“The Well of Ascension” – How Can the Plot Grow Once the Empire Was Defeated?

Book Review: The Well of Ascension, A Mistborn Novel

                         By Brandon Sanderson

Spoiler Alert!

Screen shot 2014-03-13 at 7.13.13 PMThey 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.

Adult Point of View

Sanderson has put himself in an interesting position to write the second book, however, it is obvious he has a master plan from beginning to end. With the demise of the empire it would seem that the trilogy should end. The result is that the death of the Lord Ruler has left such a hole in the structure of society and the fabric that constructs their world that it seems everything is even worse than before. Trying to rebuild a nation after a war is never easy and this is the problem Elend and Vin face with the help of some of the former crew. Sanderson states on his website,

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. (brandonsanderson.com)

Many found this novel slower than the first, and I have to agree to a degree, but I still enjoyed it to gain a greater depth of characters and to have more pieces of the puzzle fit together. I am particularly interested in Sazed and loved the time devoted to him. I’m still thinking about Vin and Elend’s romance, though it does seem that they both need each other for different reasons. I’m not sure that I find it completely compelling. I am also very interested in the Kandra because they are so vastly different in structure and social reasoning than the humans. How does Sanderson’s brain come up with these quirky ideas? He is on my list of authors I would actually want to sit down with and chat for an afternoon even if there was no dessert.

I continue to be fascinated with the magic associated with the characters and am constantly guessing where it will go in relation to The Alloy of Law (which I read first, rather than the Mistborn). I also liked that more was revealed about the past when the Lord Ruler took the power at the Well of Ascension because it added to the theological depth of the world Sanderson created. The pull between good and evil becomes murky and our perception changes with the events as more knowledge is given to us.

My one word of caution is that the book is violent and fairly descriptive of the violence, particularly in the scenes using Hemalurgy.

4 out of 5 stars
4 star

– the Mother

Teen Point of View

I liked this book. I like the romance between Vin and Elend because they really trusted each other. They didn’t get into little tiffs over pointless issues and they didn’t get jealous. I liked how they would critically think through their problems rather than go off of their emotions. The characters weren’t reckless hotheads who never thought through things, and then would miraculously solve all their problems by fate.

I like the writing style because it is detailed, and it really engages you. Sanderson has a unique writing style and it is really good.

A solid 4.5 out of 5 stars
4 1:2 star

– the Teen

Book Review: The Hero of Ages; A Mistborn Novel

By Brandon Sanderson

Spoiler Alert!

Screen shot 2014-04-24 at 8.45.35 PM

Who is the Hero of Ages?

To end the Final Empire and restore freedom, Vin killed the Lord Ruler. But as a result, the Deepness—the lethal form of the ubiquitous mists—is back, along with increasingly heavy ashfalls and ever more powerful earthquakes. Humanity appears to be doomed.

Having escaped death at the climax of The Well of Ascension only by becoming a Mistborn himself, Emperor Elend Venture hopes to find clues left behind by the Lord Ruler that will allow him to save the world. Vin is consumed with guilt at having been tricked into releasing the mystic force known as Ruin from the Well. Ruin wants to end the world, and its near omniscience and ability to warp reality make stopping it seem impossible. She can’t even discuss it with Elend lest Ruin learn their plans!
(Courtesy of goodreads.com)

Adult Point of View

The amazing thing to me in this series is how well Sanderson has crafted his world and planned exactly where he was going to plant clues that are in the first novel and don’t get resolved until the third book. The surprise twists were plotted and not by chance. He has developed a system of magic, multiple theologies, and races, and a purpose for each of these things that tie together. It is such a vast, complex world I feel that I can’t really do it justice in a short review. Because I read Alloy of Law first I continually watched for clues in The Hero of Ages that would make a new series possible . As an example how does this world move to a new theology with multiple gods. I am fascinated that The Hero of Ages has a satisfying and logical ending, and then Sanderson makes a leap without explaining all of the details, such as a religion following Vin as a deified personage, to create something completely new.

Even though there are parts that are a bit slow or some wording that isn’t quite right I want to keep reading Sanderson’s books because of his creativity! I didn’t love the relationship of Vin and Elend through the majority of this novel. However, I loved Sazed and his personal growth. I also loved piecing together the connections between the koloss, kandra and inquisitors.  I also liked being left with the questions about the true motivation of the Lord Ruler and the choices he made over his 1000 year reign.

So, though the novel did wrap up the loose ends it left enough open to feel real. If every end is tied up it feels unnatural and unsatisfying. I look forward to reading more and immersing myself in his world. I will just note that the intensity of the violence increases in this installment, though the violence is also integral to the storyline.

4.25 out of 5 stars
4 star

– the Mother

Teen Point of View

I really liked how the two main characters, and couple, died in the end. It was extremely refreshing, not at all like the apocalyptic romances that seem to be coming out in abundance these days. It had a strong plot, that also ended strongly, which is an increasingly rare attribute seen in books today. It was unique and twisted at every corner. I love how at the end it was revealed that Ruin had been manipulating Vin through the earring her mother had given her. It was a stunning revelation that caught me off guard.

Awesome read!

4.5 out of 5 stars
4 1:2 star

– the Daughter


If you enjoyed this series try Cast of Stones, A (The Staff and the Sword) by Patrick W. Carr. I think you will love it!

About Tales Untangled

I am a mother of four children and have a passion for reading. I love sharing my treasury of books with my kids. I also do experiments in cooking which includes such things as Indian Tandoori Chicken slow-cooked in a tagine. I write stories and illustrate in ink.
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