The Alloy of Law by Brandon Sanderson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This was delightful. I've read and enjoyed the first two Mistborn books, which are more or less supers against the background of a wonderfully twisted reimagining of the old Dark Lord/Chosen One epic fantasy schtick. This picks up centuries later, when the events of those books are legends, and gives us supers in a 19th-century-technology-level secondary fantasy world. (I wouldn't quite call it steampunk, despite trains and goggles, but it's close.)
Not only that, but we have literal tinfoil hats which actually protect people from having their thoughts manipulated (and that's just a throwaway mention in passing). We have a very nearly literal deus ex machina, which is a piece of bare-faced chutzpah that I have to applaud. We have an intelligent, capable young woman, sadly missing from the cover despite her major character status. We have banter. We have heists. We have a rogue on the side of good, despite his continuing kleptomaniac tendencies. We have tropes subverted. We have non-tedious reflections on the nature of law and authority, and on whether it's right to serve the law when the law primarily serves the wealthy.
And we have plenty of action. Varied, exciting, and clever. Cinematic and suspension-of-disbelief-challenging, sometimes, but I forgive it when it's this good.
I listened to the audio version, and the voice actor does a fine job--particularly difficult, in this case, since one of the characters is himself a bit of a voice actor, and changes his accent to pass himself off as other people.
Highly entertaining, but not without its philosophical side. I enjoyed it hugely, and looked forward to my commute so I could listen to more of it.
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