I am completely unashamed to admit that I am a total squealing fanboy when it comes to Brandon Sanderson books. He's the modern day JRR Tolkien, if you ask me. One of the things I like best is how he has magic systems that are based on rules the reader can understand. There's always a clear source where the magic comes from from, and it operates on a strict set of rules and limitations. For example, allomancers get their power by consuming certain types of metals. Tin enhances your senses, pewter makes you stronger, steel and iron let you push and pull on other metals like a magnet, respectively, etc. Each metal only gives you one power, and those powers work the same for whoever uses them. I like it because it lets you know exactly what each character is capable of, and when they fight it comes down to who uses their powers better, faster, more effectively, rather than a race to see who can wave their wand and spout gibberish faster.
That makes me wonder, though. Some people will say that Sanderson's magic is no good because it takes away the element of the unknown. Magic is, by definition, a word to describe things that are beyond our understanding. Sanderson understands and explains his magic so thoroughly that it's, in a way, more of a science than sorcery. The way I see it, the powers are still coming from supernatural means, and even if we know HOW to use them we might still not know for sure WHAT they are. Then again, look at Superman. He's got powers out the wazoo (heck, his wazoo probably HAS powers), but nobody calls them magic. To him, they're just natural abilities that his alien race has, just like the people in Sanderson's world. Then again, AGAIN, Gandalf and Harry Potter's powers are both natural in their own worlds, but people have no problem calling it magic. It's confusing.
What do you guys think? At what point does magic become science?