I jumped into the Well of Ascension without any fear as to whether I was going to be entertained. Brandon Sanderson hits the mark once more with the second novel in his Mistborn Trilogy, leading us even deeper into the mysteries of the Final Empire and its characters.
We start off in this novel a year or so after the events of the Final Empire. During that time, the political stage has changed quite a bit. Elend Venture, Vin’s lover, is now the king of the Central Dominance and Luthadel. His father, the Lord Straff Venture, has taken control of the Northern Dominance and is marching on Luthadel with the intent of conquering it. From the Western Dominance comes Lord Cett, a previously unknown lord, also attempting to seize Elend’s kingdom. The Well of Ascension is essentially the story of political decisions and plotting to ensure that the Central Dominance stays out of enemy hands.
Parallel to the main plot, Sanderson explores Vin’s character even more, this time placing her in a different situation than in The Final Empire. We spend quite a bit of time following her on her nightly watches in the city of Luthadel, her meetings with the mysterious Zane and her inquiries on the abnormalities of the mists as well as the mists’ actual origins. Sazed’s character also gets a good bit of expansion as we discover his feelings on finally being able to do his duty as a Keeper. With him, we get to see the Skaa’s initial reactions to the fall of the Lord Ruler and realize how impossible his task might actually have been.
As in the first Mistborn, epigraphs at the begining of each chapter allow a sub-plot to run side by side with the main plot. Where in the Final Empire the epigraphs were from Alendi’s travel logs, the ones in this novel are from the ancient Terrisman, Kwaan's, memoirs. The tale they tell is intricately intertwined with elements of the main plot, to a degree which is not easily discernable until the end or very near the end of the book. They further on lead to revelations of their own in the epilogue, some of the more interesting in the Well of Ascension.
The inclusion and introduction of Zane as a side character was a brilliant choice on the author’s part since this character plays admirably well off of Vin’s, causing dangerous and unpredictable scenes between the two. Just piercing through Zane’s enigmatic shroud is absorbing in itself. Elend’s development is at the forefront in this book; Sanderson writes is a captivating evolution from boy to king .
I don’t think I even have to mention Sanderson’s writing; I’m pretty sure I praised it enough in my reviews of Elantris and the Final Empire. As always, it’s riveting, delightful, engaging, rousing, just plain fabulous and basically spotless.
Obviously read the first Mistborn before (honestly you should have by now) and once you have there really is no reason why you shouldn’t be picking this one up as soon as you possibly can.
My Rating: 5 out of 5, in the end probably even better than the first
Reading Age: 13-14 and up
Brandon Sanderson’s website: http://www.brandonsanderson.com/
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