The Well of Ascension - Thrilling fantasy
Review,  Fantasy

The Well of Ascension (The Mistborn Saga #2) by Brandon Sanderson – a thrilling fantasy sequel

The Well of Ascension is a thrilling fantasy sequel delivering a compelling narrative driven by weaving action-packed sequences, intriguing plot twists and turns, and remarkable character development. It was truly deeply satisfying experience.

I buddy read this with Toni @readingtonic and we both enjoyed this as much as first book.

The Well of Ascension - Thrilling fantasy

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

Publication Date : December 10, 2009

Publisher : Gollancz

Read Date : June 26, 2024

Genre : Fantasy

Pages : 781

Source : Own

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Previous book in series –

Book 1 – The Final Empire

Synopsis

Evil has been defeated…
The war has just begun.

They did the impossible – deposing the godlike being whose brutal rule had lasted a thousand years. Now Vin, the street urchin who has grown into the most powerful Mistborn in the land, and Elend Venture, the idealistic young nobleman who loves her, must build a healthy new society in the ashes of an empire.

They have barely begun when three separate armies attack. As the siege 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.

It may just be that killing the Lord Ruler was the easy part. Surviving the aftermath of his fall is going to be the real challenge.

Review

After the death of the Lord Ruler, Kelsier’s crew had hoped for a new era of peace and prosperity under Elend’s leadership. However, the reality was starkly different. With the absence of the Lord Ruler’s oppressive control through obligators and inquisitors, chaos engulfed The Final Empire.

Widespread lawlessness, dominances clashed as ambitious lords sought to expand their territories, taking advantage of the power vacuum left by the Lord Ruler’s demise… Refugees flooded into Luthadel, straining its resources and threatening economic collapse, exacerbated by the sudden scarcity of Atium.

Compounding these challenges, Luthadel found itself besieged by two formidable armies: one commanded by Elend’s ruthless father and the other by Lord Cett, both intent on seizing control. Elend, torn between negotiation and resistance, faced opposition from the assembly he had assembled, who favored capitulation to one of the invading lords.

Meanwhile, Vin and Sazed were grappling with a hidden threat: the mist itself. Murders and mysterious deaths plagued other dominance, hinting at a growing malevolence connected to the Deepness and The Well of Ascension. Vin, in between thwarting assassination attempts aimed at her and Elend, sensed the ominous presence of the mist, drawing her deeper into a mystery that threatened to unravel everything they had fought for..

As Elend struggled to maintain order and confront the external threats closing in on Luthadel, the true danger lurked unseen, waiting to reveal its devastating impact on the fate of The Final Empire.

Plot and World

Similar to The Final Empire, the plot and world-building are the shining stars of The Well of Ascension. Split into six parts, the story is packed with twists, political intrigue, assassination attempts, betrayal, backstabbing, the burdens of leadership, faith, identity, and profound character growth.

For those who took a break between books, the initial parts offer a concise summary of the first book and scattered essential information, crucial for understanding the series. These sections primarily focus on world-building, depicting the turbulent state of The Final Empire following the demise of the Lord Ruler, and the struggles faced by Luthadel and Kelsier’s crew — struggles that can only be described as dire.

While much of the magic system was was explained in the first book, I found delight in revisiting Breeze’s soothing abilities, a Thug’s raw strength, Vin’s allomancy, and Sazed’s Feruchemy. There is another metal introduced in this book – duralumin. It was interesting to see how it works and how Vin was experimenting it.

Not just that but we get more details about the Deepness and another scribe they find about the author of Lord Ruler’s Logbook mentioning what happened during The Well of Ascension that helps Vin and Sazed to find out about the change in the mist. Even though it slowed the pace a little and we don’t exactly see the Well until the end it still added intrigue to the story.

The exploration into Kandra and Koloss provided vivid portrayals of their appearance, lifestyles, origins, and the unique bindings of Kandra to Contracts, along with Lord Ruler’s control over Koloss, made the world even more interesting.

I also enjoyed finally getting answers about Deepness, how Lord Ruler got the power, and how the Allomancers came to existence. Now I’m more interested in the mist and there are apparently two kind – one evil, likely called Ruin, and another good, perhaps called Preservation- and I can’t wait to know more about them in third book.

Characters

I missed Kelsier and his audacious plans throughout The Well of Ascension. The group needed him. Elend was impressive, characterized by his honesty and unwavering integrity. Some of his ideas for the people and the country were amazing, but he lacked confidence and control over his own assembly.

No one took him seriously because of his mild manner, and he struggled to fill the void Kelsier left until Tindwyl, a Terriswoman sent by Sazed, arrived to train him in leadership. It was amusing to see him chastised and demeaned by Tindwyl, but her methods proved highly effective.

No one was taking him seriously because of his mild manner and he struggle to fill the hole Kelsier left behind until Tindwyl, a Terriswoman sent by Sazed, arrive to train him to be a ruler. It was funny to see him chastised and demeaned by Tindwyl but her methods worked so well.

Though Elend’s many foolish decisions were frustrating, I still admired him for remaining true to himself despite the many obstacles he faced and for doing the right thing for the empire and his people. Even though he avoided court politics throughout the first book, he turned out to be quite capable; he just needed a push and the transformation that Tindwyl facilitated. I also loved his unwavering love and trust for Vin, which helped her navigate the emotional turmoil she faced throughout the book.

Vin was incredible throughout the book, and her development was even more remarkable. Kelsier’s death clearly affected her. Despite seeing his flaws, she connected with him as a fellow Allomancer. When Zane arrived, he stirred up those raw emotions. I didn’t like Zane; it was evident he was manipulating her, and he was Straff’s Allomancer, his illegitimate son.

Though his tragic upbringing was similar to Vin’s and Kelsier’s, his thoughts never sat well with me. He kept urging Vin to leave Elend and stop being someone else’s killing machine, and it was frustrating to see her fall for it. I loved how she eventually realized what she truly wanted in life and why Elend was better than Zane. It was amazing how one simple realization helped them both, especially Vin, to leave behind their insecurities and take the next leap in their relationship.

Elend and Vin’s Relationship

There were obvious ebbs and flows in Vin and Elend’s relationship. The changes in their situations, the pressure of politics, staying alive, impending war, and the necessary personal growth cause friction and adds emotional tension. I just wanted to knock their heads together and tell them to talk about it.

Secondary characters

Like in The Final Empire, Sazed played an equally important role in The Well of Ascension. It felt like the rest of Kelsier’s crew took a back seat, with Sazed and Tindwyl becoming the focus among the secondary characters. I appreciated Sazed’s perspective on religion and Tindwyl’s contrasting cynical view. It was interesting to see them discuss their research. Sazed was a scholar to the core, but I was surprised by how well he fought in the end. My heart broke for him, seeing how the end changed him.

Several new characters were introduced in The Well of Ascension, and one of the more interesting ones was Allrianne. She turned out surprising, and I hope to learn more about her in the third book.

As I mentioned in my previous review, there is a noticeable lack of emotional depth. The events didn’t evoke the emotions they should have, except for adrenaline. While there were touching moments, they didn’t make me cry when they should have. It felt more like I was told, I saw, I accepted, and then I moved on.

As Toni said in one of our conversations, “I thought it was just me reading predominantly female authors…but perhaps it’s just Brandon Sanderson. Everything is logical and well-planned. The pace is also great. But the emotions are kind of flat.” But that didn’t change my overall enjoyment of the book.

Overall, The Well of Ascension is a thrilling sequel delivering a compelling narrative driven by weaving action-packed sequences, intriguing plot twists and turns, and remarkable character development. It was truly deeply satisfying experience.

My favorite Quotes

“A man can only lead when others accept him as their leader, and he has only as much authority as his subjects give to him. All of the brilliant ideas in the world cannot save your kingdom if no one will listen to them.”

“At first glance, the key and the lock it fits may seem very different,” Sazed said. “Different in shape, different in function, different in design. The man who looks at them without knowledge of their true nature might think them opposites, for one is meant to open, and the other to keep closed. Yet, upon closer examination he might see that without one, the other becomes useless. The wise man then sees that both lock and key were created for the same purpose.”

“I write these words in steel, for anything not set in metal cannot be trusted.”

“I kind of lost track of time…”
“For two hours?”
Elend nodded sheepishly. “There were books involved.”

“Do not deride someone’s faith simply because you do not share it, Lord Cladent,” 

“You must love him enough to trust his wishes, even if you disagree with them. You must respect him – no matter how wrong you think he may be, no matter how poor you think his decisions, you must respect his desire to make them. Even if one of them includes loving you.”

“What a pair they were – a Mistborn who felt guilty wasting coins to jump and a nobleman who thought balls were too expensive.”

“You know, Ham,” Breeze noted. “The only funny thing about your jokes is how often they lack any humor whatsoever.”

“Don’t worry that you aren’t giving people what they want. Give them who you are, and let that be enough.”

“If you perpetuate the dreams of the past, you stifle your own dreams of the future.”

“Those who take lightly promises they make to those they love are people who find little lasting satisfaction in life.”

“Sometimes, people only seem determined upon one course because they have been offered no other options.”

“Manipulation works so well on a personal level, I don’t see why it wouldn’t be an equally viable national policy.”
“That’s actually how most rulership works,” Ham mused. “What is a governement but an institutionalized method of making sure somebody else does all the work?”

“When you can’t have both freedom and safety, boy, which do you choose?” Elend was silent. “I make my own choice,” he finally said. “And I leave the others to make their own as well.”

“Unapplied knowledge benefited no one.”

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Hi, I'm Yesha, an Indian book blogger. Avid and eclectic reader who loves to read with a cup of tea. Not born reader but I don't think I’m going to stop reading books in this life. “You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me.”

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