Feb 29, 2012

Feb 23, 2012

Mistborn: The Alloy of Law - Brandon Sanderson

Three hundred years have passed since the events in Mistborn took place, and the world of Scadrial is vastly different. After the Terris servant Sazed absorbed the essences of Ruin and Preservation and became the god Harmony, he set off to repair the damage done to the land by Ruin and The Lord Ruler. He reinvigorated the dead world's nature, and gave the Words of Founding to the few survivors - all the knowledge he had spent his life protecting, hints of discoveries yet to be made, and directions to a better future, including the plan for the great city of Elendel. Harmony also changed the laws of Allomancy and Feruchemy - one ability is all a person could ever get in the new world, and Mistborn can now only be found in the legends of the Survivor and the Ascendent Warrior. Humanity has discovered electricity, and steam trains roam the land. Revolvers and shotguns are the weapons of choice, and tall buildings of metal and concrete reach for the skies.

Waxilium Ladrian is a Twinborn - a person who has both one Allomantic, and one Feruchemical skill. He can push metals by burning steel, and he can store and draw weight in his ironminds. He is also the heir of one of Elendel's big noble houses, but has abandoned the city, and has instead chosen to live in the Roughs. The wild and untamed territories are far from the reach of the metropolis, and the law of strength still rules there. Lawkeepers like Wax are the only ones who stand between the fledgling settlements and the roaming bandits. However, the nearly ruined House Ladrian needs him, and he has no choice but to abandon his duties in the Roughs and accept those he has to the many workers that depend on his family for their livelihood.

Once in Elendel however, Wax is quickly reunited with another lawkeeper - the half-mad Twinborn Wayne (capable of creating bubbles of sped-up time by burning bendalloy, and storing health in a goldmind) - who claims that something sinister is going on in the city, having to do with a crime group known as "The Vanishers", which is stealing shipments from trains, and taking seemingly random hostages. Wax and Wayne find themselves in the midst of a conspiracy that threatens the very foundation of the new human society.

The Alloy of Law is a fresh addition to the Mistborn universe. The events of the original trilogy are known to be history, but have been put into many religions and have taken the grandiosity of myth. All the heroes that once saved the world have been given names like The Ascendent Warrior (Vin), The Survivor (Kelsier), The Lord Mistborn (Spook), and even the god who created the world as humans know it is a factual entity, and not just a religious fabrication. The steampunk setting (which doesn't really feel too much like steampunk, as much as a turn of the 19th century Earth with magic in it) is a nice change of pace, and since Terris population constituted a third of all the surviving humans at the end of The Hero of Ages, Feruchemy is pretty commonplace, though still rarer than Allomancy. Twinborns are an exception, but not nearly as much as the ONE such in the entire old trilogy (the Lord Ruler), with the cool twist that if the two metals match, their power is enhanced thousandfold (hence, the Lord Ruler). The new "only one power" rule and the combination of Allomantic and Feruchemical skills make for completely new dynamic of the fighting scenes (not to mention that guns have replaced sharp objects), and that has only improved them. Just as with Mistborn, Sanderson somehow manages to make his action be almost more exciting than the actual plot (which is a relatively bland mystery).

Brandon Sanderson's style hasn't noticeably improved, but it still serves him well, and even though the characters are stereotypical, they work great both in themselves, and together. The story ends with a huge chunk of the main mystery unresolved, and the author has promised further installments in the adventures of Wax and Wayne (though this time period is still not considered part of the "main" Mistborn storyline). Which is nice, since they are both very likeable. All in all, The Alloy of Law is a stable book, not jaw-droppingly amazing, but still above average, and definitely better than both the second and third books of the original trilogy. It was a quick read, and I am excited about the sequels.


Feb 18, 2012

Game of Thrones Season 2: First Publicity Photos

And only ten days too late! Here is the link to all the pictures from the Winter Is Coming blog. I am in love with Mellisandre as well as Arya's boy image, but I have to say Brienne is seeming a bit too... pretty for how she's supposed to be. Still, only a month and a half left!

Feb 17, 2012

Memory of Light release date

Tor just announced the release date for the final chapter in Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson's eternal saga The Wheel of Time. It's hard to believe the day is finally near, but Memory of Light will be released on January 8, 2013. It is a little disappointing, considering the book is close to being ready, and a lot of people were hoping to see it on the shelves some time between September and December, but I personally am good with this later date, as I am yet to read the Sanderson entries to the series.

For more, check Tor's website.