The Well of Ascension by Brandon Sanderson – Book Review

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“A man can only lead when others accept him as their leader, and he has only as much authority as his subjects give to him. All of the brilliant ideas in the world cannot save your kingdom if no one will listen to them.”

Rating: 4/5

Synopsis: The Lord Ruler has been defeated, and Vin’s victory has made her the most powerful Mistborn in the land. It is up to her and Elend, now King, and the man Vin loves, to build a new and better society. But forces stretch far out of their control when three armies surround Luthadel, poised to attack. Victory seems impossible, but the ancient legend of the Well of Ascension appears to offer some hope – if it can be found, and if it is even real…


This book is possibly one of the hardest books to rate and review that I have ever read. On one hand: it was very long, took me nearly ten weeks to read, and was a book I had to take a lot of breaks from to get through. On the other hand: it was probably the most mind-blowing, plot-twisty, mystery-filled, intriguing sequel I have ever read!

If you have read and enjoyed The Final Empire, definitely read this book. It is much slower, more political and more carefully built-up than its predecessor, but it still captures the brilliance and genius of the world and characters of the first book. If anything, it is better.

Vin is one of my favourite female characters to read. She is so tough, insightful and to-the-point. and yet she is so fearful, worried, and self-doubting too. Sanderson crafts such an interesting and almost-relatable character in her. The rest of the remaining cast from the first book return too, now advising and counselling Elend. As I said in my review for The Final Empire, all of the characters in this book are so well defined, have distinct and individual personalities, and all play equally important roles in the progression of the story. Even Elend (who I occasionally wanted to kick into action at times) was essential in his role as the honest, humble, meek King. I really felt a connection with him in this book, that I didn’t in the first. This is one of the very few series where I fully appreciate every single character in their own right, which is something that I find quite rare in fantasy books with such large casts.

The pacing of this story is slow. There is a lot of talking and planning. Lots of political meetings and discussion of government theory. As someone who loves politics, this was a very interesting and engrossing part of the book. However, it did drastically slow the pacing of the story down. It took a long time for the story to really begin, and I do have to admit to skim-reading some of the description and slightly long-winded details. But throughout the book there are so many sub-plots that keep you hooked, that the length of the book is not so incredibly daunting and boring. And when the action does begin… I’ll just say, the last fifty or so pages of this book completely blew my mind. Reading the nearly-800 pages of this book were worth it just for those final scenes!

As the title suggests, this book focuses on the Well of Ascension in the mythology of the Hero of Ages. While the first book focused more on The Lord Ruler himself, this book focuses on the legend and belief. And there are so many mysteries, plot-twists and mind-blowing revelations! All I can say, is that if you enjoyed The Final Empire, PLEASE try The Well of Ascension. And don’t let the initial slowness of the plot put you off. It’s a book you have to persevere with, but is so rewarding once finished.

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