The Well of Ascension
The impossible has happened. The Lord Ruler has been vanquished. The task of rebuilding the world has been left to Vin, a one-time street urchin, now the most powerful Mistborn in the land. Worryingly for her, Vin has become the focus of a new religion. More worrying still the mists have become unpredictable since the Lord Ruler died, and a strange vaporous entity is stalking Vin. As the siege of Luthadel intensifies, the ancient legend of the Well of Ascension offers the only glimmer of hope. But no-one knows where it is or what it can do.
Reviewed on 12th June 2011
The second book in Brandon Sanderson's Mistborn trilogy equals the first in its ability to entertain the reader. I found it a gripping novel that added some welcome twists the standard fantasy novel formula.
The Lord Ruler has been defeated and Elend Venture has set up as a good king, implementing an elected assembly to rule on behalf of the people, and improving the lives of the skaa. However it seems defeating the evil tyrant wasn't the end, as soon armies begin to appear on their doorstep, and the Deepness starts to return.
Sanderson really shows off with this novel his skills in world- and character-building. Despite the shift in plot focus, this book remains very faithful to the first and feels much more of an extension that a sequel. It's always nice to read a book that deals with the fall-out from the climax of another rather than dipping straight into another adventure, and that's what happens here. It's set a year later, however much of the first half of this novel deals with the immediate repercussions of the last book.
It's only really towards the second half that the fantasy aspects really kick off again - although there have been threads running through earlier. The range of characters is nicely complimented by some additions, and they help to explore aspects of the world that were left untouched previously.
My main criticism would be that some things were left too late to really kick in. The 'main' plot I suppose is actually focussed on rebuilding (fitting the stereotype of a middle book in a trilogy), and this seemed to detract a little from Vin's storyline which I felt could have been a little more prominent. Like the first book though, this one does manage a successful self-contained storyline and leave plenty over for book three - I wish some other authors were able to do this just as well.
Overall, a really enjoyable read and a book that's hard to put down (despite it being a bit chunky!). I'm very much looking forward to getting my hands on book three soon.