The Well of Ascension (Mistborn #2) ★★★★☆

This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot, & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: The Well of Ascension
Series: Mistborn #2
Authors: Brandon Sanderson
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Genre: Epic Fantasy
Pages: 656
Words: 249K



Synopsis:

From Wikipedia.org

The Final Empire is in turmoil as various regions descend into anarchy following the Lord Ruler’s death and the disappearance of the Steel Ministry. Elend Venture has claimed the crown of the capital city, Luthadel, and attempts to restore order, but various hostile forces converge on the city. Three armies lay siege to Luthadel because of its rumored wealth of Atium and political influence. The first army is led by Straff Venture – head of House Venture, and Elend’s father. The second army is led by Ashweather Cett, self-declared king of the Western Dominance. The third army consists of Koloss, massive, brutish blue creatures once controlled by the Lord Ruler, and is led by Elend’s former friend Jastes, who is buying the Koloss’ obedience with counterfeit coins.

Vin and Elend discover a set of discarded bones in their keep, and with help from Vin’s shapeshifting Kandra, OreSeur, realize that another Kandra has taken the form and identity of one of Kelsier’s crew to spy on them. Vin becomes increasingly suspicious of everyone around her. At night, she begins sparring with Zane, Straff’s Mistborn son and Elend’s half brother. In the South, Sazed has come across suspicious deaths that appear to be caused by the mists. Marsh – Kelsier’s brother and a Steel Inquisitor – leads Sazed to a Ministry stronghold called “The Conventical of Seran,” the former base of the Inquisitors. They discover an engraving that was authored by the Terrisman who once claimed to have found the Hero of Ages, which begins “I write these words in steel, for anything not set in metal cannot be trusted.” They leave quickly, Sazed taking a charcoal rubbing.

The Terris keeper Tindwyl arrives at Luthadel to train Elend to be a better king. Despite his personal improvements, the Assembly votes to depose Elend, using the very laws written by Elend, and elect Lord Penrod as their new king. Zane pressures Vin to kill her enemies and flee with him, abandoning the city. Misting assassins attack Elend at an Assembly meeting, and when Vin kills them in front of Elend, their relationship deteriorates. At Zane’s urging, Vin lashes out, slaughtering hundreds of Cett’s soldiers at his temporary Luthadel mansion. She becomes disturbed by her actions and flees without killing Cett, who decides to leave the city and abandon his siege. Vin decides to choose Elend over Zane and refuses him. He tries to kill her, and reveals that the real OreSeur is dead, having been replaced by Zane’s kandra, TenSoon. TenSoon has grown to like Vin, however, and he helps her kill Zane before returning to the kandra homeland. Feeling liberated, Vin accepts Elend’s longstanding marriage proposal. Sazed and the rest of the crew scheme to get Elend and Vin out of the city before it falls, and Sazed creates a false map to the Well of Ascension, which Vin is convinced may be able to save them.

Straff withdraws his forces, allowing the koloss army to attack Luthadel, planning to rescue the city after the koloss have destroyed most of it and suffered casualties. Jastes loses control of his army; he flees and is killed. Vin returns to Luthadel just in time to save Sazed and most of the city’s civilians, though Dockson, Tindwyl and Clubs are killed. She discovers that she can control the koloss using her Allomancy; she stops their slaughtering and turns them and Luthadel’s army against Straff’s army. Vin kills Straff and his generals as Cett decides to ally himself with Luthadel. Vin forces Cett, Penrod, and Straff’s last general to swear allegiance as kings under Elend, whom she names emperor.

Vin realizes that the Well of Ascension is in Luthadel itself, and finds a hidden doorway in the Lord Ruler’s castle that leads down to the underground Well of Ascension, where a man made of mist stabs Elend. Vin is tempted to use the power in the Well to heal him, but ultimately follows the instruction of Sazed’s rubbing, releasing the power for the good of the world rather than seizing it for herself. The moment she releases it, a powerful entity escapes, shouting out that it is now free. The Mist figure encourages Vin to feed Elend a bead of metal she finds in the room, which makes him a Mistborn; his life is saved through Allomancy by burning Pewter. Sazed travels back to The Conventical of Seran and inspects the engraving. He discovers that the words of the rubbing have been changed, presumably by the mysterious entity working to secure its own release.

My Thoughts:

I can imagine Sanderson chortling to himself as he wrote this book. He had already turned the Epic Fantasy world on its head by having the badguy turn out to be the hero but who really wasn’t and in this, he turns prophecy on its head as the hero of prophecy actually hasn’t come yet and it’s a woman, ie, Vin the Mistborn of the series. Of course, right at the very end of the book you find out that even the Prophecy turned on its head was just a fake out. I also happen to remember vague details from book 3 that makes it all even more inverted. Like I said, I bet he was chortling away as he wrote this. I think the impact of all that twisty inversion has the greatest punch upon the initial read but upon a re-read you pick up on the foreshadowing that he includes.

When I read this back in ’07 I was in my late 20’s and still single. What I was looking for in books was that sense of fantastic adventure coupled with a slight bit of romance and boy howdy, it delivered all of that back then. It still does this time around too. The problem is, I have changed quite a bit in the last 14 years and unlike some books (Way-Farer, Galactic Odyssey, The Hobbit, etc), this book has not weathered those changes as seamlessly. The angst of the love me/love me not has zero appeal, the uncertainty of youth and inexperience isn’t comforting but annoying and I’ve read a lot of Fantasy, epic or otherwise, since then. While Sanderson has reset Epic Fantasy, much like Tolkien did back in his day, that has spawned so much copycat and wannabes that it makes finding an original story that much harder. That’s not directly relevant to this story, but I see the effects this series has had and I have to admit that I don’t like that effect, not at all. So it colors my enjoyment here and now.

The story itself is just great though. Multiple armies and monsters and Mistborns all flying around and killing. And the world going crazy with mists starting to kill people. It is good stuff!

I don’t like the cover for this edition. While pretty accurate (Vin carrying a big ass koloss sword) it just screams Young Adult. Plus, it’s not the one that was originally released and that’s what I read and so obviously that is the best one. Duh! I’ve included a small picture of the original. If you’re really curious, just use Tineye.com to do a reverse image search for a big copy.

I don’t regret selling my hardcovers for this series though. Which tells me the raw and gritty truth, that I’ve moved on and these books haven’t. Now, where’s my cane? And someone tell those bleeping kids to get off my lawn too! Kids, no respect these days. Back in MY day…..

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Mistborn: The Final Empire (Mistborn #1) ★★★★★

This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot, & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: Mistborn: The Final Empire
Series: Mistborn #1
Authors: Brandon Sanderson
Rating: 5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Epic Fantasy
Pages: 574
Words: 214K



Synopsis:

From Wikipedia.org

Three years prior to the start of the novel, a half-skaa thief named Kelsier discovered that he was Mistborn and escapes the Pits of Hathsin, a brutal prison camp of the Lord Ruler. He returned to Luthadel, the capital city of the Final Empire, where he rounded up his old thieving crew for a new job: to overthrow the Final Empire by stealing its treasury and collapsing its economy.

At the beginning of the novel, Vin, a wary and abused street urchin, is recruited by Kelsier’s crew after Kelsier is notified by his brother, Marsh, that she is a Mistborn. Vin is trained by Kelsier’s crew to develop her Allomantic powers, which include burning pewter to strengthen the body, burning tin to enhance the senses, and burning steel and iron to gain a limited form of telekinesis over metal. She is also given the duty of spying on the nobility by attending opulent balls in Luthadel (the capital and center of the final empire), where she poses as Valette Renoux, niece to Lord Renoux, a nobleman working with Kelsier’s crew. During these balls, she meets and falls in love with Elend Venture, heir to House Venture, the most powerful of the Luthadel noble houses. Elend flouts the rules of nobility culture and secretly plans to build a better society with his noble friends when they ascend to their respective house titles.

Kelsier hopes to conquer the city by destabilizing it with a house war between the nobility and then invading with a skaa army. Once in control, he hopes to overthrow the Final Empire by stealing the Lord Ruler’s hoard of atium, a precious metal which is the cornerstone of the Final Empire’s economy. The crew succeeds in starting a house war by assassinating several powerful nobles and recruiting about seven thousand soldiers to join their cause. However, about three quarters of the soldiers are slaughtered when they foolishly attack an unimportant Final Empire garrison with the hopes of divine protection from Kelsier, who has spread rumors of his “supernatural” powers. The remaining soldiers are smuggled into Luthadel by Kelsier, who intends to continue the plan. Unfortunately, Marsh is discovered and seemingly killed, and Lord Renoux and his estate are seized and he is brought to be executed by the Canton of Inquisition, the police arm of the Final Empire. This Canton is made up of Steel Inquisitors, seemingly indestructible Allomancers with steel spikes driven through their eyes. Though Kelsier’s crew manage to free most of Renoux’s group and kill an Inquisitor, Kelsier is killed by the Lord Ruler himself in a dramatic confrontation in Luthadel’s city square. Though these events appear to leave Kelsier’s plan in shambles, it is revealed that his real plan was to become a martyred symbol of hope for Luthadel’s superstitious skaa population. The skaa population reacts to his death by rising up and overthrowing the city with the help of Kelsier’s army.

Before his death, Kelsier had attempted to unlock the potential of the “Eleventh Metal” that he had acquired, which was rumored to be the Lord Ruler’s weakness. He was unable to do so before his death, and left it to Vin to finish the job. With the Eleventh Metal, Vin goes to the imperial palace to kill the Lord Ruler. She is captured by the Canton of Inquisition and left in a cell to be tortured, but Sazed, her faithful servant, comes to her rescue. Using a magical discipline called Feruchemy, he helps Vin escape and recover her possessions. Marsh is revealed to be alive, having actually been made into a Steel Inquisitor; he betrays his fellow Inquisitors and slays them. Vin fights the Lord Ruler, who is revealed to be both an incredibly powerful Allomancer and a Feruchemist, the combination of which grants him incredible healing powers and eternal youth. Vin is almost destroyed by the Lord Ruler, but with hints from the Eleventh Metal and the unexpected magical aid of the mists, she manages to separate the Lord Ruler from his Feruchemical bracelets that provide him with constant youth, causing him to age rapidly. Vin uses a spear to kill the Lord Ruler, who with his last words ominously warns her of a great doom. The Final Empire collapses, though Elend is able to avoid total societal collapse by uniting Luthadel under a new system of democratic government.

My Thoughts:

Recently I’ve been talking with other people about whether fantasy has gotten worse (in whatever form you claim is “worse”) or if there’s just more drek or if authors are pandering to the idiots or whatnot. I do think we can all agree it has gotten bigger, literally. If it ain’t a 10 volume epic of phat tomes, then the publishers will tell you to publish it yourself. Anyway, I have found myself despising the path that Brandon Sanderson has started going down. He’s writing multiple Young Adult books, comics and starting new series while ignoring older series. He’s also taken to putting his name on a cover and “co-authoring” books, which as we all know, usually means the other person did all the work and the big name is to sell the book. You might detect a hint of bitterness. If so, you are correct. When I was in my 20’s, and him too, he wrote what I wanted to read. As I’ve gotten older, his output hasn’t changed but is still geared towards a younger audience. What I wasn’t sure about was whether my memories of raving about his early works were because they were actually good, or because they hit the spot for me.

So this re-read of the original Mistborn trilogy is a test to see if Sanderson was a good author or if his recent “decline” was just in my head. Sadly, this was pure awesome sauce and made me excited to read fantasy. I say sadly because it means Sanderson has pandered to the Crowd and stopped writing good stuff.

This is not a perfect book, despite my rating and love for it. This is early Sanderson and while nothing sticks out like a broken branch, it is not completely polished. It “felt” like an early work. The chosen words didn’t flow perfectly, they didn’t have the many shades of meaning possible. It was never bad or ever wrong, it just wasn’t as good as I’ve seen him write in later books. But really, I don’t expect a highschool athlete to perform at the same level as an Olympic Champion. But once they’ve reached that level, I expect them to stay there. And while early Sanderson was great, once he got beyond that there’s just no going back.

Now, with that naysaying, this was just as good as I remember. I was excited to crack open my kindle each evening and read some more. I was even more excited when I got to the end of the book and to remember that I had TWO MORE BOOKS to read. You know something is good when you get excited about the books to come.

So to end, I had a fantastic time reading this, my faith in old Sanderson was restored and Fantasy HAS changed in the last 15 years and not for the better.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

The Bands of Mourning (Mistborn #6)

e0eef9eded1a4275aaca0d96d5b30168

This review is written with a GPL 3.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at Bookstooge.booklikes. wordpress.leafmarks.com
Title: The Bands of Mourning
Series: Mistborn
Author: Brandon Sanderson
Rating: 1 of 5 Stars
Genre: SFF
Pages: 448
Format: Kindle digital edition

 

My Thoughts:

Due to some of the subject matter, I will not be continuing with this author.

Shadows of Self (Mistborn #5)

 e221ba97d8470b26609e5023ec6971a3This review is written with a GPL 3.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at Bookstooge.booklikes.blogspot. wordpress.leafmarks.com & Bookstooge’s Reviews on the Road Facebook Group by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission.

 

 

 

Title: Shadows of Self
Series: Mistborn
Author: Brandon Sanderson
Rating: 4  of 5 Battle Axes
Genre: SFF
Pages: 384
Format: Kindle

 

Synopsis:

Waxillium, otherwise known as Wax and his trusty pardner Wayne, are now city slickers and special deputized lawmen.

Only things aren’t going so well in the Big City. “God” seems to have made life just a tad bit too easy for humanity and one of the “angels” has taken exception to that.

So Wax must stop an insane angel AND figure out if god is worth following after all.

 

My Thoughts:

This was a good book. It was exciting, it was tragic, it was funny, it was sad, it was light and it was very philosophical.

It was everything I expected from Brandon Sanderson.

It has been almost 4 years since I read Alloy of Law and to be honest, it was a tad confusing getting back into things. I remembered Wax and Wayne, but everyone else? It was like brand new characters. Thankfully, the next book in this second Mistborn trilogy is coming out next week and I plan on reading it first thing in February. That way there will be no lag time. But I was able to get past all that and get into the story.

I’ve also been reading The Many Faces of Evil and it fit right alongside of this very well. One of the main characters from the previous trilogy is now god and Wax has to decide if he is really worth following and obeying.  This book went a lot deeper than I was expecting and I really liked it. I’ve struggled with the issue of evil and god ever since I was a teen and while this story doesn’t even try to answer it, just the fact that a contemporary of mine is asking the same questions is heartening.

I also like seeing more mistborn ability in a modern setting. It shows Sanderson’s imagination and ability as an author. Good times.

The Alloy of Law

11605507The Alloy of Law
Mistborn #4
by Brandon Sanderson
Fantasy
Ebook, 265 Pages
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Now this book was a LOT of fun to read. It was not one of Sanderson’s 600+ page epic tomes, but a fun revisitation to the Mystworld.

This was really a western at heart. I remember reading Louis Lamour when a young teen and how it appealed to me. Thankfully, Sanderson doesn’t write the same ultra-cliches that Lamour did, but that spirit was there.

The untamed gunslinger/magicuser comes back to supposed civilization and ends up having to clean up messes worse than he ever found out in the Wild, Wild West.

And it was a lot of fun to see allomancy used differently. Sanderson has given some good thought to the practical application and while I didn’t really care about the particulars, it was good to know that the internal physics of the world hadn’t been thrown jambalaya like into the plot pot.

Hero of Ages

Hero of Ages
Mistborn #3
Brandon Sanderson
Fantasy
4 stars
572 pages

the conclusion to the Mistborn trilogy.

The power Vin released was Ruin. It was a force opposed by Preservation. Preservation made humans with some ruin so as to get an edge on Ruin. Ruin was trying to destroy the world, period. Preservation gave up its sentience to imprison Ruin. Vin freed Ruin in Well of Ascension but joined the mists and took on Preservations power. Fought with, and joined with, Ruin. Sazed took both those powers and became The Hero of Ages, basically a god watching over the world. Vin is no more and Elend dies to, so no loose ends. The story ends with Sazed fixing the world and keeping it safe for the remnant of humanity saved by the Lord Ruler’s foresight.

Definitely didn’t take the direction I thought it would, but it was good none the less. Hope Sanderson does a good job on Memories of Light, the final Wheel of Time book.

The Well of Ascension

The Well of Ascension
Mistborn #2
Brandon Sanderson
Epic Fantasy
4 stars
578 pages

Everything I thought I knew from Final Empire is turned on its head!

Vin and Elend get married, Luthadel is sacked, but Vin realizes she has powers unlike any other Mistborn. Goes to the Well of Ascension to destroy the Deepness, only to set free some being that has been manipulating the Terris religion for that very purpose. The Hero of Ages is a deception wrought by this being.

Looking forward to the next volume.

Mistborn: The Final Empire

Mistborn: The Final Empire
Mistborn #1
Brandon Sanderson
fantasy
4 stars

this kid is FANTASTIC! This was better than Elantris and is the start to a series, length unknown. End of the earth. Mankind united under the Lord Ruler, a man who saved humanity from something called “the Deepness”. Allomancy[the ability to burn metals internally to gain greater powers] is now common among the nobility. Skaa form a workforce. This book is about a rebellion to dethrone the Lord Ruler[who is, seemingly, unkillable]. Great characters, and nice twist at the end.

/edit 2013
Sanderson and I are contemporaries. So it makes me laugh to see myself calling him “kid”. Of course, the last 7 years have proven how great he is at Fantasy.