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Fantasy as it should be written
on May 8, 2008
I may as well carry my review from the hardcover over here.
This review will contain a spoiler from the first book in the series, "Mistborn".
Following up from the fascinating and richly textured world of "Mistborn", "The Well of Ascension" was clearly going to face certain obstacles. Firstly, the charismatic central character of Kelsier is, of course, dead this time around, and I wasn't certain how the storyline would continue to hold together without him. Thankfully, Vin really comes into her own this time around as a complex and highly likeable character; an identifiable personality who has grown naturally throughout the series so far.
The scenario is not as tight as it was in Mistborn; it tends to sprawl and is not quite, perhaps, as convincing: I've never been sure where Vin's continuing devotion to the foppish Elend comes from, for example. Their relationship is the least natural part of the series; it feels like Sanderson just wants you to 'take his word for it'. I also found the ending to be rushed and unsatisfying.
These minor gripes aside, "The Well of Ascension" is an excellent read; and where it really shines is the character development: as a reader I actually care about these people and what befalls them. The world is richly detailed, riding on the fantastic set-up from "Mistborn". The action sequences are exceptionally cinematic, topping "Mistborn", in my estimation, and there's plenty of well-timed humor to be found.
This is fantasy as I feel it should be: concerned more with the players, than the spectacle (though there's plenty of that as well). Needless to say, I can say that at this point, I would follow Vin & company anywhere.