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The Well of Ascension by Brandon Sanderson

The Well of Ascension (edition 2008)

by Brandon Sanderson

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Title:The Well of Ascension
Authors:Brandon Sanderson
Info:New York : Tor, 2008.
Collections:Your library, Fantasy
Tags:mistborn, fantasy

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The Well of Ascension by Brandon Sanderson


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The Well of Ascension is the second in Brandon Sanderson's Mistborn series. Usually it takes an entire series to defeat the bad guys so everyone can live happily ever after. But what if that was only the beginning? What if Frodo threw the ring into Mount Doom in Fellowship of the Ring? What happens after evil has been defeated? This is the question that Sanderson asks and is the main premise of book two. It is an absolutely brilliant take on a classic genre trope.

It turns out that killing the Lord Ruler was the easy part. Vin and the crew are back, trying to keep society held together long enough for Elend Venture to put a new, more fair form of government in place. This is no easy task in the best of circumstances and, naturally, these are NOT good circumstances. The city of Luthadel is in an extended siege when three separate armies surround the city. Food is running short. Various factions in the city are scheming for ways to take power for themselves. The mists are changing, lasting longer into the day and even killing people. Vin patrols the night trying to keep Elend safe from assassins. It also appears the crew has a spy in their midst. While she may be the most powerful Mistborn in the land, she is only one person. The only hope may be in the legend of the Hero of Ages and the Well of Ascension, the place that gave the Lord Ruler his power. Assuming it really exists.

The cast of characters has grown. Most of the crew members are given point of view chapters as are the main antagonists. Elend Venture goes on quite a character arc. He starts off as a scholarly nobleman with high ideals and quickly learns just how different book knowledge is from the real world. He is forced to answer the question if a good man can make a good king or if he must compromise his own beliefs to save his fledgling kingdom. Vin has come a long way from the shy street urchin she used to be. She fully embraces her Mistborn powers and continues to use her gifts in unimaginable ways, becoming the greatest Mistborn in recent history. Vin has finally learned the value of friendship, how to trust and feels devastatingly betrayed when she learns one of her closest friends is likely a traitor. While the other characters don't go on as big of character arcs, all are well rounded, fully fleshed out and believable. I particularly loved the interactions between Sazed and Tindwyl, the two Terris Keepers. As much as I loved Sazed in book one, it was great to have Tindwyl to provide a contrast as to just how different a Keeper is based on their field of study. I also really enjoyed being introduced to the kandra OreSeur. Kandra are an inhuman race that have become fully subservient to humans as a means of self preservation. They have the amazing ability to absorb the bones of other creatures and take up their shapes and mannerisms. This is both a useful and concerning ability. Throughout the story as OreSeur's background is revealed, he became a surprisingly sympathetic character.

With a shift in plot comes a shift in tone for the story. Instead of a hero journey the characters are forced to face the brutal reality of leadership. There are still heroic moments and a ton of allomantic action. However a larger focus is on the political situation. This slows the pace down considerably and allows for a gradual build in tension until events almost literally explode. Sanderson has a gift for turning typical fantasy tropes on their head and the ending twist is a great example that I did not see coming at all. The main downside for me was the weird, psuedo love triangle Vin gets stuck in. Its one of the fantasy tropes that has started to grate on my nerves over the years due to over use. Thankfully the story is resolved in such a way that I don't think this will be an issue in the third installment.

Over all, the second installment lives up to the promise of the first book. I can't wait to find out how Vin's story ends. ( )
  Narilka | Dec 31, 2016 |
Everything I thought I knew from Final Empire is turned on its head!

Vin and Elend get married, Luthadel is sacked, but Vin realizes she has powers unlike any other Mistborn. Goes to the Well of Ascension to destroy the Deepness, only to set free some being that has been manipulating the Terris religion for that very purpose. The Hero of Ages is a deception wrought by this being.

Looking forward to the next volume. ( )
  BookstoogeLT | Dec 10, 2016 |
As the second book of a trilogy, this isn't bad. I didn't care for it as much as I did the first book, though. It had too much 'action' for my personal taste, going from one protracted fight scene to another. Vin (one of the main protagonists) also seems weaker, emotionally and psychologically, in this one. Sometimes she's dense intellectually as well. Still, she is only 17, so I suppose this is all in character. The prose tends to the verbose, but again, that's not uncommon for epic fantasy.

There are surprising plot twists in this one... things I did not expect, anyway (which I won't disclose here). The characters are satisfyingly complex and human, they learn and grow through the course of the story, and the setting is richly textured.

The copy editing is good I noticed only one or two typos in the whole thing (One I recall was 'prisoner' that should have been 'poisoner'). That's not a big deal and I normally let such things pass without comment on indie books, but this one is published by TOR. Speaking of the publisher, the cover art, which I assume is supposed to represent Vin, makes her look to be about a decade older than the character in the book. Trying to avoid a YA label?

This is a satisfying story. I would recommend it to readers of epic fantasy. ( )
  DLMorrese | Oct 14, 2016 |
Sanderson had masterfully created a complete and diverse world that draws you in. Pay close attention as you read, some of the small details come back to be important later on. The world we enter in The Final Empire is dark, covered in ash, and seems hopeless. Just surviving is work. We follow Vin, a street thief, as she encounters a special group of thieves who have grand plans to change the world. Things don't quite go according to plan and ancient prophecies come into play. As we move through Well of Ascension into Hero of ages, the characters learn how to evolve into new roles while still staying true to themselves. While occasionally things are repeated or drag on a bit, overall the story moves along well and is engrossing. ( )
  missmimsy | Jul 30, 2016 |
didn't really grab as much as the first book in the trilogy, but entertaining enough ( )
  jkdavies | Jun 14, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 110 (next | show all)
Vin's struggles with love and power inject the human element into Sanderson's engaging epic.
added by Katya0133 | editBooklist, Regina Schroeder (Aug 1, 2007)
This entertaining read will especially please those who always wanted to know what happened after the good guys won.
added by Katya0133 | editPublishers Weekly (Jun 18, 2007)

» Add other authors (4 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Brandon Sandersonprimary authorall editionscalculated
Green, SamCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kramer, MichaelNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
McGrath, ChrisCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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For Phyllis Call,
Who may never understand my fantasy books, yet who taught me more about life - and therefore writing - than she can probably ever know
(Thanks, Grandma!)
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The army crept like a dark stain along the horizon.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0765356139, Mass Market Paperback)

Evil has been defeated. The war has just begun.

They did the impossible, deposing the godlike being whose brutal rule had lasted a thousand years. Now Vin, the street urchin who has grown into the most powerful Mistborn in the land, and Elend Venture, the idealistic young nobleman who loves her, must build a healthy new society in the ashes of an empire.

They have barely begun when three separate armies attack. As the siege 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.

It may just be that killing the Lord Ruler was the easy part. Surviving the aftermath of his fall is going to be the real challenge.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:20:37 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

"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. The awesome task of building a new world has been left to his young protegee, Vin, the former street urchin who is now the most powerful Mistborn in the land, and to Elend Venture, the idealistic young nobleman who loves her. The Lord Ruler's empire has broken into its component parts. In the former imperial capital of Luthadel, Elend is the new king of the Central Dominance, ruling with the help of an elected assembly he insisted on, a body with the power to depose him. The new kings of the other Dominances - most notably, Elend's ruthless father, Straff Venture -aren't waiting on that chance, and assassination attempts are frequent.""Vin is wearing herself out trying to protect Elend. Stopping assassins does keep her Mistborn skills sharp, but it is not her only problem. As Kelsier's heir and slayer of the Lord Ruler, Yin is venerated by a rapidly growing new religion, a distinction that makes her intensely uncomfortable. Even more disturbing, the mists have begun behaving ominously since the Lord Ruler died and harbor a strange vaporous entity that seems to be haunting her." "Three armies - one composed of ferocious giants - are approaching to vie for Luthadel's conquest. The city's half-trained forces are insufficient to man lengthy walls never intended to foil a real attack. 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 exactly what manner of power it bestows.""All of these troubles whisper a single, chilling fact. Killing the Lord Ruler was the easy part. Surviving the aftermath of his fall is going to be the real challenge."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

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