Review: The Well of Ascension


This is the second book in the Mistborn Trilogy by Brandon Sanderson, and came out in 2007.

This book is just as engaging as it’s predecessor, and for different reasons.

This book gives us a deeper look at the world created by Brandon Sanderson, and we learn more and more of the worlds (true) history. And I will say it again, it’s am amazing world.

The story of this book starts after the ruler of the evil empire has been vanquished (in rather unusual fashion) by a group of rebels. The rebels are now left in control of the capital city of the greatest empire that world has ever seen, and have no idea what to do with it. Civil war and unrest is causing the empire to collapse, and to make matters worse, a far far greater threat than the one they just vanquished is lurking on the horizon.

The first problem they face is just what happens after the dark lord is vanquished in fantasyland. Complete and utter chaos. Something most writers conveniently skip over. And the real world example from the collapse of Soviet Russia and the soviet bloc seems say that Sanderson has a point. The Final Empire might have been an evil institution, but it did give the nation stability and ensure law and order. Suddenly removing it creates chaos. Something none of the rebels planned for. We also get the impression that none of these rebels are actually suited for ruling a nation, despite their good intentions. That just wanting to do the right thing and fight evil doesn’t automagically qualify you to be a ruler. The rebels are now suddenly looking at civil war and the collapse of social order. Making the situation worse is the ruler they installed in the capital, an honorable man who wants justice and equality and all the good stuff, but has the political acumen of a log. He was just about ready to take the same road as Robb Stark when he was (sort of) set straight.

And of course you can’t forget the sudden elevation of some of them to (fake) religious prominence.

If the last book had it’s roots in a heist movie, this one is all about the con game. And the con is all that keeps the empire from collapse.

Also on a side note, after reading this book I have a lot more respect for Kelsier as a planner and leader. He carefully planned his rebellion/heist step by step and kept his crew together. Even at the worst moment of the previous book he had the situation in hand. Compared to him, the main characters of this book are bumbling in the dark.

That said, the writing is just as engaging as the previous book’s, the plot just as fast, the intrigue and political kung-fu even more engaging. And that’s without mentioning the action scenes. They are superbly written and I loved imagining them in my head (I imagined it sort of like a matrix fighting montage).

I highly recommend this book for all readers of fantasy. Two thumbs up. This is a great book.

Sadly you need to have read the first book to follow the story of this one.



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