I first read The Well of Ascension by Brandon Sanderson (the second book in the Mistborn trilogy) in January 2016. This review, however, was written when I reread it in November 2017, and was originally posted on my Goodreads account. Some minor edits have been made to the content of this review.
Now THIS is how you write a sequel.
At the end of book 1, you have certain expectations for what is to come next. I can almost guarantee this book will surprise you. The plot is intense, and builds on what we already know about the world and the characters in it. We get a few new characters, some old minor characters get more spotlight, and we learn more about the magic.
The character development is, again, excellent. Vin, Elend, Sazed, and several others all grow and change. Hand in hand with the character development, however, is the change taking place in the land itself. The discussions of philosophy and government are brilliantly executed. Sanderson acts as though Luthadel is a real place, and the occurrences that happen there feel that way as well. He clearly understands human nature, and utilizes that knowledge to great effect here. I especially adored the dynamics between Tindwyl and Elend, between Elend, Vin, and Sazed, and between Vin and OreSeur.
There is a bit of a love triangle in this one, which is my least favorite dramatic device. However, this one I will actually defend, which is a major win for Sanderson. The Vin/Elend/Zane business bears little resemblance to other examples of love triangles, but I can’t go into why without spoilers. So I’ll just say Sanderson executes this particular subplot well, and the characters come out having grown and learned about themselves and each other.
Allomancy continues to be amazing, but Feruchemy gets its time to shine too. And it is intriguing in its own right, and as usual Sanderson interweaves us learning about it with actual plot, ensuring the technical bits are not only interesting but have a specific purpose for the story.
Basically, this book is a fantastic story that builds on the foundation laid down by the first installment, and you need to read it.
Overall rating: 9/10