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The Well of Ascension (Mistborn #2) by Brandon Sanderson Review: A strong sequel with inconsistent pacing

Read Time: 12 minutes
Published On: April 17, 2023
The Well of Ascension

The Well of Ascension is the beloved sequel to The Final Empire in Mistborn trilogy. Despite being a slow start it delivers on the climax.

About 'The Well of Ascension'

Author: Brandon Sanderson

Series: The Mistborn Saga #2

Publisher: Tor Books

Genre: Epic Fantasy, High Fantasy

Other works from the Author: The Stormlight Archive Series, Elantris, Warbreaker, Skyward Series

Page Number: 592 pages

Audible Listening Time: 28 hours and 56 mins

Goodreads Rating: 4.38/5

My Rating: 4/5

Plot - 4/5

The Final Empire, under the rule of the tyrannical Lord Ruler, has been overthrown. Kelsier, the leader of the crew who dared to defy the Lord Ruler, has fallen, leaving a void in the leadership of the empire. The responsibility of maintaining order in these tumultuous times has fallen upon Elend Venture, who now finds himself thrust into the role of ruling a fractured and riot-prone empire.

Despite the challenges that lie ahead, Vin, Elend, and the remaining members of Kelsier's crew are resolute in their determination to restore order to the empire. However, external forces threaten to bring about its collapse, adding to the already daunting task at hand. Vin, the Mistborn, and Elend, with his intellect and determination, along with the loyal crew left behind by Kelsier, must find a way to overcome these obstacles and bring stability back to the empire.

Yet, amidst the turmoil, Vin finds herself haunted by the last words of the Lord Ruler.

You don't know what I do for mankind. I was your god, even if you couldn't see it. By killing me, you have doomed yourselves

What could they mean? As she grapples with this new mystery, she and Elend must work together to navigate the treacherous waters of politics, power struggles, and external threats in order to restore order and create a better future for the people of the empire.

The fate of the world hangs in the balance as Vin grapples with the weight of Lord Ruler's foreboding last words. Despite the urgent need to stay by Elend's side and help him build trust among the people for his rule, Vin is haunted by the mystery of those ominous words.

As the empire teeters on the brink of chaos, Vin faces a crucial decision that will shape the destiny of all. Will she prioritize deciphering the meaning behind Lord Ruler's last words, or will she set aside her personal quest to ensure the success of Elend's rule and bring stability to the realm?

Characters - 5/5


In The Well of Ascension, Vin goes through some serious internal conflicts. She's got some tough choices to make, and she's really on her own with it all. Vin is hands down one of the strongest characters in the Mistborn Trilogy. She's definitely in my top 5 favourite characters in the entire Cosmere universe!

And speaking of Vin's relationships, her dynamic with Elend is a total rollercoaster. They really go through the test of endurance together, and it's fascinating to see how their relationship evolves throughout The Well of Ascension. It's totally one of my favourite things about the story.

Oh, and let's not forget about Vin's scenes with Zane! Those moments are key to the plot, and I loved every single one of them. They really add depth to Vin's character and keep you hooked to see what happens next.


Elend's character arc in The Well of Ascension was seriously impressive. He goes through some real battles with his own principles and what he needs to do to secure the empire. It was so fascinating to read how he navigates through all of that. I absolutely loved his character, and his chapters were the most politically intriguing, delving deep into the world-building. But you know what? Even with all that, Elend's character still manages to shine the brightest.

His struggles, his growth, and his choices are just so captivating. It's amazing to see how he evolves throughout the book and how he grapples with the weight of his decisions. Elend's character is truly one of the highlights of the story, and I couldn't get enough of his chapters.


OreSeur is the real star of "The Well of Ascension." His conversations with Vin are hands down my favourite parts of the book. The way he interacts with her and the insights he brings to the story is mind-blowing. I couldn't get enough of his character!

In fact, I'd even go as far as to say that OreSeur is the most fascinating character in the entire Mistborn trilogy so far. His abilities as a Kandra and his unique perspective on things are just so intriguing. I'm really hoping to see more of him in future books and learn even more about the mysterious Kandra society.

Worldbuilding - 4/5

The Well of Ascension dives into the world of politics in the Mistborn Trilogy. Elend's chapters really shine a spotlight on the political system of The Final Empire and how it impacts the lives of millions. It's a constant tug-of-war between autocracy and democracy, and it adds a whole new layer of intrigue to the story.

Now, I'll be honest, if you're not a fan of political drama, this book might not be your cup of tea. It's got its fair share of political intrigue, and it's not shy about exploring the complexities of the political system in this world. But if you're like me and enjoy politically charged books, then you're in for a treat! Sanderson does a fantastic job of weaving political elements into the story, and it adds a whole new dimension to the plot.

Magic System - 5/5

In The Final Empire, we got a taste of Allomancy and Feruchemy. But in The Well of Ascension, we really get to delve deeper into the intricacies of these magic systems. It's fascinating how Brandon Sanderson explores the dynamics of these powers with other intelligent species on Scadriel. We may see less action involving the magic system, but we definitely gain a deeper understanding of its limitations and how it functions.

Honestly, the magic system in the Mistborn Trilogy is one of the main reasons I got hooked on these books. It's so unique and imaginative! The way it's explained and integrated into the plot is just seamless. It adds a whole new layer of excitement and intrigue to the story, and I couldn't get enough of it.

Pacing - 2/5

The first half of The Well of Ascension can feel like it's dragging a lot. I even put it down at around the 30% mark because of the slow pace. But, once you push past that, things really start to pick up.

The last 40% of the book is where the action and climax really take off, and it's fast-paced to the point where I found myself needing to reread paragraphs just to keep up with what's happening. It was a bit overwhelming, but it was also incredibly exciting and intense.

While the inconsistent pacing is a bit of a gripe, I have to say that the payoff in the latter half of the book is totally worth it. It's a thrilling ride once it gets going, and it's packed with action that'll have you on the edge of your seat.

I am glad that I pushed through the slower parts because the epic finale left me wanting more of this world.
Mistborn - The Well of Ascension by Gediminas Skyrius

Enjoyment - 3/5

Here's the thing about "The Well of Ascension" - I found it a bit confusing in terms of my enjoyment. The first half didn't really click with me, and I struggled to push through it. But man, oh man, the latter half was a whole different story. I absolutely loved it! It left a lasting impression, and I still find myself thinking about it. So, despite my mixed feelings, I guess The Well of Ascension made a positive mark on my memory.

Final Verdict - 4/5

The Well of Ascension is a good sequel to The Final Empire. The plot takes its time to build up, but it leads to an incredible climax. If you've read other Cosmere books, you might find the story somewhat predictable, but if this is your first taste of Brandon Sanderson's work, get ready for some mind-bending plot twists and epic world-building!

The characters in The Well of Ascension are simply amazing. Each and every one of them has a special place in my heart. While Kelsier's crew takes a bit of a backseat in this instalment, the main characters like Vin, Elend, Sazed, and OreSeur are absolutely fantastic. And let me tell you, Tindwyl as the supporting character, is an absolute standout.

Now, I gotta be real with you. The world-building and the magic system can sometimes slow down the pacing of the book. It's a necessary buildup for the epic climax and the larger story Sanderson is weaving, but I'll admit, there were times when it felt a bit slow for my liking. But you know what? The impact of the climax made up for it all. It hit me hard and made me forgive the slower parts of the book.

Overall, I really enjoyed The Well of Ascension, and I highly recommend it to all you fantasy lovers out there who are into political intrigue, impressive world-building, and unforgettable characters. It's a ride worth taking.
Mistborn - The Well of Ascension By K. Fedorco

Favourite Quotes

“Vin isn't…like other women." Tindwyl raised an eyebrow, her voice softening slightly. "I think that the more women you come to know, Your Majesty, the more you'll find that statement applies to all of them.”

“It's easy to believe in something when you win all the time...The losses are what define a man's faith.”

“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.”

“Books have great value, actions have greater value.”

“You must love him enough to trust his wishes, even if you disagree with them. You must respect him - no matter how wrong you think he may be, no matter how poor you think his decisions, you must respect his desire to make them. Even if one of them includes loving you.”

“There are two ways to stay safe, Reen's voice whispered to her. Either be so quiet and harmless that people ignore you, or be so dangerous that they're terrified of you.”

“Other men are strong like bricks - firm, unyielding, but if you pound on them long enough, they crack. You... you're strong like the wind. Always there, so willing to bend, but never apologetic for the times when you must be firm.”

“Good men can make terrible kings,' Tindwyl noted. 'But bad men cannot make good kings.' Sazed said. 'It is better to start with a good man and work on the rest, I think.”

“People who underestimated you were easier to manipulate.”

“If people can't tell when I'm being an idiot and when I'm being a genius, perhaps they'll assume my blunders are brilliant political maneuvers.”

“Honesty does not make a man less of a tyrant.”

“Unapplied knowledge benefited no one.”

“A leader is often judged by how well he bears responsibility. As king, everything that happens in your kingdom - regardless of who commits the act -is your fault.”

“Love must be allowed to flow both ways—if it is not, then it is not truly love, I think.”

“When you can’t have both freedom and safety, boy, which do you choose?”

Amazon Blurb

"Description contains spoilers for the previous book in the series"

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.

Buy 'The Well of Ascension'

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