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TGRF's Reviews - Mistborn (Well of Ascension)

Posted June 3rd, 2021 at 01:46 PM by The Grim Reaper's Friend
I finished the second book in the Mistborn trilogy yesterday, and after letting my thoughts gel a bit, I want to get down to the review.

On the whole, I think I definitely liked the first book better. It just felt more... cohesive. It felt more structured, in a good way. But I'll get more into that below.

In terms of writing level, I feel like it's about where I am now. I think my structuring and development is better, but Sanderson I think has the better characters and twists.

5: Amazing, above flawless.
4: Flawless, but doesn't really stand out.
3: Might have some issues, but works fine.
2: Has some issues which might detract from the story.
1: Flawed, bring the story down noticeably.

Title: The Well of Ascension
Author: Brandon Sanderson
My Rating: 3.7/5 - A good read

Summary: Following the events of the first book (which I'll do my best to avoid spoiling), the heroes now find themselves trying to handle way more than they ever bargained for. They're in over their heads, and it isn't long before other parties notice this and get ready to seize control.

Sanderson again does a stellar job of making things increasingly worse as the story progresses. He goes so far this time that all the bad stuff he promises is going to happen... it actually happens. You start reading the last third and you're like, 'wait, there really IS no way out? Oh crap.'

Setting: Sanderson again uses a host of PoVs, including several of the antagonists. The setting isn't much different from that of the first book.

Characters - Relatability: 3
A year has passed since the events of the first book, but the characters have changed significantly. Or at least their positions have. While the changes make perfect sense, I still found them jarring, and it took me a bit to get used to the new situations the characters were in and seemingly at home with.

Plot - Interest: 4
I go back and forth on this one. At least the first two thirds of the book suffer from what I'll term the 'Eldest Effect' - the need to deal with the aftermath of the first book, which usually includes lots of politics. That was definitely present. However, that being said, I was at no point bored by the plot, nor did I feel like putting the book down. So while the subject matter didn't feel that gripping (until it was), it wasn't boring either.

Plot - Structure: 3
I think this is what detracted most from the book. I'm pretty sure Sanderson is one of the authors who doesn't use the 3-act structure, and I think it shows in this story. Key points felt either out of place or glossed over. Not all of them, but enough for me to feel it. I think this is what caused the first two thirds of the book to feel a bit saggy compared to the last third. Additionally - and I noticed this in the first book too - The book felt like it was struggling to end. Sanderson had a perfect end-game twist, and then the book... just kind of kept going. Yes, there was an even bigger twist which DID end the book properly, but the size of the one before it just felt off. It was too big for where it was. I feel like that could have been handled better.

Plot - Twists: 5
Unlike last time, where I saw the twist coming but was still surprised by it, I didn't see the final twist coming. It was masterful, rocking every assumption the characters had and instantly turning everything on it's head. And then the book ended.

Originality of story: 4
Compared to the first book, which felt like a mashup of different archetypes (which it was), this story felt far more organic. Sanderson just took the base he had created and moved the story forwards, and I don't sense any archetypes or familiar stories going on.

Emotional Impact: 4.5
I'm beginning to see a pattern, where Sanderson will have a big twist near the end, and then the true end-game twist AT the end. His problem in the first book was that the first twist was bigger than the second. In the second book, it was that the first twist slammed the reader in the gut while the second was just shocking. That being said... the emotional payoff of that first twist was amazing.

Convenience: 2.5
The ending kind of felt like the ending of Justice League to me. I'm not a DC comics follower, but the problem I kept seeing while watching that movie was that if Superman ever arrives, the bad guys stand no chance. That's kind of what this book felt like. If the main character does what she's debating about doing, all conflict is over. And that's ultimately what happens. Yes, there were a few twists which helped everything wrap up completely, but if the main character had made the decision earlier she did at the end, the book would have been a lot shorter. Not as fulfilling, absolutely, but she could have just ended most of the conflict a lot sooner.

That about sums it up. Overall it was a good read and a satisfying sequel, and given the final twist at the end, I'm definitely looking forward to the third book. Which there are unfortunately two holds on. So it might be awhile until I get my hands on it. As always, I welcome your thoughts on my critiques or on the book.

Posted in TGRF's Reviews
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TheAverageFan's Avatar
Sounds kinda like Dune Messiah. Once the bad guy is defeated, a whole lotta politics opens up in his wake.

Posted June 3rd, 2021 at 07:18 PM by TheAverageFan TheAverageFan is offline
The Grim Reaper's Friend's Avatar
That is kind of the situation, but I have to say that Sanderson does do a good job keeping interest and tension up.

Posted June 4th, 2021 at 12:23 PM by The Grim Reaper's Friend The Grim Reaper's Friend is offline
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