What happens when the story you thought would take three books to finish, finishes before you even reach the second book. It’s a nice surprise, and where I found myself when I jumped hurriedly in to Brandon Sanderson’s second of his Mistborn trilogy, The Well of Ascension.
And the story of book two is simple; what happens after you win?
The answer? More often than not, it seems, is that you lose. Several times, before maybe clawing back a minor victory at the very end only to realize that you’ve unleashed doom upon the world.
That might be a little specific, but that’s how I’d sum up The Well of Ascension. It makes good use of characters that have had a book to prepare themselves for main roles – both in terms of storytelling and in terms of their own characters growth – and continues a story that winds mythology and religion underneath a healthy dose of political intrigue and scheming.
I really admire an author who doesn’t hang around with a story, dragging out points like three armies besieging a city, and gets it over and done with in the first third of the book, leaving the second third to be a well played-out stalemate.
Sanderson could be accused of writing the story a little conveniently for his own sakes, ditching certain character traits or character memories so that the story will move forward according to the overall plan. But these are such minor occurrences that the overall story is left unscathed.
And Sanderson allows himself to be pulled in to the Tolkien method of storytelling – finishing well away from the climax of the story (even though this is only the second book). The last couple of chapters dragged, for me, and I found myself skimming – unconsciously – so that I could reach what I assumed was the next climax, only to be disappointed and having skipped large portions of a characters inner monologue.
The growth of Sanderson’s characters has to be admired. From a book that focused mainly on two and a half characters (Vin, Kelsier, and Elend) to a book that allows six characters of varying importance have their own perspective, Sanderson introduces us to the newcomers with practised ease; their input into the story not strictly necessary, but welcomed.
If you want a good series to read, then Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn trilogy definitely seems like a good bet. Two out of three books are spectacular, mixing the metaphysical with political, gripping action with heart wrenching characters, brilliant storytelling with smooth prose.
Review by Joshua S Hill
3 positive reader review(s) for The Well of Ascension
61 positive reader review(s) in total for the Mistborn series
Jonas from America
Beautiful book, well written and definitely worth your time.
Ricardo Abreu from Portugal
Brilliant! Read what you can from Sanderson, you won't be upset :)
Niall from newcastle
Literally couldn't put it down, amazing book.
9.6/10 from 4 reviews