Oh my goodness, where to even begin?
I literally just finished the final page of this novel, after investing hours a day for the past week into this book, this world Sanderson has given us. Time well spent. I haven't felt this kind of zeal for epic fantasy since the better installments of The Wheel Of Time.
Warning; the rest of this review will contain minor spoilers from the first Mistborn novel.
The majority of The Well Of Ascension focuses on political intrigue and espionage. It has been a year since Vin figured out the secrets behind the Lord Ruler's immortality and defeated him. The city of Luthadel has tentatively been rebuilt by the young Elend Venture, new king and idealist, and the old crew of thieves. Things are tentative indeed, as Elend's very own father, Straff Venture, is setting up an army outside of Luthadel to seize the city and Elend's crown. What's stopping him from going right for it? King Cett's simultaneous arrival. Both kings want Luthadel and the atium believed to be inside, and both kings have a relatively equal army force. Elend's own soldiers are far less numerous and experienced, but lucky for him, neither would-be King wants to risk weakening their forces by defeating Elend's, only to have the other army come in with their full might and take over.
Most of this novel takes place during this extended stand-off.
Now, I'm not a huge lover of politics in novels. Since it's a common theme in epic fantasy, however, I know enough about them to be able to appreciate it as long as there are other things to hold my attention. To be honest, The Well Of Ascension doesn't have as much else going on as I would have liked for most of its length. Luckily, the sheer capability of Sanderson's talent, his incredible characterization and hints of impending doom that doesn't have anything to do with kingdoms or armies kept me entertained even with all the politics.
But where this novel really and truly shines, like its predecessor, is the ending. I am in awe at Brandon Sanderson's ability to tie everything together with this incredibly powerful climactic end. Nothing seems forced. Nothing seems campy or done for the sake of convenience. And almost every epic fantasy cliche is turned on its head. After a plethora of Hero's Journey stories that are all essentially the same plotline just done in different settings, I can't express how refreshing this is.
Something I have to mention; Sazed. The Terris Keeper has somehow snuck his way up and become my favorite character. I'm very much a girl when it comes to favorite characters; I either love the romantic interest or the fierce female lead. Usually, the only exception will come from a witty, smart-ass character, but Sazed is none of these. He is just so heartbreakingly sincere, so dedicated to his cause. Some of the trials he had to endure in this one brought tears to my eyes. I can't wait to see what Brandon Sanderson does for - or to - him in The Hero Of Ages.
The Well Of Ascension by Brandon Sanderson - 4 out of 5 stars. And it probably deserves all 5.