Published by Hachette UK on March 30, 2010
Genres: Action & Adventure, Fantasy, Fiction
The original Mistborn trilogy has earned a spot in my favorite fantasy series of all time. The second and third entries in the series continue to expand Brandon Sanderson’s brilliant world. These two books contain loveable characters, twists upon twists, heartbreaking losses, and a highly satisfying ending. Be warned this review has spoilers for the first Mistborn book, The Final Empire. Feel free to check out my spoiler free review of The Final Empire here.
The Well of Ascension has less action compared to The Final Empire, which was essentially a heist story. The sequel digs into the politics of the world. The Final Empire ended with Vin killing the Lord Ruler. Elend now takes control of Luthadel, the capital of The Final Empire. Elend finds himself torn between building a utopic government and doing whatever is necessary to keep control over Luthadel. Multiple factions, one led by his own father, place a siege on Luthadel. They are hoping to overthrow Elend to secure the valuable store of atrium that is rumored to be hidden there. In the meantime, Vin starts hearing mysterious thumping, that only she can detect, and a rival Mistborn is stalking her at night. The Well of Ascension also expands the world of the kandra, introducing an excellent character. And Sazed, (my favorite!) gets a love interest. The second novel concludes with an excellent trope-busting twist. After that ending I was scrambling to find a copy of The Hero of Ages as soon as possible.
I love when fantasy books get political. Fantasy authors, please do not gloss over why leaders make their decisions. I really enjoy the thought process behind political maneuvers, which Sanderson delivers in The Well of Ascension. Once Elend takes on the leadership position, he becomes more likeable. Elend certainly makes mistakes as a leader, even if his intensions are well-meaning. But Elend quickly learns from these mistakes, all while trying to uphold a fair and just government. Sanderson somehow got me to root for a straight male protagonist, which is rare for me in fantasy. And I cannot hype the twist at the end of The Well of Ascension enough! This is my favorite twist of the whole trilogy. Sanderson manages to offer an unexpected new take on the “chosen one” trope.
I will not say too much about the plot of The Hero of Ages, to avoid spoiling events in The Well of Ascension. Every character that survives the first two books gets their time to shine in the final installment. Especially one previously minor character. The ending is spectacular. The conclusion is epic, brutal, and beautifully wraps up the trilogy.
For me, The Hero of Ages, is the weakest entry in the trilogy, but the ending is everything! Sanderson is not afraid to kill off any of his characters, which is essential for me in fantasy. If there is an ongoing war or extreme danger, then some main characters need to die to keep the stakes high. Maybe I’m a bit twisted, but the pain of a loveable character dying feels so good! I really enjoyed Sanderson’s use of religion in all three books. Religion ended up playing a significant role in the final pages, and I appreciated the overall message. After finishing my fist three Brandon Sanderson books, I am impressed with his storytelling skills. Sanderson planned out these novels well in advance. Hints and clues are dropped early on, yet the twists never seemed obvious or predictable. All of Sanderson’s foreshadowing gives Mistborn great rereading potential. I am looking forward to continuing my way through Sanderson’s bibliography. I plan to stick to just the Cosmere universe for now.