"When I found my way out to the Roughs, when I started bringing in the warranted, I started to... Well, I thought I'd found a place where I was needed. I thought I'd found a way to do something that nobody else would do. And yet, it appears that all along, the place I left behind might have needed me even more. I'd never noticed."
—Waxillium "Wax" Ladrian
The more alone you are, the more important it is to have someone you can rely upon.
— The first rule of the Roughs
The Alloy of Law is the fourth book in the Mistborn series, a stand alone story set roughly 300 years after the events of the first trilogy. It features Waxillium Ladrian, a lawman from out in the Roughs coming to the city to try and settle down. His attempts at the quiet life are quickly foiled, however, by the return of his old friend Wayne and his own internal desire to do the right thing.See also Elantris, Warbreaker and The Stormlight Archive for more books by Brandon Sanderson taking place in The Verse known as The Cosmere. Per Word of God, Sanderson plans two or three direct sequels to Alloy featuring the same characters, as well as two more Mistborn trilogies set further down the timeline. The first sequel is tentatively titled Shadows of Self, but is not yet written and no release date or other info has been revealed.This page has its own Character Sheet.
This book provides examples of:
Accidental Aiming Skills: Wax jokes that he once hit a criminal in the eye with a throwing knife while aiming for his balls.
Also the first 4 hostages (and possibly Wax's sister) are still missing and presumably being repeatedly raped in an attempt to breed a new Mistborn.
Or possibly worse, if that book that Marsh really wants Marasi to read is about Hemalurgy. After all, making new Steel Inquisitors would need a lot of Mistings of varied abilities, and would be quicker than trying to breed even one new Mistborn.
The Cameo: Hoid, Sanderson's Legacy Character who appears in every other book in the overarching multiverse of his setting, briefly appears at the wedding party, though not directly referenced by name, instead being mentioned as a shabby-looking fellow in black who might have been a beggar.
Deus ex Machina: Played with. It certainly looks like a literal version of this when Harmony actually starts helping Wax out in the finale...then the epilogue confirms that Harmony is Sazed, and definitely more of an active agent than he appears.
Functional Magic: Same magic system from the original trilogy, though Feruchemy has been broken up into one-power per person, and Twinborn are people with one Allomantic and one Feruchemic power. Notable in that Twinborn are repeatedly said to be extremely rare, while Wax and Wayne are both Twinborn...
Game Breaker: invoked Miles is a double-gold Twinborn, letting him get more health than he started with out of a metalmind. Although he still ages, he's functionally immortal. All the Compounders (Twinborn with matching metals) are overpowered, but a double-gold is a particularly dangerous variety.
Genre Savvy: One of the many reasons Miles is dangerous.
Grim Reaper: Former Steel Inquisitor Marsh (now called "Ironeyes") is believed to be this by most people.
Good Thing You Can Heal: Wayne takes a lot more punishment than Wax does. Miles takes more than both combined. Wayne actually lampshades this at one point, and mentions that people tend to shoot Wayne when they're mad at him, since they know he can heal.
Wayne: It was like saying it was fine to steal a man's beer because he can always order a new one.
Of course, considering that in a world of firearms Wayne's favorite tactic is to use his time-speeding ability to turn the battlefield into a series of one on one duels, cane vs guns... it's not surprising that he'd cop a clobbering.
Guile Hero: Wax, full stop. Wayne and Marasi are no slouches either. Sanderson really loves this trope.
Henpecked Husband: At first it looks like Wax is doomed to become one of these; his fiancee Steris at first appears to be a joyless, humorless matron who hands him a fifty-page prenuptial agreement. Averted, however, in that it later becomes apparent that Steris is just socially awkward and a meticulous planner, who fully intends to respect Wax's privacy and personal freedom. He marries her after all, probably in part so she can manage his business empire while he chases down criminals.
Hold Your Hippogriffs: As with the original Mistborn trilogy, there are a lot of metal-based figures of speech in the language.
"I bought a ward against [logic] off a traveling fortune-teller," Wayne explained. It lets me add two 'n' two and get a pickle."
Legend Fades to Myth: The events of the original trilogy have taken on mythological and religious significance to the later generations. The most humorous of these changes is the ancient High Speech; when an example of it is given, it's quickly recognizable to readers as the silly-sounding thieves' cant used by a few characters in the original trilogy!
There are no more full Mistborn, and Wax considers them at least half-mythical. Hemalurgy is also forgotten according to the appendix. Given how messy it is, and how obscure it was, this is probably for the best.
Lighter and Softer: It's much less serious then the original trilogy and the setting is much less grim.
Magic Pants: Miles sets off dynamite in his hand to escape a net. His shirt is destroyed, but his pants survive.
Mad Scientist: Although Ranette is more a Mad Engineer, she does live like a hermit, and has an obsession of building better guns and ammunition.
Medieval Stasis: Averted. Technology has progressed in many many fields since the events of the first trilogy. Also, the way people talk about philosophy and criminology is downright modern.
Mini-Boss: If the vanishers with aluminum guns count as Elite Mooks then most of the enemy allomancers must count as this. In particular Push and Pull are introduced right before the climax entirely to help defeat Max and together seem worthy of Mini-Boss status
Named Weapon: Vindication, sufficiently awesome to deserve its namesake.
Nobility Marries Money: The protagonist Wax who is the current Lord of an old but currently broke house, arranges a marriage contract with a woman from a young and well off house.
Nouveau Riche: Steris' family, and the reason for her betrothal to Waxilium. One has the money, but not the name. The other is old, respected and penniless.
Obfuscating Stupidity: Wax's uncle, to a degree that makes him an instant Chessmaster. Incompetent noblemen gambling and carousing their houses into financial ruin is a plot point that shows up often enough that even most readers wouldn't bother to question it.
Rescue Romance: Discussed. Steris points out that she and Wax can accelerate the timeline for their wedding and avoid the normal scandal in high society specifically because everyone will assume this trope is in effect.
Replacement Love Interest: Both subverted and defied. Marasi is extremely similar to Lessie to the point where Wayne tries to play matchmaker with her and Wax, but her similarity to Lessie is the reason why Wax rejects her: He's no longer the same person he was at the beginning of the book.
Shown Their Work: Marasi shows a fair knowledge of criminology and sociology, and makes mention of the real-world "broken windows" theory. Also, aluminum, despite its ubiquity, really was more valuable than gold in the late 1800s before its refining process was perfected.
Too Awesome to Use: When Wax has a store of rounds designed for use against specific types of Allomancers, he finds he's reluctant to use them except for their intended purpose, even when it means shooting a lot less often than he should be.
Earlier on, part of the reason why Wax and Wayne are able to kill so many of the Vanishers when Steris is kidnapped is that the Vanishers didn't already have their aluminium bullets ready as they were ordered, being reluctant to waste the expensive metal on normal targets.
Unspoken Plan Guarantee: Played with: Wax has two plans to deal with Miles. We aren't told much of either in advance, but Plan A fails while plan B works.
Unusual Euphemism: Rust and Ruin! Might also be considered a form of Oh My Gods!, since Ruin actually is a (mostly dead) god in-universe (rust isn't divine at all, but makes sense as a curse considering the importance of metal).
Aluminium and duralumin Mistings follow this trope to the letter however. Both their metals have no effect except on other metals that the user is burning; aluminum instantly depletes a Mistborn's reserves of all metals, and duralumin works as a sort of "super-flare" for any other metals being burned at the time, depleting it all in an instant for a single massive effect. Both of these are only useful to full Mistborn, however, as they are the only people who can burn more than one metal- and since there are no Mistborn anymore, those people unlucky enough to be aluminum or duralumin Mistings essentially have no powers at all.
According to Word of God however the full ability of aluminum burning is not yet understood. Rather than simply depleting the metal reserves of the burner it is in fact removing all magical influence from the body.
Which, given the logical nature and strict parallelism of Allomancy, implies that the full nature of Duralumin, and the external matches to these metals (nicrosil and chromium) are also not fully understood.
The fact that they are mistings with effectively no power is why Aluminum and Duralumin Mistings are referred to as "Aluminum Gnats" and "Duralumin Gnats" as far as Misting nicknames go. They don't get cool names, instead they're shown as pretty much worthless.
Xanatos Gambit: Turns out that Mr. Suit was running a masterful one throughout the whole book...