabashed Sanderson fan, but I was surprised to see how in many ways, I forgot I was reading his work. The Alloy of Law does not read like any of his other books.

No, rather than one of his finely drafted fantasies, The Alloy of Law is probably the best steampunk book I have ever read. In its pages I found heroism, uncertainty, criminal intent, beauty, and mystery — and a main character, Waxillium Ladrian, a wildly heroic lawman reminiscent of Wyatt Earp but with a healthy helping of Allomantic powers thrown in, and a dash of wisdom to boot (see the quote above for a sample).

Waxillium Ladrian is a noble-born man who left the aristocratic circles of Elendel to serve as a lawman in the wild frontier Roughs. However, when his uncle dies, he is left with the responsibility of returning to Elendel to manage the family estate, previously one of the most influential houses in the city but now rundown, the result of gross mismanaged by his now-deceased uncle. But when robbers begin stealing vast amounts of riches and priceless metals, he is torn between being the gentleman who will bring his house back from ruin and returning to his passion of being a powerful, nearly unbeatable lawman determined to bring the criminals to justice.

Enter Steris Harms, a cold, stern woman and potential fiancée; her beautiful, kind cousin Marasi; Wayne, a miscreant and Wax’s former companion in the Roughs; and Tillaume, a conscientious butler determined to keep Waxillium on the right path. These characters and a host of others set the stage for a rollicking romp of gunfights, bravery and heroism. Toss in the element of Allomantic powers introduced in the Mistborn trilogy, and you end up with a tale the likes of which I’ve never seen. (Allomantic powers comprise the ability some people genetically inherit to ingest and burn one or more of sixteen metals that will grant them the ability of pushing and pulling off of metallic surfaces, creating bubbles that will slow or hasten the passage of time, of being able to heal themselves very quickly if not instantaneously, and a host of other talents.)

I would recommend this book to anyone with even a vague interest in fantasy and/or steampunk fiction. I for one couldn’t hardly put the book down until I was finished. In fact, before I finished, I was already thinking about how much fun it would be to read it again. I love, love, love this book. Needless to say, I give it a 5 out of 5 stars.

If you’d like more information, here are my affiliate links: Barnes & Noble and Amazon.

To find the author, here’s his website:

Do you have a favorite steampunk book? Or have you already read The Alloy of Law? I’d love to hear what you think. Just leave a comment below.

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