The Well of Ascension by Brandon Sanderson

This is the second book in the Mistborn series; it’s a 763 page fantasy novel. I will warn you now that if you haven’t read the first one (and plan to) you might not want to read this review. I was going to try to keep spoilers to a minimum, but there is so much that I might accidentally give away, it’s not worth trying.

This story starts off with Elend Venture as king of the New Empire faced with his father, Straff Venture’s approaching army. Straff’s larger force is threatening to take control of Luthadel. The entire novel deals with the threat of Straff’s army (and a couple other interesting threats) against Luthadel, and how the crew deals with them. Vin is now put on guard duty for Elend — she really explores her power, and learns what it is to be ruthless. Vin has become more confident and Elend is now the one working his way into being confident in his role as king.

The Well of Ascension (Mistborn, #2)

We are introduced to a new character in this book — the Watcher. I’ll give a little bit of a spoiler and say the Watcher is Zane, a mistborn who hides and watches Vin and Elend, making Vin extremely anxious. Zane is one of my favorite characters in this book, and although Sanderson did use his POV sometimes, I could have used even more. Zane is supposedly insane, and I really enjoyed his inner conflicts when in the presence of other people. Sanderson explores not only characters outside of the original crew, but other species, as well. Learning about koloss and kandra (mostly kandra, I’ll admit), was fascinating. Drawing it out through dialogue, rather than narrative worked really well. Again, I was pleasantly surprised at Sanderson’s world building expertise.

I was so relieved that this novel was very different from Mistborn. Rather than just continuing the story, Sanderson expands on the world and increases our knowledge of it. It was also interesting to read from the many, many different view points. We get to see things from both sides of the struggles surrounding Luthadel, and some perspectives away from the city. I thought this was an excellent way to keep things interesting, and to break up the monotony of the siege in Luthadel.

Through a few characters’ POV, we see a lot of study surrounding the Deepness.  I love the little excerpts from journals at the beginning of each chapter that had to do with the Deepness (and Alendi and Rashek). Another part of the book I enjoyed was seen through Sazed’s POV (he is one of the people studying the Deepness). His area of study is that of religion, and he has over 300 religions recorded that the Lord Ruler stamped out in order to form the Steel Ministry. Though not much is known of his own religion (Terris), he manages to uncover a lot of things that mention it, which is where we get the story of the Well of Ascension and the Hero of Ages. The Terris (or religious, I suppose) aspects of this novel are amazing — I was dumbfounded at the end of the novel when everything came together (huzzah foreshadowing!).

Just like Mistborn, I was interested in the first couple hundred pages, but not riveted. However, once I got in the tw0- and three-hundred pages, it was a struggle to put the book down. I finished about the last 350 pages in one day. If you enjoyed Mistborn, you can’t not read this. If you haven’t read Mistborn, get on it! It is so worth your time. And trust me, I really haven’t given that many spoilers — nothing you couldn’t get from reading the blurb of the second book… and don’t read the blurb of the third book if you plan to read the series! Anyway, I want to say this book also comes highly recommended. I will be starting The Hero of Ages shortly, and hope to finish it before break is over and I have to go to class again.


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Adam
    Apr 24, 2012 @ 16:56:54

    Once Sanderson’s books get rolling, putting them down isn’t really an option. It’s always a good thing to try and leave several hours open so that you’ll be able to read the last 300 or so pages of his books in one sitting. Even re-reading these novels I felt the same way.

    One of the review quotes about this book is perfect for it. What happens after the good guys win? This is one of the few books that I’ve ever seen that explores what happens.

    I also agree that his worldbuilding and foreshadowing are both excellent. You’re never thrown out of the story because of a huge infodump (which is really hard to do with Fantasy sometimes). You’re also never surprised by the ending, its more of a “Why didn’t I think of that! It’s so obvious where everything was going now that I’ve read the end!” Sanderson is one hell of a writer.

    Have fun with the third book.


  2. Trackback: Reading Corner – The Well of Ascension | The Journey of Two

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