The Read Along is being hosted by Carl at Stainless Steel Droppings. You can read find his answer to this week's questions here.
We read up to the end of Chapter 6.
1. This first hundred or so pages was packed! What things are standing out for you in the story thus far?
For the first twenty pages or so I found the rush of new concepts a little overwhelming, but once we arrived in the city the pace became more manageable. At this stage I am awash with questions. How is the Lord Ruler immortal and how does he gift the nobles with the magical abilities? Why is there ash falling all the time? What caused the skaa to be enslaved and are they a different species, or just a different caste / class? What / who are the kollossi? How are the Inquisitors alive, let alone super-efficient killing machines? Is there really something dangerous in the mist?
But, despite all of these questions, the thing that has stood out the most is the system of magic that has been revealed: I don’t think I’ve ever read anything even vaguely similar.
2. What are your thoughts on the magic system that Sanderson is unveiling in this novel?
The allomancy is an amazing creation. I particularly liked the idea that Vin, and other allomancers, could derive enough metal from their food and water to be functional. Of course, it doesn’t sit well with my chemistry training: I can see how the elemental metals could be absorbed in this way, but not the alloys. Anyway, this is fantasy, so I’m trying not to think about these things too closely.
Kelsier’s use of magic to infiltrate the nobleman’s keep was jaw dropping in its intricate description of his skills. Wow!
3. Kelsier and Vin have held most of the spotlight in these first 6 chapters. As you compare/contrast the two characters, how do you feel about them? Likes? Dislikes?
At the moment Kelsier seems to be the typical fantasy hero: lowly beginnings, murdered wife, superhuman powers, Robin Hood complex, amazingly nice, etc. Although I like him, I am hoping that he gets a bit more three-dimensional. Vin is a little more rounded at the moment, and I am really pleased that she hasn’t spontaneously started trusting people: I hate it when authors make characters drop sensible personality traits as soon as they meet the hero.
4. Finally, how would you assess Sanderson's storytelling abilities to this point?
This is a difficult question to answer. As I said above, I felt really swamped at first. For some reason I began to lose track of the characters and their names, which is not something I usually have trouble with. There were too many new concepts introduced too quickly and it took me a while to adjust. I am also not a fan of introducing a POV character in the Prologue only to murder them a few pages earlier. Finally, I am not sure why we began by following Kelsier, as he is obviously not the main protagonist: from the cover, I have to assume that it is Vin.