Review – The Well of Ascension (Mistborn #2) by Brandon Sanderson

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/68429.The_Well_of_Ascension

 
The Well of Ascension (Mistborn #2)
 
by Brandon Sanderson

Summary: The impossible has been accomplished. The Lord Ruler – the man who claimed to be god incarnate and brutally ruled the world for a thousand years – has been vanquished. But Kelsier, the hero who masterminded that triumph, is dead too, and now the awesome task of building a new world has been left to his young protégé, Vin, the former street urchin who is now the most powerful Mistborn in the land, and to the idealistic young nobleman she loves.
As Kelsier’s protégé and slayer of the Lord Ruler she is now venerated by a budding new religion, a distinction that makes her intensely uncomfortable. Even more worrying, the mists have begun behaving strangely since the Lord Ruler died, and seem to harbor a strange vaporous entity that haunts her.
Stopping assassins may keep Vin’s Mistborn skills sharp, but it’s the least of her problems. Luthadel, the largest city of the former empire, doesn’t run itself, and Vin and the other members of Kelsier’s crew, who lead the revolution, must learn a whole new set of practical and political skills to help. It certainly won’t get easier with three armies – one of them composed of ferocious giants – now vying to conquer the city, and no sign of the Lord Ruler’s hidden cache of atium, the rarest and most powerful allomantic metal.
As the siege of Luthadel tightens, an ancient legend seems to offer a glimmer of hope. But even if it really exists, no one knows where to find the Well of Ascension or what manner of power it bestows.

Source: I purchased a paperback

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Review:

The Well of Ascension was awesome!

At first, I was kind of bummed out reading it. Not only was I still mourning the loss of Kelsier, like most of the characters, but I was also becoming annoyed with Vin. I couldn’t understand why she would treat her kandra servant so horribly just because he did was he was told. The kandra are servants who follow a Contract and that is all they do. I understood the motivations of Kelsier and why his kandra followed instructions. I thought Vin was being petty and yet, because of how powerful she was, I thought the crew and Elend let her continue to be petty.

Fortunately, the Mistborn trilogy doesn’t suffer from the same thing that is prevalent in YA novels. Heroes and heroines are flawed and make mistakes, but they don’t continue to be terrible or too stupid to live. Eventually, Vin realized her errors and her mistakes were ones she learned from and grew as a result of. While she second guessed herself and why she would ever deserve someone like Elend, he was second guessing himself and wondering why he would ever deserve someone as strong as Vin. The two of them were young and prone to self reflection during a precarious time in Luthadel. They weren’t horribly distracted by each other like that of YA fantasy/romances. Mistborn is far from being a romance in any way, but the relationship between Vin and Elend was still very important to the story.

I absolutely loved The Well of Ascension. I enjoyed seeing Elend become a king and struggle with democracy. Many of his issues and mistakes are ones that our governments of today struggle with, such as the argument for freedom over safety and the reverse. Elend felt that it was important to give power to the people, but suffered from his idealism. It was interesting to watch him struggle and adapt to the post-Lord Ruler Luthadel that was torn apart by the chaos. Instead of praising Vin and Elend for freeing them, the people often complained that things were better under the Lord Ruler’s oppression. I love when fantasy novels can contain otherworldly things, yet deal with important and age old questions relevant to any society, fictional or not.

The headings above each chapter drove me crazy.. in a good way. I was so eager to find out what went wrong with the Terrisman who believed in Alendi. How did Rashek come into power? What mistake did Alendi make? How would their story impact that of Vin and Elend? Was Vin the Hero of the Ages? It was maddening and I felt like Sazed was so very often distracted and was not deciphering at the speed in which he deciphered the text in the first novel. And the text in The Well of Ascension was infinitely more important to the fate of the characters.

I was surprised by some of the revelations and events in The Well of Ascension. Absolutely nothing happened that I thought would happen and I felt for the characters and their horrible situation. Between various armies attacking, the deepness, the lack of atium, and the disturbing shadows in the mist, I wasn’t sure how anyone would survive and make good decisions.

For me, The Well of Ascension had a rocky start because I was so shocked by Kelsier’s death at the end of the first novel and it was hard to readjust. Things were easy when they were planning to overthrow the Final Empire, but the situation in the sequel was a lot tougher and less idealistic. Kelsier’s charisma and optimism was a crucial part of book one and it was tough to read without it. Fortunately, I found The Well of Ascension to be a lot better as it was more profound and thought provoking with higher stakes. I can’t wait to pick up the next book and find out what will happen next. Because OMG, things are basically in shambles. It’s maddening!

I highly recommend the series so far. I can’t believe it has taken me this long to read one of Brandon Sanderson’s series. I understand why he is a favorite fantasy author of many readers. It has everything I love about fantasy without the slow and dull sections that so many of them have.

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