ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Book Review: Mistborn: The Well of Ascension (Book Two of the Mistborn Trilogy)

Updated on August 22, 2012
Book two of the trilogy.
Book two of the trilogy.

Having gone a bit long in my recap of the first Mistborn book, I now come to the second book of the series, The Well of Ascension. This marks the third Brandon Sanderson book I’ve read and the man keeps proving that he knows what he’s doing when it comes to epic fantasy.

Now, I should state that I’m not much of a sequel guy. I’ve just begun reading the second parts of series, starting with The Great Hunt and this. I used to have a rule that I wouldn’t start a series if I knew it would be more than two books. However, that view gets in the way of reading some of the best series out there and now I’m in it for the long run. This being book two of a trilogy, there are some spoilers involving the first one, but I’ll try to keep everything at a minimum.

The Well of Ascension begins right where the first book ends; the Lord Ruler is gone and civil war has broken out. The city of Luthadel is under siege by men who want to claim kingship in the power vacuum and our heroes are the only ones willing to stop them. Elend, the love interest from the first book, is now a main protagonist and current king of Luthadel. He’s also the current leader of the main crew from the first book. His adversary is his father, Straff Venture, as well as the council of leadership set up in the city. Where the first book was about rebelling against the established authority; the second is about retaining the current authority. It’s funny how rebels never think about that.

Vin, still with no problem about beating you up.
Vin, still with no problem about beating you up.

Vin is back and working alongside Elend to maintain order. Their relationship is a big part of this book; Vin loves him but she still has trouble trusting that he won’t leave. I wanted to roll my eyes at her insecurity, but it reminds me all too well of my own. Also on display is Vin’s increased power. She’s the resident Mistborn and has to carry the weight in the city. While the first few fights with other Allomancers left me bored due to Sanderson’s exposition of the magic system, the book picks up the slack latter on. There are scenes with Vin stopping armies and leaping from the sky with swords that are too big for her. It can get very “anime” at times and it’s fantastic. Reading about arrows splitting and heads being cracked gets crazy and leaves you wanted to see how powerful Vin can really become.

There’s new characters, such as Zane, a rival Mistborn who’s connected to Elend. He’s as crazy as they come, talking to himself and lying to others. Tindwyl is a Terriswoman who has mixed feelings about Sazed and plays an important part in Elend’s kingship. We also have OreSeur, a shapeshifter who becomes this book's scene stealer. The scenes with Vin and OreSeur are great and show the building of trust in ways that seem too acute to be in a fiction book. Old characters return, with Sazed having a much bigger and deserving spot in this story.

I finished this book much faster than I did the first one. Where the first book was easy to put down and walk away from, this one left me wanting more. The politicking was more interesting that I would have guessed and even some of the bad guys aren’t that terrible. Creatures like the Koloss are scary and learning about OreSeur’s people was cool. There’s a lot going on, just like the first, but it all works much better in this volume.

One of the cooler covers!
One of the cooler covers!
One more to go...
One more to go...

Elend is a much stronger character in this book than previously. You can see how he becomes more like the king he needs to be, and you can understand why a character like Vin would stay with him. His training, his mistakes, they all build together to turn him into a leader. The scene in the Koloss' camp where he tests his combat skills is one of his highlights and helped win me over to him.

Vin’s moments at the end of the book are great. She, too, becomes the leader she needs to be and accepts her position among the people. As Vin studies and determines truths about the Well of Ascension, you see her grow as a character. She’s not just knife in the dark, she’s intelligent and strong, and will fight for what she knows is right. It can be scary watching her defend her friends, but that’s what relationships do to people.

The ending was good and left me more interested in the next book than the first one did. I’m not sure what it was about book one, but the sequel was more my speed. I preferred the characters and the plot, enjoyed the action, and felt more despair in this read. Maybe the first one was less complex, or maybe I was less interested in Vin when she didn’t trust than I am in Vin when she’s worried about those she now loves. Sanderson doesn’t play around in this book; he tackles views of religion and death, as well as the futility of war. Major characters don’t make it out of this book alive, and there’s one death in particular that left me upset at Sanderson.

If you’ve read the first book, you shouldn’t hesitate in reading the sequel. Even if you’ve never read the first book, this one is readable, with Sanderson doing a decent job recapping the first book. You would lose the connection to some characters, but I could still see someone liking this book without having knowledge of the first. If the third book is as good as this one than the trilogy will be one my favorites and easily recommendable.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)