The Well of Ascension by Brandon Sanderson
Publication: June 3rd, 2008
Genre: Epic Fantasy
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.
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The Well of Ascension was much more political than book one. The final empire has been overthrown and Vin and the crew must help Elend Venture to keep him from being killed and Luthadel from being attacked by opposing armies. The book is all about plots and schemes to keep their home safe but it is not easy when the siege begins. Unlike book one I feel The Well of Ascension focused a lot less on the action and plot of the characters and more on the politics of running a kingdom and the growth of the characters. The story is mainly told in Vin, Elend, and Sazed’s point of view with some parts being told by Zane, Straff Venture, Spook, Cett or his daughter and Breeze. Even though it was more political I still enjoyed it as much as The Final Empire. The constant battle for Luthadel and even the battle for Elend’s throne continuously had me on edge because I wasn’t sure what the final outcome would be. Add to that the growing legend of the well of ascension that Vin keeps hearing about, the other Mistborn Zane who seems to take a liking to Vin, a third army fully of monsters, and you have a recipe for heart issues. But I enjoyed being kept on my toes until the very end because it was a complete shock for me.
Mister Sanderson is an exceptional writer and I don’t think that will change. I love this magical world that isn’t really fueled by magic but many people have this power with metals. I love how he made the political power struggle of Luthadel not seem a boring history lesson but enjoyable. I wanted to know more. I had to know more. The way he set up this insane scheme to overthrow the empire in book one to handling this intricate aftermath was a rush. He made all these people who are never used to losing have to go through a whole book of defeat after defeat and after while even you started to lose hope that they could make it out of this. There was death and there were major losses but Sanderson weaved it all into this diplomatic scheme that just made sense. You can’t have three armies at your doorstep and come away unscathed completely. Honestly, the character arcs were so well written. It was enjoyable to see into the minds of some of the other characters and just see the crew in a new light. They are all such proud people who always win so we get to see them really break and bend.
Vin is now much older and has learned a lot but she is still growing. She still struggles a lot with her past at times and trust with new people but we see Vin a lot more trusting of her friends. She also learns a lot about herself and what she wants in life. I love Vin and I am excited to see what she will be like as Empress. Elend has MAJOR character growth. I mean he was a man content with little debates with his friends, reading his books, and ignoring his house duties to piss off his father. Now we see Elend have to really learn all about ruling a kingdom and keeping it safe. He is an honest and good man but he has to play a different game now. He learns what it means to be king but he also learns a lot more about women, Vin in particular lol. As always I loved seeing more of the crew again and I loved the antagonists.
This time the romance was not a subtle or late in the game because Vin and Elend are established now. They were so adorable especially because they are trying to get their crap together while also keeping themselves and their kingdom alive lol. They really get to know each other here but again the book is not overpowered with unnecessary romance scenes. It is still subdued but it is there and I rather enjoyed it quite a lot.
Somehow, despite her powerful skills as an Allomancer and her stubborn determination, Vin was frighteningly vulnerable. She seemed to need Elend. For that, he felt lucky. Frustrated, at times. But lucky. Vin and he hadn’t discussed his marriage proposal and her refusal, though Elend often thought of the encounter. Women are difficult enough to understand, he thought, and I had to go and pick the oddest one of the lot.
“You make it sound so desperate, El.” Elend looked over at him. “The Assembly is a mess, a half-dozen warlords with superior armies are breathing down my neck, barely a month passes without someone sending assassins to kill me, and the woman I love is slowly driving me insane.”
“Vin, I feel it’s my gentlemanly duty to tell you something.” Vin frowned. “What?” “You’re gorgeous.” Vin paused. “What does that have to do with anything?” “Absolutely nothing,” Elend said with a smile. “I’m just trying to distract you.”
During the assassination attempt, he had watched her fight. Really watched her fight, for the first time. Until that day, he hadn’t realized just how amazing she was. She wasn’t just a warrior, and she wasn’t just an Allomancer. She was a force, like thunder or wind.
Either be so quiet and harmless that people ignore you, or be so dangerous that they’re terrified of you.
“Cett has threatened all that I love,” she whispered. “He will soon know that there is something in this world more deadly than his assassins. Something more powerful than his army. Something more terrifying than the Lord Ruler himself. And I am coming for him.”
Then they came. Two dark shadows of death in the night. Ravens in the mist. They flew over Wellen with a rustle of black cloth. And they left him behind, alone amid the corpses of what had once been a squad of forty men.
“You’re a bad influence on me.” “Oh?” “You’re making me get used to sleeping at night…Plus, I don’t sleep in my clothing anymore.” “If you did, it would make things a little awkward.” “Yes, but what if we get attacked during the night? I’d have to fight them naked.” “I wouldn’t mind watching that.”
“We’re going to do what Kelsier taught us, Vin. We’re going to survive.”