Title: The Well of Ascension
Author: Brandon Sanderson
Publisher: Tor Fantasy
Publication Year: 2007
WARNING: SPOILERS FOR MISTBORN: THE FINAL EMPIRE
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.
I am struggling a little to put my finger on exactly what I think of the Well of Ascension. First of all, it's Brandon Sanderson so any thing he writes is already above and beyond most of his peers and his endings, like always epic and cinematic and leave you hungry for more so let's just get that out of the way. With Elantris, his first novel, my main quibble was the plot pacing which seemed to build up slowly until in the last 100 pages which went from 0 to 60mph. The pacing seemed to be more even in Mistborn but has reverted back to slow then explosive in The Well of Ascension. For some reason, given the blurb, I imagined this was going to be a Lord of the Rings-esque trip to find the Well of Ascension. It's not. The majority of the plot takes place in Luthadel, two years after the events of the first book in a siege.
Despite the fact that 3 armies have come to take over the newly formed kingdom run by Elend most of the plot is spent in a standoff punctuated by a few amazing action scenes (because Vin is badass) there are several minor plots revolving around the remaining crew, Sazed, the three invading armies and possibly a new Mistborn? As well as the introduction of some great new characters, a fleshing out of the history and myths of the world.
The only thing that keeps me from giving it a 5 starts were the character developments in Vin and Elend. I love both characters and their growth in this book is great but slightly painful to read sometimes. There is a lot of internal struggle between the characters which could have simply been solved if they communicated. Struggles like 'what if I'm not good enough for him?', 'what if he doesn't understand me?' and 'what if I love his brother instead?'. Don't get me wrong. I have nothing against a little romance and the struggles that come with it but at some point Vin's inner monologue started to slip into eye-roll worthy territory. That said, I think that the development was necessary if a bit dragged out and the ending completely blows this book out of the water.
It really is a testament to Sanderson's writing that my complaints are really me being nit-picky.I absolutely can't wait to see how this trilogy ends!
Spoiler-free discussion by the always amazing Sanaa: