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Literature / Wax and Wayne

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"Someone else moves us, lawman."
Bloody Tan

Wax and Wayne is a Sequel Series to the first of the Mistborn trilogies by Brandon Sanderson, set roughly 300 years after the events of Hero of Ages. It features Waxillium Ladrian, a noble that became a lawman in The Wild West-esque Roughs returning to his home in the city of Elendel to try and settle down. His attempts at the quiet life are quickly foiled, however, by the return of his old friend Wayne, his own internal desire to do the right thing, and the appearance of a mysterious group of thieves called "The Vanishers". Now, Wax, Wayne and newcomer Marasi Colms must team up to solve crimes and save the city. However, the Vanishers are only just the beginning of a much deeper conspiracy...

Originally conceived while Sanderson was taking a break from working on the last volumes of The Wheel of Time as a writing exercise, the story quickly grew beyond its planned scope, and was deemed suitable for publishing as a fully-fledged novel. Brandon Sanderson plans to write four books in this series before the release of the second Mistborn trilogy (planned to be set in a 1980s-analogous period with a female Nicroburst computer-programmer protagonist). There are currently 4 officially named books:

  1. The Alloy of Law (November 2011)
  2. Shadows of Self (October 2015)
  3. The Bands of Mourning (January 2016)
  4. The Lost Metal (November 2022)

See also Elantris, Warbreaker and The Stormlight Archive for more books by Brandon Sanderson taking place in The 'Verse known as The Cosmere.

This series provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Aerith and Bob: Marasi, Waxillium and Wayne.
  • Anti-Magic: Aluminum (and some alloys thereof) is allomantically inert, and can't be Pushed or Pulled allomantically like other metals. In addition, wearing an aluminum foil hat (or just one lined with aluminum) protects against emotional Allomancy and Word of God is that aluminum in a wound prevents healing by a bloodmaker, though this isn't widely known and in any case is a very specialized application.
  • Blessed with Suck: Cadmium Mistings have the ability to slow down time around themselves, making time outside a bubble around themselves pass very quickly. If they leave the bubble, its effect ends. The ability has such narrow application that Marasi prefers for people to think she isn't an Allomancer, rather than know she's a Cadmium Misting, although she comes up with a number of ways to take advantage of it during the series.
    • Aluminum and its alloy Duralumin have no effect on their own, serving only to influence other metal reserves—meaning only Mistborn can actually use them. Mistings of these metals are referred to as "Gnats", since their power is utterly useless as far as everyone knows.
  • Borrowed Without Permission: Wayne never steals things, he trades for them. Albeit usually without telling people, and sometimes not leaving things equal in value (such as taking an unobtainium handgun that is also police evidence and leaving them a nice cobblestone in exchange).
  • Continuity Nod:
    • Wax's last name, Ladrian, ties him directly to Breeze (Ladrian was Breeze's real last name). In Shadows of Self he even mentions he's a distant descendant of Edgard Ladrian (Breeze) and Allriane.
    • Numerous map features are named after characters from the original series: Elendel, Rashekin, Doxonar, Vindiel, Alendel, Sea of Yomend, Hammondar Bay, Demoux Promenade, Tindwyl Promenade.
    • Certain characters from the original trilogy are referenced as legendary or even religious figures:
      • The Ascendant Warrior — Vin
      • The Survivor — Kelsier
      • Harmony — Sazed
      • The Lord Mistborn — Spook
      • Counsellor of Gods — Breeze
      • Ironeyes — Marsh
      • The Last Emperor — Elend
      • The Sliver — The Lord Ruler (a reference to his self-appointed title, the "Sliver of Infinity")
      • Sovereign — Kelsier.
      • Through various means a couple are still around throughout the series. Harmony is obviously still around, although limited as far as direct interaction goes. Marsh actually survived through use of Atium Feruchemy, and Kelsier managed to come back from being dead, although specifics of how are not totally clear yet. See Mistborn: Secret History for more details.
    • Marewill flowers are named after Kelsier's wife.
    • Spook's near-unintelligible street slang is now regarded in much the same way as Latin. It's referred to as High Imperial.
    • The "Faceless Immortals" are actually kandra. According to Brandon Sanderson, the woman on the train who gave Wax his earring and the Constable-general Brettin seen at the end of the book are both kandra, with the latter being one from the first series. The second book reveals that MeLaan is the former, and implies TenSoon is the latter.
    • Ranette calls her anti-Allomancer bullets "Hazekillers", after the term for soliders in the Final Empire who were specially trained to fight Allomancers.
    • There are stuffed toys showing TenSoon in his wolfhound form, called "Soonie cubs".TenSoon does not approve.
    • A more meta example, referencing the Cosmere itself, comes toward the end when Miles is being executed: his last words sound almost exactly like one of the pre-death quotes being recorded in The Way Of Kings.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Wayne, though Wax gets a few good jabs in too.
  • Depleted Phlebotinum Shells: Ranette, the gunsmith, makes all sorts of specialized ammo, specifically made some for killing various types of Allomancers. These aren't actually magic, however, and are more like trick ammunition made to overcome specific difficulties of fighting each type of allomancer, such as bullets with ceramic components that iron/steel Mistings can't pull/push or higher caliber rounds for pewter Mistings.
  • Doesn't Like Guns: Wayne is an extreme case — his hand starts to shake even when he is just drawing a stick figure holding a stick gun. Not to mention holding a true bullet. Of course, it's all in his Backstory.
  • Functional Magic: Same magic system from the original trilogy, though due to genetic dilution Feruchemy has been broken up into one power per person, and Twinborn are people with one Allomantic and one Feruchemic power. Notably Twinborn are repeatedly said to be extremely rare, but Wax and Wayne are both Twinborn...
  • Future Imperfect: The events of Mistborn: The Original Trilogy have long since faded to legend. Of note: In The Bands of Mourning, a "classical" piece of stained glass depicts Vin's climactic duel against the army of Inquisitors in Hero Of Ages — only the Inquisitors are depicted as ravens, instead of humans with spikes in their eyes.
  • Game-Breaker: invoked Miles is a double-gold Twinborn, letting him get more health out than he puts into a metalmind, giving him the ability to build up an essentially infinite pool of healing as long as he as enough gold. He still ages but is otherwise functionally immortal. Compounders (Twinborn with matching metals) are almost always overpowered, although no others have actually appeared as of yet. Notably, this is the trick the Lord Ruler pulled back during the days of the Final Empire, burning Atiumminds (and Goldminds) to release the youth (and health) stored within at a vastly increased rate.
  • Gender Bender: All kandra are this — they can change from male to female bodies and the other way round rapidly, according to their needs and sometimes whims. They seem to have a preferred gender at any given time, but it's possible they simply do this for the comfort and convenience of nearby Humans.
  • The Grim Reaper: Former Steel Inquisitor Marsh (now called "Ironeyes") is believed to be this by most people. Considering his appearance, it's not a huge surprise.
  • God of the Dead: Ironeyes is generally regarded as the god of death, though one of the three major religions (Sliverism) worships him as God, period. Readers of the original trilogy recognize him as Marsh, a human extensively augmented with hemalurgy, but not one of the setting's genuinely divine figures.
  • 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.
  • Healing Factor:
    • Wayne is able to rapidly heal from injuries as long as he has "health" stored in his gold metalminds (metal used for storing Feruchemy). Since the exchange is one-to-one, the net effect is still equivalent to normal healing — each "unit" of health stored that can be tapped to speed up healing required him to worsen his health by an equivalent amount at some point in the past. Attempting to store up health and then using it to heal up while injured just means that the periods of lowered health will cancel out the periods of heightened health. Granted, as seen in the previous series the "lowered health" generally amounts to a while with a bad cold, while the "heightened health" can mean near-instant healing of heavy injuries, so it's still very useful.
    • Miles is a twinborn whose Allomantic and Feruchemic metals are the same — gold. This allows his powers to interact in a fashion called Compounding, where the energy stored in a metalmind can be accessed by Allomancy, and which releases considerably more Feruchemical energy when burned, allowing the Compounder to bypass the sum-zero limitation of normal Feruchemy, as long as there is a supply of the metal available for burning. In this case, it allows the regeneration of even would-be fatal wounds and renders the user functionally immortal as long as he has his metalminds touching him. The only time an injury actually inconvenienced him was when Wax shot him in the eye, and his mask got stuck when it tried to heal.
  • 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 agrees to marry her after all, probably in part so she can manage his business empire while he chases down criminals.
  • Hero of Another Story: Quite literally in this case. At the end of each chapter a clipping of the local newspaper is usually included, and sometimes that includes segments of presumably fictional stories printed in the paper. We get snippets from two stories in particular, one about some sort of detective and tineye who has little respect for Wax, and another about a leacher trained in an exotic martial art designed to help them get close enough to other allomancers to leach their powers who is following clues left by their father to find some mysterous fortune. Both teasers sound like interesting stories in their own right.
  • Hold Your Hippogriffs: As with the original Mistborn trilogy, there are a lot of metal-based figures of speech in the language.
  • I Call It "Vera": Rannette named her special "hazekiller" revolver "Vindication", after Vin herself.
  • Insane Troll Logic: Played for Laughs: "Logic doesn't work on Wayne."
    "I bought a ward against [logic] off a traveling fortune-teller," Wayne explained. "It lets me add two 'n' two and get a pickle."
    • Wayne in general. In addition to his general attitude, he's constantly "trading" for things. Not stealing, trading. He might "trade" a nice scarf or hat for an aluminum gun or bullet (aluminum being about as rare and valuable as gold), then "trade" that aluminum bullet for a cheap dime novel. Of course, very few people know Wayne has "traded" something with them until they find their possession missing and something else in its place. But it's still not stealing.
  • Irony: Kelsier and Marsh were deified as the Survivor and Ironeyes (a Grim Reaper-esque figure) respectively. Not only are they brothers, Kelsier died and Marsh is still alive.
  • Knight, Knave, and Squire: Knight in Sour Armor Wax, Trickster Wayne and Naοve Newcomer Marasi form one of these in the first book.
  • Legendary in the Sequel: Most of the major characters from the original trilogy are now legendary figures in this series. Vin is known as the Ascendent Warrior, Elend as the Last Emperor, Breeze as the Councillor of Gods, Spook as the Lord Mistborn, Marsh as Ironeyes, and Sazed as Harmony.
  • 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, the art of transferring Allomantic powers to other people by killing the donor with a metal spike and embedding it in the body of the recipient, is also forgotten according to the appendix, although this is more due to Harmony supressing the information.
  • The Lightfooted: Wax uses his Feruchemy to make himself lighter, generally going around at 75% of his normal weight, as he finds it gives him an edge in combat.
  • Lighter and Softer: Wax and Wayne is much less serious then the original trilogy and the setting is much less grim.
  • Mad Scientist: Although Ranette is more a Mad Engineer, she does live like a hermit, and has an obsession with building better guns and ammunition.
  • Master of Disguise: Wayne. A new hat and a new accent (and sometimes some other accessories, like a pair of glasses) seem to be enough to make him into someone different — a student at university or a poor worker from slums.
  • Medieval Stasis: The whole point of the Mistborn franchise is to avert this trope, with each subsequent series being set in a later time period than the last, with more advanced science and technology.
    • Played straight to a degree, in that Harmony made conditions so good in the Basin while remaking the world at the end of the original trilogy, they fear it has stagnated human development. Although things have progressed beyond the pre-Industrial Revolution level of the original trilogy to a Wild West/Gilded Age-era (with trains, firearms, and skyscrapers), it has taken 300 years to do so. Harmony thinks humanity should be at a early/mid-20th century level at least (having invented the radio a century ago and be well on the way to aviation and television), and has ignored some areas of development entirely, like agriculture. Why put any effort into learning to more efficiently grow food, when the Basin is so ridiculously fertile the main problem come harvest time is that you literally can't harvest fast enough?.
  • Memorial Statue: Elendel has one of Vin and Elend.
    • the epilogue of The Lost Metal shows one of Wayne. Appropriately, it has swappable hats and two plaques: one inspirational, one rude.
  • Mundane Utility: Allomancers have gone from being carefully hoarded secret weapons in feuds between the Final Empire's noble houses to being something you can advertise for in the newspaper. For example, Coinshot couriers flying over the rooftops are a common sight in Elendel, and there are special parlours you can go to when you want a Soother to take away your negative emotions for a while. Other powers are less widely useful, but Marasi has been known to use her Allomantic ability to speed up time to fast-forward between the moment she sits down at the theater and the moment the play starts.
  • Neglectful Precursors: The heroes who survived the first trilogy became this despite their best efforts. Their attempts to create a better society were stifled by their disinterest in and ignorance of the countryside, meaning that they ended up with a really great capital city surrounded by neglected, under-utilized and increasingly resentful outlying regions, a situation that is coming to a head in Wax's time. Also, Kelsier left an Artifact of Doom lying around for mysterious reasons of his own.
  • 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.
  • Offscreen Villain Dark Matter: The Set are a subversion. Wax thinks that he's chasing shadows when his investigation into the Set only turns up decoy gangs and crimes, but even decoy criminals have to come from somewhere. By Bands of Mourning, the Set is running out of pawns and schemes due to the crew arresting or killing their current members, or by scaring potential recruits.
  • Perfect Pacifist People: The Terris like to think of themselves this way. In practice, they're simply a small insular community with the low crime rate that comes from that.
  • Punny Name: In combination, anyway. "Wax and Wayne"?
  • Real Women Don't Wear Dresses: Marasi angsts about this a little, what with Vin now being a role model for women, but being a Brandon Sanderson novel it's never played straight and doesn't stop her from kicking ass on occasion.
  • 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. It's also implied that it really is, at least a little. She seems aroused when Wax rescues her.
    • Also seems slightly at play between Wax and Marasi.
  • Replacement Goldfish: 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.
  • Sequel Escalation: Inverted. This trilogy focuses on the stability of civilization, in contrast to the previous trilogy threatening to literally destroy the entire planet.
    • Compare the heroes and villains of The Final Empire and The Alloy of Law. The original features a heroine with 10 Allomantic abilities who rates just shy of a Flying Brick versus a villain with all the same abilities, 8 feruchemical powers, and some unheard-of melds between his allomantic and feruchemical powers. The sequel features a hero with just one allomantic and feruchemical power each and no melds versus a villain who has two very weak powers that combine into a single powerful meld.
  • Shout-Out:
    • At one point Wayne is reading a book about talking bunnies.
    • The newly married couple Joshin and M'chelle is a Shout-Out to fans Josh and M'chelle who are admins on Brandon's biggest fansite.
    • Certain places in Elendel are a Shout-Out to friends and beta-readers, notably ZoBell Tower and Feder Tower. Not to mention constable Lieutenant Ahlstrom.
  • 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.
  • Sliding Scale of Gender Inequality: Fits firmly into "Men Are More Equal" in the society depicted, while being somewhere in between that and "Almost Perfect Equality" story-wise.
    • In the story, female characters like Marasi in the first book and Steris in the sequels get Character Development, personal plot arcs and some opportunities to do cool stuff, but Wax and Wayne still get the majority of the narrative attention (and have the most badass powers and abilities). The addition of MeLaan in the second book pushes things closer to perfect balance, since she's got both impressive magical powers and great fighting skills, but she also gets even less characterization than Steris and Marasi.
    • In-Universe, women seem to have the same career opportunities as men do, including the ability to occupy high offices and are generally granted equal rights. However, culturally there is still some unease with them working in some fields (like law enforcements), and there is a slightly schizophrenic attitude whereby Vin is considered the ideal of empowered womanhood but at the same time feminine standards are heavily influenced by the ideas of Allrianne - in other words, professional women are expected to be tomboys and girly-girls, at the same time! Much of Marasi's character arc consists of trying to find her way between those conflicting expectations and figure out what she actually wants.
  • Spirit Advisor: Harmony/Sazed talks to Wax at a couple points.
  • Steal the Surroundings: How the heists are performed in The Alloy of Law. Miles used a crane to steal loaded train cars right off the tracks and replace them with empties.
  • Steampunk: The technology used in the Elendel Basin, especially within Elendel City itself, has this vibe very strongly.
  • Sticky Fingers: Wayne is a (somewhat) reformed kleptomaniac. Or, at least, he's using his powers for good now. Mostly.
  • Super Strength: Pewterarms again, especially anyone who is a Pewter Savant. Anybody with koloss blood as well. One of the bad guys is a koloss-blooded Pewter Savant. Of course guns makes raw strength a lot less valuable.
  • Superpower Lottery: Both Wax and Wayne won it. Not only are they both the incredibly rare Twinborn, both of their Allomantic and Feruchemical powers have amazing synergy.
  • Swiss-Army Gun: Vindication, designed to use various kinds of hazekiller rounds depending on the situation.
  • Talking Is a Free Action: Justified by Wayne's time-bubbles, which speed up time in a small bubble. When the duo need a moment to plan during (or just snark at each other), they duck inside a bubble and hold long conversations.
  • Theme Naming: The heroes are Wax and Wayne, referring to opposite phases of the moon. This shows their status as Foils to one another. Hilariously, they are unaware of this; Scadrial doesn't have a moon.
  • Terminally Dependent Society: Somewhat. While society in Scadrial is capable of innovating on a technological path not entirely unlike that of Earth, it's shown (and outright admitted by Harmony) that the job of remaking the world and creating the Elendel Basin may have been done a little too well, as innovation has lagged behind considerably in several key areas, and the Elendel Basin is such a perfectly fertile ecosystem and habitat that there's little incentive to leave.
  • 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.
    • Aluminum bullets as well. Wax and Wayne took out almost an entire Vanisher attack force because, even though they had aluminum bullets, aluminum is so rare and expensive none of the Vanishers had them loaded at the start of the fight, and it was pretty much over before they could get them loaded.
  • 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).
    • "Bad alloy" for something negative ("He's a real bad alloy" being analogous to calling someone "a bad apple," "lead us to a bad alloy" similar to "wild goose chase"), "strange alloy" for something unexpected or odd, "rust" as a general expression of displeasure, saying something difficult to accept is "a tough metal to burn", "melt it down and forge it" being analogous to "cut to the chase". Some of these dip into Hold Your Hippogriffs.
  • What Kind of Lame Power Is Heart, Anyway?:
    • Marasi's Allomantic power is, at first glance, nothing special, and she fails to see the point of it. However, being able to significantly slow local time in a large area lets her and Wax buy the time needed for Wayne to fetch reinforcements to apprehend the indestructible Miles.
    • Aluminium and duralumin Mistings are referred to as "Aluminum/Duralumin Gnats" due to their powers having no practical uses at all. 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 "super-flare" for any other metals being burned at the time. Since there are no Mistborn anymore, these powers do nothing. However, according to Brandon Sanderson, these powers don't do exactly what they're believed to do and Allomancy Marches On. It's possible that an application will be revealed at a later date. The Bands of Mourning introduces mini-allomantic grenades which can be charged and thrown to deploy powers at range. Neither Aluminium or duralumin were used with them, but it's easy to see how similar technology could increase their usefulness.
  • With a Friend and a Stranger: Wax, Wayne, and Marasi, by the first book's end, seem to be something like this.
  • The Wild West: The Roughs, the semi-civilized region outside the Elendel Basin.

Alternative Title(s): The Mistborn Adventures