The Well of Ascension
This page is about the second book in the Mistborn Trilogy. If you haven’t read the first book, I suggest looking here first. The Well of Ascension, which I often refer to as Mistborn Two, was published in hardcover in August 2007.
Like all of my series, I wrote book one of Mistborn to stand on its own, yet lead into potential sequels. Unlike all previous series (which I wrote when I was trying to break into publishing) I actually got to write this sequel. It was the first time I tried to write a second novel, and it presented a number of challenges.
In book one, the characters overthrew the dark lord and seized the throne. It covered in one book what some series prefer to cover over the course of six or seven books. In a way, however, this was the book I wanted to write most when I started the series. Everyone has read the stories of the heroes overthrowing a tyrant—what I don’t think many people have read is the story of those same heroes trying to build and rule a kingdom following their great victory.
I think that rule—building something up, rather than tearing something down—is an even more difficult task than than overthrowing an enemy. We begin this book with Elend Venture on the throne, and Kelsier’s former crew forming his most trusted advisors and government officials. The city is under siege from Straff Venture, Elend’s father, a vicious tyrant. In one sense, the novel is about Elend, Vin, and the rest of the team struggling with politics and armies as they try not to lose control of the city.
In another sense, however, this book is about the characters struggling to decide who they are and what they want to be. It is a much more personal book than book one was, with a lot of time spent on Vin and Elend’s relationship, Sazed’s faith, and Elend’s struggles to be a king. It’s about what really happened a thousand years ago, when the Lord Ruler took the power at the Well of Ascension, and the truth behind the coming of the Deepness.
I tried very hard not to just make this a bridge from book one to book three. I wanted it to be its own book, with a distinct feel and plot all its own. I hope you find it enjoyable!
This entertaining read will especially please those who always wanted to know what happened after the good guys won.
The Well of Ascension is full of plot twists and surprises, leading to a cliffhanger ending.
Vin’s a beautifully realized protagonist whose struggles are wonderfully written and, as always, the worldbuilding is unusual and compelling.
Vin’s struggles with love and power inject the human element into Sanderson’s engaging epic.
Throughout the novel Sanderson does a good job of incorporating interesting aspects of the mist-magic into the otherwise realistic scenario, and of juggling the small-scale and large-scale scenes that must comprise an undertaking of this scope and magnitude. . . . most [readers] will be mesmerized by Sanderson’s balancing act.
Realms of Fantasy
Part of this one is a quest, but part of it is also an examination of what it might really be like to bring down an absolute ruler.
Fans of Terry Goodkind and Terry Brooks will find The Well of Ascension fulfilling, satisfying and incredibly exciting.
Sanderson is crafting an extremely well-thought out saga with Mistborn, one that looks to stand above the pack of his literary peers. The magic system is perfectly detailed, the world, though not completely revealed, has a great sense of natural logic to it, and the characters are a reflection of both. Reading both books so far has helped to remind me why I enjoy Fantasy, especially those stories told in a secondary world, so much.
For readers who always wanted to know what happened after the hero killed off the evil bad guys, this is an intricate story fill of tangles and twists, and plenty of intriguing characters.
[Sanderson’s] books are a lot different than I’ve come to expect from fantasy. What I like about Sanderson is that he can write novels where the plot just hums along, and still have some profound character development going on at the same time.
Builds to a heartstopping crescendo of a conclusion, setting the stage nicely for book three.