The Well of Ascension by Brandon SandersonThe Well of Ascension by Brandon Sanderson
Series: Mistborn #2
Published by Gollancz on December 10th 2009
Genres: Adult, Fantasy
Pages: 763

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, and now the awesome task of building a new world has been left to his young protégé, Vin, the former street urchin who is now the most powerful Mistborn in the land, and to the idealistic young nobleman she loves.

As Kelsier’s protégé and slayer of the Lord Ruler she is now venerated by a budding new religion, a distinction that makes her intensely uncomfortable. Even more worrying, the mists have begun behaving strangely since the Lord Ruler died, and seem to harbor a strange vaporous entity that haunts her.

Stopping assassins may keep Vin’s Mistborn skills sharp, but it’s the least of her problems. Luthadel, the largest city of the former empire, doesn’t run itself, and Vin and the other members of Kelsier’s crew, who lead the revolution, must learn a whole new set of practical and political skills to help. It certainly won’t get easier with three armies – one of them composed of ferocious giants – now vying to conquer the city, and no sign of the Lord Ruler’s hidden cache of atium, the rarest and most powerful allomantic metal.

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 what manner of power it bestows.

5 Stars

Lord Ruler, I love this squad!

If you haven’t read The Final Empire, do not read on. This review contains massive spoilers for the first book. If you’ve read it, whether you loved or hated it, just  sit back and relish in the awesomeness of this crew. Because though I love Sanderson’s intense plots and his detailed world-building, I would love the Mistborn series only half as much without the addition of engaging, fleshed out characters which I can root for, laugh and cry with, suffer with, and fear and hope for. So, beware: This review is going to be a swoonfest.

But before I engage in a massive flinging around of quotes that are the testimony of my love for my small sons and daughters, let me dedicate a few words to the book as a whole. So, I love heists and rebellions, which basically equal The Final Empire, the epic first instalment of this series. Therefore, I went into this with the expectation to like this a lot less than the first one. I was wrong. The two books may be different in their set-up, but hell, Sanderson knows how to pull off some mind-blowing political schemes and action-packed tactical warfare! (Quite frankly, I believe this genius could pull off anything, as I have yet to be disappointed by this author).

Moving on to the character, I have to be honest and state that, for me, the amazing plot rises and falls with these masterpieces of characters. Each and every one of them – from Vin battling her insecurities to Elend struggling with constructing a stable democracy to their enemies who loom at the gates of Luthadel to Sazed who continues to trace his lead on the Hero of Ages – has their own demons to fight but only one common battle to win. If you felt somewhat cheerful after the ending of the first book, because (almost) everyone was safe and more or less happy, do not dwell on that feeling of safety, because Sanderson gives his characters hell in The Well of Ascension. Insecurities, mistakes, failures, defeats are part of the programme for these precious fictional beings, and though it was so intense to watch, it was also painful.

Because these lovely yet flawed characters, they give me life, people. And it probably goes without saying, but if you wish to go into the second book without having been spoiled about anything specific, then this is your cue to move on from this review, because quotes, quotes everywhere.

“But you had others before her,” Spook said. “Noble girls.”
“A couple,” Elend admitted.
“Though Vin has a habit of killing off her competition,” Ham quipped.
Elend laughed. “Now, see, she only did that once. And I think Shan deserved it – she was, after all, trying to assassinate me at the time.” He looked down fondly, eyeing Vin. “Though, I do have to admit, Vin is a bit hard on other women. With her around, everybody else looks bland by comparison.”
Spook rolled his eyes. “It’s more interesting when she kills them off.”

So much love for Elend in this one. And Spook, too.

“I could always eat one of them, if you wish,” OreSeur said. “That might speed things up.”
Vin paused.
OreSeur, however, had a strange little smile on his lips. “Kandra humor, Mistress. I apologize. We can be a bit grim.”
Vin smiled. “They probably wouldn’t taste very good anyway. Ham’s far too stringy, and you don’t want to know the kinds of things that Breeze spends his time eating…”
“I’m not sure,” OreSeur said. “One is, after all, named ‘Ham’. As for the other…” He nodded to the cup of wine in Breeze’s hand. “He does seem quite fond of marinating himself.”

The kandra, one of my personal favourites in this instalment as well as the next one. I obviously have a thing for a bone-digesting creature patrolling as a dog.

Elend turned to Ham. “I have a question for you, Ham.”
Ham raised an eyebrow.
“How insane are you feeling at the moment?”

Since this group ranges from slightly insane to fireworks of insanity, I’d say he’s most likely feeling insane enough to implement an even more insane plan. Because that’s how these people roll.

“Kelsier could have kept it together,” Spook mumbled. “When he was here, even our failures were part of his plan.”

This broke me.

“Breeze,” Ham said, “I could use a little more confidence right now.”
“Of course,” Breeze said, carefully Soothing away the man’s anxiety.

Breeze and Hammond interacting is always a pleasure. This two give each other shit, yet they’re secretly the best buddies ever.

“It’s all Kelsier’s fault. He turned us into idiots who would stand at the front of a doomed army.”
“That bastard,” Clubs said.
“Indeed,” Breeze said.

My precious idiots.

“Trust,” Vin whispered. “It’s about trust.”

And love for Vin, the girl who finally discovered one of the most important elements of our lives. Trust.

If you’re wondering “Is this messy assemblage of quotes is going to make up 2/3 of her review?” then DAMN RIGHT, THIS IS MY FUCKING REVIEW. I’M A WRECK.

Who recommended this darn series to me? *eyes scan crowd and fix on Chantal* If you’re reading this, my lovely friend and now co-blogger, then know this: The burden of this 5-star rating rests on your shoulders.