Monday, July 18, 2011

Book Review: The Well of Ascension

Genre: Fiction/Epic Fantasy
Published by: Tor Fantasy
First Publication Year: 2007  
Author: Brandon Sanderson
Now, due to the summary spoiling a key point in the novel, I won’t post it up here. I try to keep these reviews relatively spoiler-free.
In book two of the Mistborn trilogy, Sanderson has raised both the personal stakes and the physical threat. A year after Kelsier’s rebellion, Vin, Elend Venture, and the other members of Kelseir’s crew are left with a fledgling kingdom on the verge of political collapse. With three armies waiting to attack the city of Luthadel—One led by Elend’s father, Straff Venture, another by nobleman, Lord Cett, and another led by Jastes Lekal, a former friend of Elend’s—Elend struggles to keep control of the throne amid this growing threat, and Vin is left wondering about the strange behaviour of the once-comforting mists and of the strange, elusive Mistborn who watches her.
In this novel, there is a lot of focus on the ancient prophecies that shaped the world. On the concept of the Deepness and searching for the Hero of Ages—an ancient champion mentioned to defeat the Deepness. Combined with the raised stakes, this made for a much stronger conflict then the previous novel, and a much more fulfilling read.
As for characters, Sanderson has yet to disappoint. Kelsier’s crewmembers are quite fun and their banters made me smile. Like squabbling old friends, I looked forward when one of them would make an offhand comment to tick off another member. The banter between the pewter-burning (a strengthening metal) Thug, Hammond, and the portly, distinguished Soother (a Allomancer who controls emotions), Breeze, were hilarious.  
If I were to look at character growth, however, the characters that changed most from book one were Vin and Elend. In THE WELL OF ASCENSION, Vin has grown into a competent, strong Mistborn, confident in her abilities. Her personal struggles and frustrations over her inability to protect Elend and save Luthadel and its people and, her determination to do so, only served to make her all the more relatable and human. Elend Venture was probably the one who changed the most through the book. Taught by a Terriswoman Keeper named Tindwyl, he transformed from an endearing, scholarly idealist to an honourable, assertive king.
Again that message of friendship and trust was well done through the novel, just as it was done in the first. But Sanderson also added another factor into the mix: Trusting in those you love to do what’s right, understanding what love really is about: Respect.
This novel was a satisfying sequel to MISTBORN and uncovered much of the puzzling questions and revelations that MISTBORN left unanswered.
Would I read this again: Yes.
My rating: ***** (five stars)
I rated this novel five stars because, although Sanderson’s passive writing style and lack of strong hooks were something that may have hindered the first novel, this novel made up for it with a strong conflict and filling in the blanks with surprising, major twists.
Would I recommend this sequel to MISTBORN? Yes. If you enjoyed the first novel, I’d urge you to pick up the sequel ASAP.

1 comment:

  1. Now more than ever, I can't wait to borrow the Mistborn series from you. lol! This book sounds as good as it's predecessor, and I'm eager to read both. Awesome job on the review, Maddie!



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