Thursday, 19 November 2009

CBR Book 5: "The Well of Ascension" by Brandon Sanderson

Publisher: Tor Fantasy
Page count: 783 pages
Date begun: November 14th, 2009
Date finished: November 19th, 2009

WARNING! THIS REVIEW WILL CONTAIN SPOILERS FOR MISTBORN - THE FIRST BOOK IN THIS TRILOGY!!

Kelsier, "the Survivor of Hathsin" and Vin, both Mistborn, set out, with a band of thieves and conmen to overthrow the tyrannical Lord Ruler and free the Final Empire. They suceeded, but there was a cost. Kelsier sacrificed himself, and is now worshipped as a God in a slowly emerging new religion. Elend Venture rules Luthadel, the capital city, but there are two armies camped outside the city walls, one led by his own father - and a third army is on the way.

Vin and the rest of Kelsier's old gang are not sure what they are supposed to do now, as none of them expected to succeed, and establishing a democracy where there was previously a thousand-year long dictatorship is easier said than done. Especially with large hostile forces on one's doorstep. Vin is not entirely comfortable with being a ruthless weapon these armies can be threatened with, and the appearence in Luthadel of another Mistborn makes her more insecure. The mists have also started becoming more sinister, actually appearing in the daytime, and sometimes apparently killing people. Could it be that the mists are actually the legendary Deepness returning? Is Vin the prophesied Hero of Ages, and does she, her lover and her friends have more to worry about than impending warfare?

The second book in Sanderson's Mistborn trilogy fleshes out some of the characters from the first book more. Breeze and Ham, not to mention Elend, are explored in greater detail. The premise of the book: what happens when the rebels actually win, and defeat the Dark Lord? What happens afterwards? is an interesting one, but I also found the plot a lot more slow and plodding in this book. Both Vin and Elend spend a lot of the book being insecure and unsure of themselves and their feelings, and after the third or fourth time they kept agonizing over how wrong they were for each other, not to mention uncomfortable in their roles as King of Luthadel or worshipped Mistborn, it got a bit tiresome. For a very long time, while he is building up tension, nothing much actually happens, and I suspect Sanderson might have produced a better book if he'd cut the book by a hundred pages or so.

The book also explores some interesting political and religious ideas, but it felt like a lot of Sanderson's main messages got a bit dragged down by the long narrative. Still, the ending of the book is not bad at all, and makes me very curious about the conclusion of the trilogy.

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