Sanderson, Brandon. The Well of Ascension. New York: Tor, 2007.
Hardcover | $29.99 USD | ISBN-13: 978-0765316882 | 590 pages | Fantasy
4.5 (ish?) stars
I went in to The Well of Ascension with similar expectations that I did to the first book, but aware from what I had heard that there was a shift in that this one was much slower, and that while for a lot of people it didn’t work for them, it has become the underrated favorite of the series among the BookTubers I watch. Thus, I did find myself having a lot of mixed feelings, as while I did like, and even love a lot of the book, I did feel like the pacing was more of a negative for me.
That said, I did still enjoy the book for the most part. I was curious to know where the story could go after the defeat of a Great Evil that is built up so much in the first book, and Sanderson delivers, offering twists to the narrative to make it feel fresh. And even if some of the reveals did feel a little obvious, I continue to appreciate that he tries to do something different than a lot of classic, “traditional” epic fantasy.
I enjoyed seeing Vin grow as a character as well. She grows a lot in this one, overcoming quite a few challenges and inner struggles. But I was even more won over by Elend. He was a character I wasn’t really sure about in book one, but he definitely grew on me in this one, especially with the focus on his role as a new king, and all the intrigue that comes with that new role. And while I’m not one hundred percent sold on the romance between them, I think the feelings were conveyed a bit better this time around, especially with both of them being a bit more fleshed out.
And while the cast did grow a bit, an as such it did feel a bit more harder to become invested in everyone as people, I continue to love Sazed as a secondary character. He is such a lovely, sweet character, and seeing him and Tindwyl was heartwarming.
In short, this book was enjoyable, in spite of any pacing issues. But there definitely seems to be a trend of people either loving this one and not being massively wowed by book one, or vice versa, and only a few who love both equally. That being said, I think it’s worth reading if you’ve read the first book, regardless of whether that one worked for you or not stylistically.