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Review: Brandon Sanderson – The Well of Ascension (Mistborn 2)

Brandon Sanderson - The Well of Ascension (Mistborn 2)They tend to say that the second book in a trilogy can usually be a bit slow – you’ve already got through the introduction to all the characters and the plotline, and you’re waiting for the dramatic ending to the final book in the series. But I’m very glad to say that it wasn’t true for Mistborn. I’ll warn you now, there will be spoilers below so look away now if you don’t want to ruin the surprises for yourself!

The book seemed like non-stop action throughout, it made the book very hard to put down. We left the last book with Kelsier dead and the Lord Ruler overthrown, so we’re coming into this book with Elend as King with his ideas about making a fairer government (of sorts) to rule over the Skaa. And obviously now Kelsier is dead, Vin has a lot to learn about the strength within herself and confidence that she can do this without her mentor, the one who taught her how to be herself and use her natural powers.

We’re not far into the book before the drama starts, and two armies arrive on the doorstep of Luthadel. Immediately, it doesn’t look good for Elend, especially considering one of the armies is led by his brutish father. And things start to go downhill from there. Elend’s kind and honest nature sets him up for trouble when the Assembly decides to overthrow him and he’s written the new constitution in such a way that there is no way he can stop it. And when he has the chance to lie and keep his crown, he just can’t do it. Forced to take a backseat to a new king who seems determined to hand over the city to Elend’s father Straff, how can the crew stop this from happening?

The book was full of tension, I felt scared throughout that Elend, Vin and the crew were going to fail in their mission and Luthadel was going to go back to it’s Skaa-oppressing ways.

I gained a lot of love for Sazed throughout this book. He’s put himself in a difficult situation by helping with the take-down of the Lord Ruler, and he decides to do it again when he uncovers what he believes may be an interesting piece of information about the Well of Ascension and the supposed Hero of Ages. His relationship with Tindwyl is unwrapped bit-by bit, until you can see the true love and genuine deep-seated affection that they have for each other, which makes it all the more heartbreaking when she is killed in the battle to save the city from the huge Koloss army.

At that point in the book, I was worried that Sanderson was about to go all George R. R. Martin on us and start killing off every character that we hold dear, but thankfully he stopped before it got to that point. However, I did want to scream a couple of times, like when the aforementioned Tindwyl was found to be dead by Sazed. He’s such a lovely man that has done everything he can to save the empire, and this is how he is rewarded?!

And when it looks like Elend is dead, I could have cried for poor Vin. I think I would have been tempted to just give up on the series if that had happened, what would be the point of reading any further when such a sweet, honest and giving man could die.

I found the changes in Elend and Vin’s relationship interesting throughout the book. At the start it looks like they are closer than ever, and then thanks to some horrid tricks by Elend’s half brother Zane (another Mistborn), it looks like Vin could be considering leaving Elend for someone who understands her true nature. And when Zane engineers a situation which forces Vin to kill someone rather brutally in front of Elend, it looks like it could all be over for their relationship. Vin believes that Elend hates her for what she has done, and that he can’t stand to look at her after seeing the horrific things that she is capable of. But the truth is that Elend believes that Vin is truly amazing, he describes her as ‘a force, like thunder or wind‘. He believes that she couldn’t possibly love him anymore since he can’t even keep hold of his throne, especially since he wrote the very laws used to depose him. So they’re both tiptoeing round and avoiding each other, when they both really love each other more now than ever before. I just wanted to knock their heads together at this point!

The book ends in such a way that leaves it open to a lot of intrigue as to what will happen in book three. Vin has just unwittingly released something terrible on the empire, the very thing that she thought she was preventing. So what is this ‘deepness’, which seems to be able to change your thoughts and the written word? And can Elend keep the kingdom safe from this terror, and the Koloss armies that are still terrorising the outer dominances? Looks set to be a thrilling finale!

5/5

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