Tuesday, July 15, 2008

The Well of Ascension by Brandon Sanderson

The Well of Ascension

The Well of Ascension
(Mistborn, Book 2)
by Brandon Sanderson

Mass Market Paperback: 781 pages
Publisher: TOR fantasy
First Released: 2007

Source: Bought from Amazon

Back Cover Blurb:
Evil has been defeated.
The war has just begun.

They did the impossible, deposing the godlike being whose brutal rule had lasted a thousand years. Now Vin, the street urchin who has grown into the most powerful Mistborn in the land, and Elend Venture, the idealistic young nobleman who loves her, must build a healthy new society in the ashes of an empire.

They have barely begun when three separate armies attack. As the siege tightens, an ancient legend seems to offer a glimmer of hope. But even if it really exists, no one knows where to find the Well of Ascension or what manner of power it bestows.

It may just be that killing the Lord Ruler the Lord Ruler was the easy part. Suviving the aftermath of his fall is going to be the real challenge.

This is a "mystery fantasy" where the main characters perceive their world in a certain way, but the more they learn, the more they realize they haven't understood the truth about their world. The world-building in this book is excellent as is the pacing.

The book lacks the suspense of the first book because of the expectations it raises in the reader. From the very beginning, it seems obvious that the real threat to everyone is the Deepness, not the armies, and that Vin needs to leave the city to find a way to defeat it. The struggle to keep the city seems like a waste of time because of this. Well, this bit of information may qualify as a spoiler but knowing it adds suspense to the first two-thirds of the book. Despite what the beginning seems to imply, it is vital that Vin and Elend keep control of the city. Enjoy.

The main characters' relationships don't feel as well developed as in the first book (with one exception). That made it pretty easy to figure out who was going to die in this book. Even Vin and Elend's romance seemed emotionally at a stand-still until they suddenly got married. There is plenty of kissing, but no sex outside of marriage and no explicit sex. There is a small amount of cursing. Overall, though, it was still an excellent book. I'd recommend this as "a good, clean fun" novel.

Excerpt: Chapter One

The army crept like a dark stain across the horizon.

King Elend Venture stood motionless upon the Luthadel city wall, looking out at the enemy troops. Around him, ash fell from the sky in fat, lazy flakes. It wasn't the burnt white ask that one saw in dead coals; this was a deeper, harsher black ash. The Ashmounts had been particularly active lately.

Elend felt the ash dust his face and clothing, but he ignored it. In the distance, the bloody red sun was close to setting. It backlit the army that had come to take Elend's kingdom from him.

"How many?" Elend asked quietly.

"Fifty thousand, we think," Ham said, leaning against the parapet, beefy arms folded on the stone. Like everything in the city, the wall had been stained black by countless years of ashfalls.

"Fifty thousand soldiers..." Elend said, trailing off. Despite heavy recruitment, Elend barely had twenty thousand men under his command--and they were peasants with less than a year of training. Maintaining even that small number was straining his resources. If they'd been able to find the Lord Ruler's atium, perhaps things would be different. As it was, Elend's rule was in serious danger of economic disaster.

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