Thursday, December 2, 2010

Epic Review - The Well of Ascension (Mistborn Trilogy, Book 2) by Brandon Sanderson (4.5/5 stars)

The Well of Ascension [WELL OF ASCENSION -OS] [Mass Market Paperback]Reading level: Adult/Young Adult
Genre: Epic Fantasy
Size: 816 pages
Publisher: Tor Fantasy
Release Date: June 3, 2008
ISBN-13: 978-0765356130
Stand Alone or Series: 2nd book in Mistborn Trilogy
Source: Swapped through
Rating: 4.5/5 stars

I have read a number of books by Sanderson and loved them all.  I loved Warbreaker, Elantris, and the first Mistborn book.  I was excited to read more about Vin and Elend, and find out about the bigger disasters that happened after they took over the city.  This was a great book and a great addition to the series.

This book starts shortly after Mistborn ended.  Vin is spending time trying to keep Elend safe from assassins and Elend is trying to set up government in the city of Luthadel.  Unfortunately two armies have camped outside of Luthadel and they both want Luthadel for its Atium.  Elend is trying to figure out how to stave off envasion when he finds out about the threat of a third armed force.  Vin is pushing herself trying to guard the city full time when she runs into another mysterious Mistborn, to add to the mystery she thinks things are changing with the Mists and that Luthadel may be facing a danger much bigger than any invading armies.

This was a really wonderful book.  Sanderson has such a way with characters; they are all so lovable and human.  He balances out politics, action, and characterization so well.  I was really attached to the characters in this book...and there are a lot of them.  I never felt like it was hard to keep them all straight and I never found the magic system and politics too confusing.  It takes a great writer to craft a story this complex and still make it easy for the reader to follow.

This book was politics heavy, especially for the first two-thirds.  I am not a big fan of complex prolonged politics, so I didn't like this book quite as much as the first one.  That being said it is a testament to Sanderson's skill that I was still completely engaged in this story despite the fact that the first part focused almost solely on the politics surrounding Luthandel.  The end of the book races by twice as fast as the first part and is packed with battle and action.

This book touches on a lot of deep issues as well such as good vs evil, democracy vs. dictatorship, morality and ethics.  These are all well balanced with the other elements of the book.  Sanderson makes epic fantasy more personable and I love the fact that women play large roles in his books.  When I was younger I always got sick of epic fantasies that either ignored women or featured them in weak, less desirable roles.  This book is about Elend and Vin in equal parts and it is wonderful to see that.

We learn a lot more about the history of some of the different races and also a lot more about Allomancy.  The story ends in a great spot, tying up many of the issues presented early on while starting a big story for the third book.

Overall an absolutely excellent book.  Sanderson is just such a fabulous writer; his writing is complex, easy to read, engaging, creative and absolutely engrossing.  I am very excited to read the final book in the trilogy, The Hero of Ages, to see how it all plays out.  If you are a fan of epic fantasy this book is for you.

This book goes towards the following reading challenge:
- The 100+ Book Reading Challenge
The Well of Ascension [WELL OF ASCENSION -OS] [Mass Market Paperback] 

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