Review: The Well of Ascension (Mistborn, #2)

The Well of Ascension by Brandon Sanderson

Rating: 3.0/5

Genre: Fiction, Fantasy

The Well of Ascension is the second book in the Mistborn trilogy. I read The Final Empire well over a year before picking up book two, mostly due to time constraints, my last year of college, finding and starting my first full-time position, and life in general happening in the interim. I was extremely excited to finally be getting to this book, but while I enjoyed it, I didn’t love it quite as much as the first.

The Well of Ascension takes place after the fall of the Final Empire and its centuries-old leader. The fall of that system leaves a power vacuum that Kelsier’s old band takes up, with Elend Venture as King, and understandably there’s a lot of political instability in this time period. Three armies set up outside Luthadel, each with a leader that hopes to take Elend Venture’s place.

About two-thirds of this book is taken up by the politics of Elend’s situation. I didn’t really mind this all that much at first. It was interesting, and it did keep me reading but there were pieces of it that probably could have been cut out and that made the middle of the book drag a little bit too slowly. And anyway, anything that happens in that time is essentially unimportant compared to the last 20% of the book. Yet, I found this all far more compelling than the actual action that took place at the end of the book. I was expecting the end of this book to blow my socks off, but I think perhaps reading others’ reviews may have elevated my expectations a little too high.

Having only read The Final Empire before this, it’s very clear to me that the strengths of Sanderson’s writing comes in his worldbuilding and characters. Even if there were places in the plot that didn’t fully hold my attention, I cared enough about what happened to Vin, Elend, Zane, Breeze, and Sazed that I needed to keep reading. The mythology that Sanderson’s built around the kandra, the koloss, and the Terris religion around The Hero of Ages is all compelling stuff.

I was a little disappointed here (not enough to put the book down for longer than like a day at a time, though) but my love for the beginning of the series, and the things that this laid out for the next book has me ready to jump into continuing on. I’m really looking forward to reading The Hero of Ages and hope it brings back my excitement for Sanderson’s world in this series.

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