The impossible has been accomplished. The Lord Ruler — the man who claimed to be god incarnate and brutally ruled the world for a thousand years — has been vanquished. But Kelsier, the hero who masterminded that triumph, is dead too, and now the awesome task of building a new world has been left to his young protégé, Vin, the former street urchin who is now the most powerful Mistborn in the land, and to the idealistic young nobleman she loves.
As Kelsier’s protégé and slayer of the Lord Ruler she is now venerated by a budding new religion, a distinction that makes her intensely uncomfortable. Even more worrying, the mists have begun behaving strangely since the Lord Ruler died, and seem to harbor a strange vaporous entity that haunts her.
Stopping assassins may keep Vin’s Mistborn skills sharp, but it’s the least of her problems. Luthadel, the largest city of the former empire, doesn’t run itself, and Vin and the other members of Kelsier’s crew, who lead the revolution, must learn a whole new set of practical and political skills to help. It certainly won’t get easier with three armies – one of them composed of ferocious giants – now vying to conquer the city, and no sign of the Lord Ruler’s hidden cache of atium, the rarest and most powerful allomantic metal.
As the siege of Luthadel 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.
“Good men don’t become legends,” he said quietly.
“Good men don’t need to become legends.” She opened her eyes, looking up at him. “They just do what’s right anyway.”
This book was amazing from beginning to end. The Well of Ascension starts up about a year after the events of The Final Empire, and the world has already changed. Our characters were changed by the events a year prior, they’re not the same people, but mostly for the better. You start the book thinking the end will be one thing, and you keep believing that, right up to the point where it takes you in a completely different direction, leaving you stunned.
The Well of Ascension is different in a lot of ways than The Final Empire. The first book of Mistborn focused more on the court, the magic, and the world. Well of Ascension focused on the characters. This book is almost entirely character-driven. We learn more about the people this series focuses on, than the world. I absolutely loved it. These characters are trying to find themselves, find who they are as people now that the world has changed. They want to better the world, but the world is so dark and dreary, and neither you nor they have any clue where to even start. They just know they have to last the coming winter.
My favourite character of the book, Tindwyl, exemplifies this fact so much. She comes in like a hurricane to change Elend into the person he wants to be, who he needs to be. She single-handedly fixed all of the problems I had with him as a character. Vin becomes even more amazing in this book. Unsure of herself, but desperate to protect those she loves, and their interests. The romance between Elend and Vin also changes from “well, that was a bit weird”, to “that is so damn good I want to snuggle them both and love them and make them have many babies together”. Sazed is a fucking hero. He was already good, but in this he lets his true nature fly and it is great. OreSeur is super interesting, and it is related to the mists, and holy shit you are not expecting to come out liking this character at the end, but you do! I really liked Zane at first, and I still do, but my feelings are changed and I’m conflicted, but he is still an amazing character.
The world-building is starting to change from where it was in the Final Empire, too. Vin manages to work with Allomancy a bit, to find new things, a new edge. Atium is basically non-existent due to scarcity. Plus, the mists are changing. They’re becoming frightening. They’re lasting into the day time, and they’ve become dangerous. We learn more about the past, about what happened to the world. But, it is never enough, you are left just wanting more and more information. The biggest stress I have from this book involves what happened in the past, trying to reconcile the way it should be with the way it is, as well as looking towards the future and what has to happen to get there again.
The prelude to war that is the coming of the three armies against the new city forces is very interesting, as well. You never quite know what is going to come of any of it. The layers upon layers of what could happen between any of the factions kept me entertained the whole time. With it, they bring new horrors to fight, a new Mistborn that is possibly capable of defeating Vin, family drama, and a most hilarious scene involving Breeze.
The best part of this book, by far, was the story being told in the beginning of every chapter. It is the story of the person who convinced the world that the guy who was going to become the Hero of Ages was indeed him. It isn’t actually a long story. Yet, it repeats. And repeats. Over and over again. You know something is wrong. It has to be wrong. Something is wrong, but you can’t figure it out. What is it? What is it?. WHAT IS IT. Well, you find out what it is, and it isn’t what you expect it could even possibly be. Those beginning passages set up the end so damn beautifully.
I finished this book stressed out of my mind. I love it, but it took hours to calm down. I was ready to start the last, but also dreading it because “oh god what more can happen??”. The ending is not what you are hoping for, it is not ideal, it is absolutely terrifying. It was amazing.