“Fortunately, I can change hats,” Wayne said, “while you, sir, are stuck with that face.”-Brandon Sanderson, The Alloy of Law
Fantasy was a staple for me growing up; the great J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, H.G. Wells and Christopher Paolini were all part of my childhood book collection. Fantasy for me has always been my go to genre, mostly because the real world was hard enough for me. I didn’t enjoy reading about the glamorization of life when I could read stories that captured my imagination and took me far away from the pains and hurts of this world. Brandon Sanderson’s book, The Alloy of Law, did this for me. It whisked me away to the fantasy world of Scadrial.
Welcome to Scadrial! A fantasy world, that has technologically advanced in the three hundred years since the Mistborn Series. There are now horseless-carriages and trains wandering around, with electricity lighting up the ballrooms and homes. Magic has been modernized while maintaining a balance between fantasy and reality. Metal still dominates the world, and its users (Allomancers and Feruchemists) are widespread throughout the world. The story revolves around a lawman, Wax who is a rare combination of an allomancer and a feruchemist, allowing for him to be a very effective police officer. However, when his family members die in an accident, he is left as the sole heir of the family estate and must lay down his guns to take over his ancestral house and business. Suddenly, his fiancée is kidnapped and he must once again put all of his skills and experiences as a lawman on the line to save her and solve the mysterious case of these Vanishings. The book does a really good job summarizing this with the line
“The mark of a great man is one who knows when to set aside the important things in order to accomplish the vital ones.” (Brandon Sanderson, Alloy of Law)
One of the greatest aspects of Sanderson’s writing is his world building; in particular, his design of a new magic system. The world of Scadrial and its magic is easily the most brilliantly designed and created fantasy world that I’ve seen. There are no all-powerful un-killable good guys or villains, but regular people with magic who are doing their best to save people. Set nearly three hundred years after the conclusion of the Mistborn Series, which was his first foray into this world. Brandon Sanderson does a phenomenal job writing this novel. He is not your below average writers like Stephenie Myer or Nicholas Sparks. In fact, Sanderson is so talented that he was chosen to finish Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time after Robert Jordan’s death. The Alloy of Law is probably one of his best-written works to date.
While Sanderson is a talented author, some of his content does raise some red flags. It’s like biting into an apple, only to find a worm. That feeling of disgust and horror, as you realized what is in your mouth. That wholesome delicious piece of fruit is now ruined by that worm. Brandon Sanderson’s novel, The Alloy of Law, is a lot like that feeling. It is enjoyable and intriguing, but there are hidden spiritual land mines that are scattered throughout the 383-page book: language, sexual innuendos, contrary worldviews, the glorification of sin, and the concept of breaking the law to keep the law. Just as you can carefully eat an apple to leave out any bad parts, when reading this book, you should carefully consume it while filtering out the bad stuff. Solomon writes in Proverbs 3:21-24,
“My son, do not lose sight of these— keep sound wisdom and discretion, and they will be life for your soul and adornment for your neck. Then you will walk on your way securely, and your foot will not stumble. If you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet.”
As Christians, we should walk in wisdom and discernment, especially with regards to the content we choose to let dwell in our minds.
My personal opinion is that this book is a refreshing, enjoyable incursion into the fantasy genre that is overpopulated with George R.R. Martin, Terry Brooks, J.K. Rowling, and J.R.R. Tolkien books. While this book is littered with hidden spiritual land mines and violence, the wholesome character of Wax and the captivating depiction of good triumphing over evil are more than enough to allow any avid, discerning reader to gobble this enthralling story up.
~ Kyle Meyers, Guest Author for Reckless Abandon Ministries