Posts Tagged ‘Steelheart’

Our 101-in-1001 deadline is drawing near, and I’ve already accepted the fact that we just aren’t going to complete all 101 things on our list. We might have gotten there under normal circumstances, but moving was a fatal disruption to some of our list items. However, I’m quite satisfied that Bart and I will have accomplished 101 very interesting things in that time frame, just not every last one we set out to do back in 2011. It has accomplished its purpose of making us intentional about the things we say we want to do.

I haven’t totally given up on the list, though. In fact, just this week I finally completed another item, #82: read another book by Brandon Sanderson. You may know him as “the guy who finished writing the Wheel of Time after Robert Jordan died,” and, I’ll be honest, that’s where we first learned of him. However, he is a fantasy writer in his own right with quite a few original novels and series of his own. Bart and I have read most of them to date, and it seemed like an easy enough goal to tack on a new one when it came out.

Sure enough, a couple of years ago Sanderson released “Alloy of Law” as a complementary book to one of his best known series, Mistborn. It’s not a sequel, just a separate story set in the same world. We got it, and Bart read it immediately. However, I tried three separate times to start the book and for some reason every time I got distracted before I could finish the first chapter. Finally, last month when I had jury duty, I picked it up again, determined to succeed this time while I was a captive audience in the jury waiting room. However, I’m afraid I was going to get distracted yet again until Bart intervened. He happily volunteered to read it together with me, so over the course of a few weeks, we read it aloud together in the evenings. We finally finished it on Tuesday night. It was a good story, so I have no idea why I kept putting it off! Plus, compared to every other fantasy novel I get sucked into reading, it was only 300 pages or so instead of 600 or 700. So I had no excuse before, but I’m finally off the hook.

I’ve decided that I cannot recommend “Alloy of Law” to anyone who has not read the original Mistborn trilogy. However, I cannot recommend Mistborn highly enough. I really don’t read a ton of fantasy series, but I personally found it to be one of the most unique and interesting premises I’ve ever come across. Sanderson takes an unconventional approach to “good guys” and “bad guys;” where sharp lines are usually drawn between camps in most stories, he blurs and greys the lines and leaves you guessing until the end. I found it to be a refreshing departure from the predominate type of stories and worlds one tends to find in the genre.

But once you’re familiar with the world of Mistborn, “Alloy of Law” is an engaging exercise in exploring the same world with the same magic system, only in a different culture a few hundred years later. The original Mistborn is set in a traditional fantasy kind of world, with largely pre-industrial civilization and technology. “Alloy” is set in a late-1800’s or turn-of-the-century type era, with fledgling technologies like automobiles and electricity; it almost has a steampunk feel to it. The plot and characters are fun and engaging, and not intended to be developed in the same depth as the original series. It’s by no means superficial, but it’s an easier read with less commitment than, say, Wheel of Time. :p So, go read Mistborn right now, and then read Alloy of Law after that.

Of course, why read just one book when you can read two? Brandon Sanderson released a new book, “Steelheart,” just last week. Bart insisted on picking it up, and we’ve started reading it together the last couple of nights. This is the first book in a new series, and it’s completely different from Mistborn. It’s set in future Chicago where evil anti-heroes control and oppress the population, but one group of ordinary humans still fights back to overcome these “Epics.” We’re only half-way through, but we like it, and so far I can recommended for another fun read. If I finish, can I check another item off my list?

You can check out Brandon Sanderson and learn more about his writings at www.BrandonSanderson.com.

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