- Author: Brandon Sanderson
- Series: Wax & Wayne/Mistborn Era 2
- Genre: Fantasy
- No. of pages: 1670
- Date Read: June 2021 – Dec 2022
- Star Rating: 4 stars
Warning for Potential Spoilers!
Plot for Book 1, The Alloy of Law: Three hundred years after the events of the Mistborn trilogy, Scadrial is now on the verge of modernity, with railroads to supplement the canals, electric lighting in the streets and the homes of the wealthy, and the first steel-framed skyscrapers racing for the clouds. Kelsier, Vin, Elend, Sazed, Spook, and the rest are now part of history—or religion. Yet even as science and technology are reaching new heights, the old magics of Allomancy and Feruchemy continue to play a role in this reborn world. Out in the frontier lands known as the Roughs, they are crucial tools for the brave men and women attempting to establish order and justice. One such is Waxillium Ladrian, a rare Twinborn who can Push on metals with his Allomancy and use Feruchemy to become lighter or heavier at will. After twenty years in the Roughs, Wax has been forced by family tragedy to return to the metropolis of Elendel. Now he must reluctantly put away his guns and assume the duties and dignity incumbent upon the head of a noble house. Or so he thinks until he learns the hard way that the mansions and elegant tree-lined streets of the city can be even more dangerous than the dusty plains of the Roughs.
I was super excited going into this new series. I loved Mistborn Era 1 and I was super intrigued to see how Sanderson would evolve this world and also what he would do after such a monumental first series!
While I don’t think it was as good as Mistborn Era 1. It was never trying to be. It went in such a different direction which I thought was perfect. It covered more ground in terms of timeframe and also each book was a standalone story with the obvious over-arching Cosmere stuff.
Starting off, I loved watching Scadrial evolve. I loved learning how 300 years later the way politics worked, how the magic system worked, and how the events of Era 1 faded into myth and legend. It was super refreshing but it also felt like coming home. I actually preferred the setting of Era 2 to Era 1. I found it to be more exhilarating and the world having higher stakes. I loved all the nods to Era 1, I felt Sanderson really balanced out the references to Era 1 without just making it a shadow behind the events of Era 2. Era 2 stood boldly on its own and it didn’t rely too heavily on the events of Era 1. Obviously, they all go hand in hand but I didn’t feel that Sanderson was holding onto the nostalgia of the previous series.
In terms of plot. Overall, I enjoyed the standalone story structure. I felt each book held up on its own. If I have to choose a favourite it would be Book 3, The Bands of Mourning. I did feel that the last book felt a bit rushed and started shoe-horning in a lot of Cosmere stuff which while I 100% enjoyed the story and learning about all this new universe lore. I was disappointed with this book being the ending to the series. I felt the standalone structure didn’t really create enough atmosphere and build up to this massive finale, leading it to feel not set up enough and rushed. I also found the ending to be a bit predictable for Sanderson. I still thoroughly enjoyed the book as it stands but as the last book to end the Era I just wanted more set up for a better payoff.
The best part of this series for me was the characters. I actually preferred the characters more in Era 2 than in Era 1. The character development, the interpersonal relationships between the core 4, and the witty banter. Everything was done so so well. I was always drawn back to these characters as they were the pillars of this series. I specifically want to shout out my girl Steris who I did a complete 180 on once Book 3 hit. She is a woman after my own heart, I see a lot of myself in her and her relationship with Wax was done so so well. A slow burn romance I didn’t know I needed. I also just preferred the treatment of female characters in this series a lot more. Not only were there more female characters in general but they were also holding positions of power and were contributing loads to the narrative on both sides of the moral spectrum.
This was also a series jam-packed with hilarious dialogue that was incredibly fun to read. I just needed to shout out how amazing the dialogue was.
I will say one thing. I am super excited to delve into more of Sanderson’s writing within the Cosmere. I have Elantris and the Way of Kings lined up for 2023. I also can’t for Mistborn Era 3. My one worry with the Cosmere Universe is that it will slowly morph into what the MCU is becoming where we lose the distinct, standalone stories in favour of cramming as many notable characters in one movie or book as we can. I don’t want to fall into the trap of needing to read 7 Cosmere books just to understand the newest release. The Lost Metal did feel a bit like that which does make me a bit nervous. I am excited to see where Sanderson goes with this but I am a bit apprehensive.