Sunday, July 2, 2017

Mistborn: The Well of Ascension

The Mistborn series continues with The Well of Ascension. Even if the world of Scadrial was already an unhappy place (for most) in the first volume, takes this it into an even darker and more desperate direction. The death of the Lord Ruler has created expected instability in the empire even if the crew's new noble-friend Elend of House Venture has managed to seize the control of the capital city, Luthadel.

The Final Empire was almost a perfect standalone novel and The Well of Ascension felt like a drawn-out, unnecessary sequel to it. Kelsier was a driving force for plot previously and him being gone really shows.

However, the novel did find its bearings eventually and the tension, Brandon Sanderson is so good at, started building up again. Like how Vin and Elend find out that one of the crew members has been replaced by a kandra, a creature that can take the form of anybody after consuming their bones. I did not figure out who it was until its revelation.

I also liked how the magic system was expanded. I think it was two more metals that were discovered in this book. I did not like how the already discovered metals' uses had to be repeated, though. It was to be expected but I had just read the first book, I know what iron and copper etc. do already.

Already in the first novel I had found it odd that Sanderson had felt the need to come up with a fictional metal, atium. He could have just added its allomantic property, the ability to see few seconds into the future, to any existing metal or alloy. Although after thinking about it a bit, the way atium is found inside crystals is kind of unusual.

Apparently atium and lerasium -- the latter discovered in this novel -- are "god metals" and are not even included in the table of allomantic metals. And neither is malatium, the alloy of atium used in The Final Empire. I do not like that. The exceptions make the magic system less symmetric.

I am not sure what to the think of the ending. It was somewhat lame, an ending that does not matter since it is only the second book in a trilogy. I did like the twist that led to it, however. How prophecies written on paper cannot be trusted as they have been ever so slightly altered by some evil force. It is also related to how Vin is just about set to be the chosen one but there are things that undermine the proposition, like the ending for instance. Will she be the titular character of the trilogy's final volume, The Hero of Ages?

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