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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.
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on December 27, 2012
The first book in this series was great. Lots of action, adventure and interesting characters. The Well of Ascension builds on this already compelling story.

The novel starts with the Lord Ruler dead and Vin wondering what he meant by "You don't know what you've done?" New creatures are introducted and the mysterious shape shifters are further developed. This book gives a lot of background. If you are intrested in the origins of things, such as where do allomancers come from, you will really enjoy this novel.

Elend is attempting to build a society based on his readings. He's doing this amid a war with his father, his best friend's army of Kulos-monsters and a army from the West adds to the intregue.

The story plays out in a very 'believable' manner as each character makes decisions consistent with their personalities and beliefs. The climax is full of action and revelations that will have you buying the third of the series the next day.
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on December 19, 2008
Although usually not a fantasy fan, I find Sanderson's work fascinating. Mistborn was especially a book that did not let me go! With its complex scenario, imaginative universe, wonderful action and unique characters, this book is a great way to escape reality and rediscover wonder! The fact that the little street urchin gets initiated to magic in one year and outsmarts all her enemies is only slightly annoying. Sorry to stop here, I've got to go get the two other parts of this great trilogy!
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on February 10, 2014
I enjoyed these books. I started reading them because of having read Brandon Sanderson when he finished the Wheel of Time series. These are very well written and would recommend his books again.
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on April 9, 2013
Fast shipping, great rates. Like all of Sanderson's books this one does not lack in intrigue. A must read for any Robert Jordan fans and fantasy fans in general
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on January 12, 2015
I liked the heist feel of the first book better than the political feel if this one. But it definitely had its moments and I am now off to buy the third
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on September 13, 2015
Loved all three books!
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Having loved Mistborn: The Final Empire last year, I was really eager to read its sequel, The Well of Ascension. The ending promised a lot of things to come, which made me curious as to what would occur next.

Unfortunately, The Well of Ascension didn't do it for me. Not at all, truth to tell. Indeed, for some reason it failed on basically every level to interest me. If this had been a book by anyone but Brandon Sanderson, I would have quit long before the end.

I really like Brandon. He's one of the nicest guys around in the genre, a class act and always accessible. I enjoyed both Elantris and Mistborn: The Final Empire, and I was truly looking forward to reading The Well of Ascension. In a way, I feel a bit bad about having to write such a negative review concerning the work of an author I respect. And yet, I have to be honest if I'm to maintain any semblance of integrity. Having said that, I'm glad there are some very positive reviews out there, which demonstrates that many people found it to their liking. I wish I could claim the same. . .

On the upside, once again I found the magical system to be the most fascinating aspect of this novel. We learn a bit more about it, and it's evident that Sanderson created something special. The action scenes are as cool as in the first volume, though they don't have the same sort of impact the second time around. The worldbuilding is interesting, yet I would have loved to learn more about the Deepness and the Well of Ascension. Still, I'm intrigued enough to pick up the third volume of this series.

In retrospect, I feel that there simply wasn't enough material to warrant a novel-length project. Yes, I'm well aware that this book weighs in at 589 pages, yet "filler" is predominant throughout. If you strip The Well of Ascension down to the bare essential, I feel that we'd be left with less than 100 pages. For the most part, by the halfway point of the novel, I was just going through the motions, plowing on without veritable interest, yet hoping that something would turn this one around and get me into it.

The Well of Ascension, with its banter and "funny" dialogues, shows once more that Brandon Sanderson is David Eddings' heir in terms of style, although he's more action-oriented than Eddings ever was. Which means that those who used to love David Eddings should enjoy Sanderson's work. On the downside, those people who couldn't stand Eddings will, in all likelihood, find Sanderson off-putting for the same reasons.

Unlike its predecessor, the characterization in The Well of Ascension is the facet which I found left the most to be desired. I believe the tale missed Kelsier a lot more than I ever thought possible. Vin and Elend's relationship makes for the better part of the story's backdrop, and I found it quite on the lame side. I was hoping for either or both to be killed by page 50, but alas this is no GRRM book. . . Without Kelsier, the rest of his crew lost all their erstwhile appeal.

The narrative doesn't flow well, mainly because Sanderson interrupts the flow of the story with constant thoughts and feelings from every single POV character. There is a lot of "inner" dialogue going on in their heads, often reflecting on what the narrative has just explained. This results in a somewhat sluggish pace, forcing us to go through a lot of emo crap which serves little purpose in the overall scheme of things. . .

The politicking -- the whole "let's make Ellend the bookworm a king" -- was clumsy and unrealistic. And since intrigue and politics are at the heart of the tale, I felt that this one read like a YA novel.

The ending is good enough to make me want to read the final volume of the series. But The Well of Ascension was a letdown, making this book my biggest disappointment of the year thus far.
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