Mistborn: The Alloy of Law

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Mistborn: The Alloy of Law
First edition cover
AuthorBrandon Sanderson
IllustratorIsaac Stewart
Ben McSweeney
Cover artistChris McGrath
CountryUnited States
SeriesWax and Wayne, Mistborn
GenreFantasy novel
PublishedNovember 8, 2011[1]
PublisherTor Books
Media typePrint (hardcover and paperback), audiobook, e-book
Pages336 pp
LC ClassPS3619.A533
Preceded byMistborn: The Hero of Ages 
Followed byMistborn: Shadows of Self 

Mistborn: The Alloy of Law is a high fantasy novel written by American author Brandon Sanderson. It was published on November 8, 2011 by Tor Books and is the first book in the Wax and Wayne series and fourth in the Mistborn series. It is preceded by The Hero of Ages from the Mistborn Original Trilogy in 2008 and followed by Shadows of Self in 2015.

The story features Twinborns, Metalborns who are able to use Allomancy and Feruchemy in conjunction; and abilities not present in the original trilogy.

Plot summary[edit]

The Alloy of Law is set in an analog to the early 20th century, on Scadrial, approximately 300 years after the conclusion of the original trilogy.[2] It also introduces the concept of Twinborn for the first time in the series.

Waxillium and his partner Lessie are investigating a serial killer in Feltrel, a small town in the Roughs. They decide to split up and Wax follows the murderer's tracks, leading him into a small church, where he finds that Lessie had been captured and held as hostage by the serial killer. While trying to free her, something goes awry, and Wax accidentally kills Lessie.

Five months later, after the death of Lessie, Wax had given up the role as peacekeeper, and returned to Elendel, where after the death of his uncle and sister (who were involved in an accident), he has become the head of his house. Due to his uncle's inadequate financial operations, Wax is trying to save House Ladrian from bankruptcy. The only way to do it is to find a suitable high-born lady from a financially stable house to marry.

Just before meeting with Lady Steris and her father, Wax is unexpectedly visited by his friend, deputy, and master of disguise Wayne (who is also a Twinborn with the abilities to create speed bubbles, outside of which time is slowed down; and store health in his goldminds), who has come to Elendel to investigate a series of robberies and kidnappings for which a rogue band called "the Vanishers" is responsible. He wants to acquire Wax's help to solve the case. Although still torn between his previous life as a lawman and his obligations to his House Ladrian, Wax eventually declines to join him. During the meeting with Lady Steris, her father, and her half-sister Marasi (who is posing as a distant cousin to Lady Steris, due to the fact that she is illegitimately born), Wayne pretends to be Wax's distant uncle from his mother's side. Wax and Lady Steris come to an agreement to marry after several months of courting, and introducing themselves as a couple to the elite society.

At a wedding party held by House Tekiel, the Vanishers show up and try to kidnap Steris and Marasi. Wax and Wayne, working as a team, manage to save Marasi, and kill most of the Vanishers when the event becomes violent. It is then that Wax decides to solve the case and rescue his wife-to-be. After a careful recollection of the events on the wedding, Wax comes to the conclusion that the band is led by his previous colleague, a former lawman named Miles, who is a Twinborn with the ability to cure any injury almost immediately.

Wayne discovers the bandits' hideout after interrogating one of the captives in police custody, and meets with Wax and Marasi in House Ladrian's mansion to share his findings. There Wax's butler tries to kill him, by first poisoning him, shooting him, and then detonating a bomb, but the trio manage to escape.

Wax and Wayne, accompanied by Marasi, go to the bandits' hideout, and find it deserted. After a careful search, they discover an empty cigar box with numbers written on it. Because they have nowhere else to go, they decide to visit an old acquaintance–a Lurcher (an Allomancer that Pulls metals by burning iron) gunsmith named Ranette. There they form a plan to capture the bandits during one of their robberies.

Wax deduces that the Vanishers will try to rob a train, which transports large amounts of aluminium (which is really expensive both because it's rare and cannot be affected by Allomancy). He manages to slip into the cargo hold of the train. Meanwhile, Wayne and Marasi watch as the bandits switch the train's wagons, and manage to follow them to their new hideout. There, after a long battle, in which all the bandits are killed except Miles, Wax and Marasi manage to distract Miles long enough (with Marasi's Allomantic ability to slow down time inside a speed bubble), so that Wayne can come back with enough law officers to subdue and capture Miles. Lady Steris is saved, and although Wax feels attraction to Marasi, he decides to continue with the planned marriage.

It is then revealed that the person who had recruited Miles in the first place is the presumed dead Lord Edwarn Ladrian, Wax's uncle, who is still keeping the other kidnapped women. Wax and Wayne decide that they will stay in Elendel and try to stop Lord Ladrian and his organization from fulfilling their plans.


  • Waxillium "Wax" Ladrian: A descendant of Breeze's house from the original trilogy, he is in his forties with twenty years of lawman experience. After leaving his life as a lawman in the Roughs, he returns to rebuild his House, which his uncle left poor and destitute. He is shown to be an excellent shot with pistols and rifles, as well as an astute investigator. He is a Twinborn with the Allomantic ability to Push metals and the Feruchemical ability to increase or decrease his weight.
  • Wayne: Wax's best friend and deputy, Wayne follows Wax back to the city and continues to pester him into rejoining the law career. Being a Twinborn as well, he is able to make speed bubbles, in which time speeds up so that he can change into a different disguise, have a private conversation, or simply catch his breath during a fight; and store health in goldminds to heal quickly, in exchange for a period of poor health. He is excellent at disguises, include mimicking accents.
  • Marasi Colms: An intelligent woman, she studies law in the university and occasionally blurts out random statistics. After hearing the rumors regarding Wax and Wayne's good deeds in the Roughs, she becomes a fan and tags along with them. She has the opposite of Wayne's power, slowing down time inside the bubble, while outside the bubble time flows freely. She is an illegitimate child of Lord Jackstom Harms and Steris' half-sister.
  • Steris Harms: The legitimate daughter of Lord Harms and half-sister of Marasi. She is betrothed to Wax. She is characterized as a stiff, overly formal and somewhat boring young woman. Wax is aware of these traits yet agrees to marry her hoping to settle down in the city. When she is kidnapped by a gang of robbers called the Vanishers, Wax takes it upon himself to track them down and rescue her.
  • Miles Dagouter: A former lawman and acquaintance of Wax from his time in the Roughs. He has turned bitter against the system and believes that the wealth and pomp of Elendel is the cause of the deprivation in the Roughs. He is also a Twinborn with the ability to heal any wounds to himself almost instantly due to both Feruchemical and Allomantic gifts with Gold, earning him the name "Miles hundred lives".
  • Lessie: Wax's former love interest and partner when he served as a lawman. Wax kills her by accident when he shoots a serial killer. This affects him psychologically and he is not able to work as lawman anymore. The incident becomes the impetus for Wax to leave the Roughs and come back to Elendel. Marasi is shown to have several attributes similar to Lessie, which makes Wax attracted to Marasi.


The work that eventually turned into Mistborn: The Alloy of Law was originally a creative writing exercise, not necessarily intended for publication, to help clear Sanderson's head before continuing work on A Memory of Light from The Wheel of Time and the next book in The Stormlight Archive. It turned out better than expected and was released for publication.[3]

Alloy of Law was originally released as a standalone, transitional sequel to the original Mistborn trilogy.[4][5] In December 2014, Sanderson stated he would write a follow-up trilogy to The Alloy of Law,[6] and it later became the first of four books in the Wax and Wayne series.[7][6]


Critical response and sales[edit]

The Alloy of Law debuted at #9 on the Combined Print and E-Book New York Times Best Seller list,[8] #10 on the Combined Hardcover & Paperback Fiction New York Times Best Seller list,[9] and #13 on the E-Book New York Times Best Seller list.[10] The novel debuted at #10 on the Fiction Hardcover Washington Post bestseller list.[11][12] It debuted at #37 on the USA Today Best-Selling Books list.[13][14]

Library Journal praised it as "highly recommended for fantasy fans, especially followers of the original trilogy" and that it "is not a stale visit to a fondly remembered setting" in its starred review of it.[15] The novel received a mixed review by Kirkus Reviews that stated: "Sanderson's fresh ideas on the source and employment of magic are both arresting and original—just don't expect rigorously worked out plot details, memorable characters or narrative depth. Think brisk. Think fun."[16] Publishers Weekly expressed that they viewed it as "Part Sherlock Holmes, part X-Men" and that it is an "exciting stand-alone adventure is full of close shaves, shootouts, and witty banter."[17]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Result Ref
2011 Whitney Awards Best Speculative Fiction Won [18]
Goodreads Choice Awards Best Fantasy Novel Nominated [19]
2012 David Gemmell Legend Award Best Novel Nominated [20]


  1. ^ "Mistborn: The Alloy of Law Cover & Details Emerge!". Tor.com. Retrieved March 18, 2011.
  2. ^ Cilli, Dominic (2011). "The Alloy of Law: A Mistborn Novel". SFSite.com. Retrieved December 12, 2015.
  3. ^ "Wrapping Up My Time Off". BrandonSanderson.com. January 6, 2011.
  4. ^ "Brandon Sanderson continuing Mistborn with The Alloy of Law". SFScope. December 3, 2010. Archived from the original on December 8, 2010.
  5. ^ "Tor announces acquisitions of two new novels by Brandon Sanderson". Tor/Forge's Blog. December 2, 2010.
  6. ^ a b Sanderson, Brandon (December 18, 2014). "State of the Sanderson: December 2014". Dragonsteel Entertainment. Retrieved December 18, 2014.
  7. ^ "Tor Acquires Two More Mistborn Novels from Brandon Sanderson". Tor. Retrieved October 29, 2013.
  8. ^ "Combined Print & E-Book Fiction - November 27, 2011". The New York Times. November 27, 2011. Archived from the original on January 27, 2017. Retrieved August 3, 2017.
  9. ^ "Combined Hardcover & Paperback Fiction - November 27, 2011". The New York Times. October 25, 2015. Archived from the original on January 27, 2017. Retrieved August 3, 2017.
  10. ^ "E-Book Fiction - November 27, 2011". The New York Times. November 27, 2011. Archived from the original on January 27, 2017. Retrieved August 3, 2017.
  11. ^ Schoppa, Christopher (November 20, 2011). "BOOK WORLD Bestsellers — Nov. 20, 2011". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on October 9, 2015. Retrieved October 18, 2017.
  12. ^ "Weekly Bestsellers, 21 November". Locus. November 20, 2011. Archived from the original on October 18, 2017. Retrieved October 18, 2017.
  13. ^ "USA TODAY BEST-SELLERS". The Associated Press. November 11, 2011. Archived from the original on July 29, 2017. Retrieved July 29, 2017.
  14. ^ "USA Today Best-Selling Books list". USA Today. November 17, 2011. Archived from the original on August 1, 2017. Retrieved August 3, 2017.
  15. ^ "SF/Fantasy Reviews, October 15, 2011". Library Journal. October 15, 2011. Retrieved August 4, 2017.
  16. ^ "THE ALLOY OF LAW by Brandon Sanderson KIRKUS REVIEW". Kirkus Reviews. October 3, 2011. Archived from the original on July 29, 2017. Retrieved July 29, 2017.
  17. ^ "The Alloy of Law". Publishers Weekly. August 15, 2011. Archived from the original on July 29, 2017. Retrieved July 29, 2017.
  18. ^ "2011 Whitney Award Winners". Retrieved July 28, 2017.
  19. ^ "Best Fantasy Novel". Goodreads. Retrieved July 29, 2017.
  20. ^ Rothfuss, Patrick (April 20, 2012). "Alloy Of Law, Voting, and the Gemmell Award". patrickrothfuss.com. Retrieved July 29, 2017.

External links[edit]