This just isn’t done, taking a fantasy world forward, skipping centuries and having its level of development actually change drastically, yet Sanderson did it anyway. I still much prefer more typical fantasy settings, and an Industrial Revolution keeps making me think of the environmental damage caused, but must admit that a fantasy world having its Industrial Revolution can be an interesting place. Or at least, at this point, this one is, even if there isn’t that much worldbuilding in this book, being too short to allow for it and very focused on the action. But the newspaper inserts help with that to some extent, or at least add to the flavor, and otherwise it does just what it aims to do, being something of a fantasy Western, a novel that’s lighter in various ways but thrilling, offering readers a sort of intermission in some ways but gripping them and pulling them towards what comes next in others.
Perhaps as the main bridge over the centuries that were skipped, the magic system is nevertheless presented in great detail, albeit with a clear focus on its use in battles and on the specific abilities of the main characters. And what characters they are, Wax obviously being the most developed and most interesting but Marasi standing out as well and Wayne being another piece that fits in just right to make for a great trio. He doesn’t work so well on his own though, seeming too stereotypical, and that constant banter at times becoming too repetitive and just too much. But that banter does remain funny, while on the other hand, some discussions and inner monologues touch on much deeper aspects, and the antagonist also makes excellent points, definitely worth supporting and acting on, in this world as well as in our own.
Between the thrilling battles, the great characters, the deeper aspects touched upon and the interesting world, I truly was excited while reading this, mostly noticing the reasons for complaint when I stopped to think about it. Could have done without that sort of intervention in the final battle though…