Erica (daydreamer)'s Reviews > The Well of Ascension

The Well of Ascension by Brandon Sanderson
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Warning: this review is long, and may contain spoilers of Mistborn. If you don’t read it, let me tell you the gist of my rambling praise. Read this book. Now. Or forever regret your decision. And now, for my stark love of this awesomely stupendous book.

This book is utterly brilliant. Brilliant says I! I bow down before Sanderson for his startling ingenious mind. I cower before him. I envy him, I admire him. He is my ultimate role model in how to write a novel that will stand out for its uniqueness and awesomeness, and rises eons beyond any other novel that attempts and fails what Sanderson has truly conquered. If there were gods in the world of literature he would be one. I honestly can’t even fathom someone having the kind of mind that can create such a complex world with every single tiny detail attended to and worked into the plot with preciseness and care, no stone left unturned. If you read this book and didn’t rate it a glowing five stars, you are obviously very delusional or very very stupid… I’m just kidding. Really. I don’t expect everyone who reads this book to love it the way I do. I’m really not kidding. I will hunt you down and force you to love with it with my awesome Allomantic power of Soothing!

At the end of Mistborn: The Final Empire, the tyrant Lord Ruler was slain. His reign ended, the years of planning of overthrowing him, overcoming and sometimes failing many obstacles finally paid off and the characters succeeded. The people were free. With this death, you might think the aftermath to be one of rejoicing and happiness and the building up of a new glorious kingdom of equality and joy. But in a downtrodden world which had seen 1000 years of distress and slavery under the rule of a god who showed no mercy, a world with no hope, how can a happy world be expected, be achieved? The ruler of implementing such misery is destroyed, but his world is not, his effect on the people, his legacy, it’s still there. They may have achieved the impossible in killing him, but the real work is only beginning. It would take a tremendous amount of effort and pain to undo what has been rooted into the world and people’s lives. And try they do. The characters fight with everything they have, rising above themselves to secure even a morsel of peace.

This book starts with Elend, now king of Luthadel, looking out over the wall surrounding the city as an army approaches. Soon, another army comes, and so begins the fight for Luthadel. This book is not so action packed as it is about political intrigue. If focuses on the armies, on how to defeat them, how to keep King Elend on the throne. And I was enthralled with it all, with the intellectualness of the characters, of their thoughts and decisions. But interplaying with this is of course Allomancy and mistborns. And then underlying that is an ancient old prophecy, that may, in the end, be their downfall. There were many unanswered questions in Mistborn upon realizing who the Lord Ruler really was, and what happened when the Hero of the Ages failed in acquiring the power of the Well of Ascension and using it to defeat the deepness resulting in the Final Empire with the Lord Ruler ruling. In this novel, the answers are explored in a beautiful, incredible unfolding, that leaves more questions, which undoubtedly are finally completely answered in the next installment and which I am desperate to know!

The Awesome World Building
What makes this novel stand out is its world building. It’s layered with perfection and so much depth. Sanderson has done more than just create a fantastical world, he’s built a whole history of a people and an empire, a society, a way that people live, where they have religion and legends and wars, and several different races of people and creatures. And he probably has much more that he planned out, that isn’t in the story, because it’s not necessary for the reader to know, but is necessary for the author to know to truly understand his world, and be able to weave a tale that makes sense and has no hitches in its telling. What’s sad in the literary world (*cough-ya authors-cough*) is that people don’t take care in plotting out their world. They have an idea and they run with it before they have a chance to sit down and find all the elements that is needed to mold their story into something worth reading and writing. Not so here. Sanderson didn’t just whip out this story once he had the idea. It took years. And, correct me if I’m wrong, I believe he actually had written two separate books, both containing some elements from what is now the Mistborn trilogy. Then he wove those two stories together and came up with this brilliance. That doesn’t just happen in a couple years. I appreciate his hard work. It certainly paid off.

The Amazing Characters
The world building may have cemented the books worthiness in the epic fantasy genre, but it was the characters that were the heart of the story, the force that drove it forward and commanded your full attention. Not a single character, main or minor, was two dimensional. Everyone had so much depth and emotion swirling inside them that they were tangible people. They were real, they breathed life into the pages, making this more than just a fun story to lose yourself in. We see everyone’s insecurities, their strengths, we feel their love and shame and unworthiness and pain. I cried. I cried when certain people died near the end, and feeling the other characters sadness. I was shocked, when the spy’s identity came out. (though that person ran through my head with all the other potential suspects I briefly thought of, I never really considered it would be that person). I was won over with Vin’s and Elend’s love. This novel toyed with my emotions, it broke my heart, made me smile, and made me so so anxious to know the outcome. It. blew. My. Mind.

I cannot fully express the love I have for Vin. She is my hero. She is the role model for females who wish to rise above their terrible pasts and become a strong, confident, kick-butt woman that people everywhere will look up to with respect and awe. She’s ridiculous. She has so much power, and she doesn’t shy away from doing the gritty work and killing people. But she has so many layers. Outside she’s viewed as this savior, the heir of the Survivor, THE mistborn. But to those who know her, they see the doubts and fears she has. And only to herself she sees who she thinks she really is that no one could understand. She thinks herself unworthy of Elend. How could he possibly love a killing machine like her? He with his stalwartness in believing the good of people, of being kind even to those who betray him or belittle him. And then there’s Vin, who kills people who so much as looks at Elend wrong. And this starts to eat at her. Who is she? Is she a weapon used at Elend’s disposal? Can she ever be her own person, not having to be called upon when danger arrives and be the one to defend everyone? But in the end, she realizes that her being the protector, the knife, isn’t from her being forced or expected, it’s because she needs to protect those she loves, because she wants to.

Elend. Oh Elend. He is my guy. He is sweet and caring, not foolhardy or rude. He has so much belief in himself and his people that they will do what is best, even if that means taking him from the throne. But that does not mean that he stops fighting, because he never does. He has become so much more than the book learned, disheveled young noblemen who had ideas for change, but never had a chance to implement them. I loved seeing his slow transformation into a man who is stronger, more sure of himself, one who stands true to his standards and will not let other people sway his beliefs, one who now takes command and demands people obey him (not in a tyrant way, but in the way that he is king, and when one is king, one must take charge and be firm and not let people tell you no if he ever hopes to build up a great, unified kingdom). And the next book only promises even greater things form him, and I can’t wait to see where Sanderson takes us in Elend’s journey of discovering who he is.

And then there’s Sazed. Dear Sazed. My heart broke for you. For your tremendous pain and shattered hopes and beliefs. You who was the man of faith, who helped people find a reason to believe, to have hope after Kelsier who was the hope was gone. You fought bravely, you stayed true to your ideals, allowed yourself to love. And then everything you once knew to be true was crushed, crushed along with the one you loved. What will become of you? Pray, don’t let this utterly destroy you with no chance of redemption. Stay strong. Find your faith again. Please don't become a shell of the great man you were.

The End
Now let me tell you one thing that was absolutely win in this book. Most of the book is the build up for the inevitable battle over Luthadel. It’s a slow one, yes, but it doesn’t kill any of the intrigue or other action happening. But when the battle comes, it really comes. There is no downplaying it, or staying on the sidelines. Sanderson takes you straight into the heart of the battle, watching as men are slaughtered, as endeared characters die, as Sazed fights! That was so awesome, seeing him in that way! Sanderson doesn’t shy away from what happens in battle, even when the people you may care about have to die. And Vin was her usual ridiculously fantastic mistborn self. And then the end, THE END! Ah, my heart was nearly ripped out of my chest! (even though, of course that couldn’t actually happen, duhhh. Who’s still alive and kicking in the next book, hmm?) But still, seeing Elend and Vin’s pain and their ultimate decision for what they knew had to happen, no matter how much they didn’t want what would be the outcome broke my heart. Ah, but you see, it all worked out. Sort of. She may have unleashed something terrible, but they didn’t die!

Annnnd this review is too long. Why does that always happen with the books I furiously love? Alright, just some little other things I liked.

The Kandras. The spy, and the suspicion of who it could be, and who it actually was.

The Koloss. And Vin’s sudden brilliant realization in battle of what she can do to them.

TenSoon. So, he may be bad..ish. But he showed good inside him, didn’t he? He has the potential to turn his ways, and I really hope we see more of him. And I just loved his whole character even though we didn’t know who he really was.

Tindwyl, and hers and Sazed’s relationship.

Zane. Even though he’s so so bad.

The part when Elend is in the Koloss camp and kills a Koloss and his ridiculous explanation for doing it. That got me laughing.

Clubs. Spook. Breeze. Pretty much every character.

Ah heck, I LOVED EVERYTHING! AND I CAN’T PUT DOWN EVERYTHING I LOVED BECAUSE I WOULD BE QUOTING THE WHOLE DANG BOOK! Which obviously means that you have to read the book to fully understand my love and discover your own love for it. But seriously, this is one those books (series) that will stand the test of time, that will forever be loved, and Brandon Sanderson will always be revered for his brilliant works of art. Yes indeed.
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Reading Progress

11/30/2011 page 670
84.0% "OH YES SAZED! You, are THE Terrisman!"
11/30/2011 page 698
88.0% "Oh. Oh! Was not expecting something like this, but, well, this is going to get good (as if it isn't already)"
11/30/2011 page 704
88.0% "Oh Sazed, my heart cries for you. Sanderson, curse you for writing such painful emotion in your characters and making me cry."
11/30/2011 page 706
89.0% "Vin, you are ridiculously fantastic."

Comments (showing 1-6 of 6) (6 new)

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message 1: by joy (new) - rated it 3 stars

joy *the clean-reader extraordinaire* i sooo enjoyed this series. sanderson is amazing.

message 2: by Wendy Darling (new)

Wendy Darling Wow, 5 stars Erica!

Erica (daydreamer) Oh yes, I would give it ten stars if I could.

Anila I wish you the best of luck with your review. This is really a hard one.

Anila This review is not too long! It is just the right length. And so, so true.

Erica (daydreamer) Thank you Anila! And you're right. A book as long as this one and so full of awesome deserves more than this much praise.

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