Synopsis from Goodreads:
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.
After my soul was crushed (in a good way) at the end of The Final Empire, I should have anticipated that The Well of Ascension would also crush my hopes and dreams. But I didn’t. And I patiently read 800 pages of this incredible book thinking that somehow my heart wasn’t going to be shattered into a million pieces. I was wrong. I was so so wrong. Brandon Sanderson is a cruel human who breaks the hearts of readers everywhere.
The Well of Ascension crushed my soul (in a good way… I suppose).
The second book in the Mistborn series is a bit slow. Much slower than the first. In fact, for the first 600 pages not much happens. However, this didn’t bother me as much as it has in other books like A Gathering of Shadows. Why? Because even though there wasn’t a lot of high action, the story was still progressing. The characters were still present and together. And the world was getting even more interesting. I was still glued to the pages and couldn’t put it down, picking it up whenever I had a few moments of spare time. Sometimes when I get home during the week, by the time I eat dinner, I only have like 20 minutes of free time before I have to go to bed. And most days I just browse Pinterest or watch Shark Tank because 20 minutes isn’t really enough time to get into a book. But I read for those 20 precious minutes when I was reading The Well of Ascension. Because I had to know what was going to happen.
The Well of Ascension made me read during every spare bit of time I had – even if it was only 20 minutes.
Something that I really love about this series are the plot arcs of each book. I never expected The Final Empire to end where it did and I never expected The Well of Ascension to end where it did either. I love that Sanderson’s world is large enough and fleshed out enough that we can have major events happen in each book that all connect in the over-arcing series plot. It’s truly incredible the way he crafted this story. Because of this it makes me feel like each book accomplishes something. We aren’t given a whole lot of build-up for nothing. Those 600 pages of build-up? Those were necessary. And they were worth it. Because holy shit those last 200 pages took my breath away.
I read those last 200 pages in one sitting and was freaking out the entire time. I left Wendy a ridiculous number of voice messages mostly just freaking the fuck out because THINGS were happening. People were DYING. And it didn’t look like it was going to get any better.
The last 200 pages of this book nearly killed me.
This book was about rebuilding. Setting up a new government is hard work. The people aren’t used to it. They don’t accept it. New leaders have to learn how to be leaders, etc. Your city is weak and you’re under siege from other powerful fish that want a piece of the action. The crew has not one, not two, but THREE armies outside the walls of Luthadel waiting to attack them. And throughout this whole book they’re trying to figure out how to stop them. If they attack, the city will fall. So basically they are stalling while they gather more information. While they plot and plan. This gave Sanderson time to really develop his world and his characters more. I loved seeing the characters interact in their new roles. They’re no longer an underground crew of criminals. This is different. This is bigger than any job they’ve ever done and I loved seeing each character step up and become the person they were meant to be. I have so much love for every member of this crew. Clubs, Breeze, Ham, Spook, Sazed, Marsh, Vin, Tindwyl.
Tindwyl was a new addition to the crew. She’s a Terriswoman and at first I wasn’t sure I liked her. She was harsh and cold, but as the book went on I grew to absolutely love her. She was amazing. She whipped the hopeless Elend into shape (no, I still haven’t warmed up to him…) and I ship her and Sazed so hard.
Sazed + Tindwyl for life.
I loved all the twists and turns that this book gave. No piece of information is for nothing. Sanderson drops little breadcrumbs all through the book. These are clues. Pick them up, put them in your basket and try to unravel them. I dare you. I doubt you’ll be able to though. I certainly didn’t. When plot twists were revealed I gaped like a fish out of water. Then I left obnoxious voice messages for Wendy that went something along the lines of “Oh my god, what?!?!?!?!? It’s there??? It makes so much sense now!!” They were a little more specific than that, but spoilers. I love that Sanderson continued to surprise me over and over.
I really loved Vin’s character development in this book. I loved watching her fight with who she is – or really who she thinks she is – vs. who she thought she should be vs. who she actually wants to be. There’s a lot of internal struggle in this young woman. She’s had an awful childhood and that plays into her fears a lot. She is afraid that she’s exactly like Kelsier, hard, cold & unforgiving. Someone who kills with no reserves. She fears that she’s not good enough for Elend – pure, good Elend. She knows the type of person she wants to be, but she fears that she’ll never be that person. I understood Vin a little and I could definitely relate to her feelings of not being good enough.
Vin is a powerful, flawed heroine that readers will be able to connect to.
I’m still blown away by the magic system in this series. As the book goes on, more and more layers get added and I get a better understanding of the way things work. I was really excited to see more of the Feruchemical powers. I loved learning about how the Terrismen, like Sazed, blessed with this power store and utilize it. It’s similar enough to Allomancy that it was easy to understand, but different enough to be super fascinating. I loved seeing the pros and cons of both. Sazed is kind of a badass. Yeah I know. Quiet, scholarly Sazed. Don’t fuck with him people.
And lastly, I loved learning about two new creatures. Kandra & Koloss. Kandra we learned a little about in The Final Empire, but we barely scratched the surface. In this book, Vin has a Kandra who takes the form of a Wolfhound. His name is OreSeur and I love him so so so much. <3 <3 <3 Kandra are creatures who can eat the bones of a dead body and then take that body and use it. Sounds creepy, but I swear OreSeur is awesome. Basically Vin had a talking Wolfhound with her the whole book. It reminded me of the relationship between Lirael and Dog in Garth Nix’s Abhorsen series.
Talking animals are always a win for me. Vin’s Wolfhound, OreSeur, was one of my favorite characters.
The other creatures we learn about are the koloss. Gross as fuck. Another product of the Lord Ruler taking the power at the Well of Ascension. These creatures are huge, brutal and very difficult to kill. I did find them fascinating though. They can speak and it seemed as though they wished to be treated the same as humans. I mean really, the koloss are just another oppressed group like the Skaa have been for centuries. Unfortunately for the koloss, they have a violent streak that will never allow them to live in harmony with humans.
Have you been wondering what the mists really are? You get to delve into that more in this book. The mists were something so strange and foreign to me in the first book so I was excited to learn more about them in this book. Where they came from, what they can do, etc.
The Skaa have good reason to fear the mists.
Overall I really enjoyed this book. It lost half a star due to the slow pace. I did hit a point at about 500 pages where I was ready for the action to pick up. I had to wait 100 more pages after that before it really did. Still, even with the slow pace I found the story fascinating. This world, the magic and the characters have completely captured me. I’m jumping into the third one right away. Hopefully it doesn’t kill me. Though it probably will if it’s anything like these first two books that have ripped my heart to shreds. I probably won’t even be human anymore after these books are done with me.
Have you read The Well of Ascension yet? Did you find the pace too slow or were you just as fascinated by the world, characters, magic as me? Are you a fan of Elend or do have a personal vendetta against him like me? Were you shocked at all the twists? Did the last 200 pages kill you too? Am I going to survive the third book?