Mistborn: The Well of Ascension, and Picking Up the Pieces After the Revolution

Borrowed from brandonsanderson.com

Genre: Epic Fantasy

Synopsis: Former urchin Vin, under the tutelage of a talented Mistborn and partnered with a crew of specialists, played a vital role in the fall of the God-Emperor, though it hadn’t come without a cost. Now, someone has to pick up the pieces of the shattered empire and restore some semblance of order, hopefully a better order than what came before it. Elend seems to be the man for the job–in theory, given his lack of practical expedience. Provided Vin and the crew can keep him alive, and the city safe, long enough for that to materialize.

Meanwhile, another problem looms on the horizon. The God-Emperor had been in power for so long that no one remembered how it had come to pass, or what he had been protecting them from. But with him gone, something stirs.

Series: Second in a trilogy.

POV: Third person multiple, often from the perspective of Vin, Elend, or Breeze.

Preview: Here.

In the previous book, the protagonists overthrew a tyrant. Now, they’re sitting in the capital city of a crumbling empire with the hopes that they can build it into something better…but they aren’t the only ones to aspire to do something in this sudden vacuum of power.

And actually, overthrowing this authoritarian regime is creating chaos, because now instead of an oppressive, all-powerful authority, there is a struggle for power. No one even comes close to being able to exert the influence and power of the previous tyrant. The Empire is fractioning, and a number of people are trying to become the new power. And while the previous regime was oppressive, there was a kind of safety in its stability and predictability.

This puts our protagonists in an interesting place, emotionally. Because while some of them always knew it would end like this–that the benefits of overthrowing this authoritarian government wouldn’t necessarily materialize in their generation–others really believed things would get better as soon as the tyrant was gone. However, the framework for that isn’t there.

And as our heroes are not the type to give up, they fight to the bitter end. Some of them still find ways to hold onto hope against impossible odds, others know the whole time that they don’t have a chance of success. But they all do what they can. And that’s what this book is.

It starts off with the threat of invasion, and a lot of politicking to hold it off. A faint hope that if the protagonists pull off a few crazy maneuvers, they might even succeed. And the characters go on from there, sometimes struggling to do what they think is right, sometimes not even being sure what is right.

Vin is still figuring out who she is, trying to find the balance between what she can do and what she should. Sazed’s responsibilities collide with what he wants and what he thinks. We get more insight on Breeze, on the contrast between who he is and who he pretends to be. And for the first time, Elend takes the spotlight, as he learns how all of his ideas and idealisms fit into reality.

This book is about hope, despair, and determination beyond all reason. It’s about taking a chance on a risky venture in order to win, because the safer route would betray your morality. It’s about knowing what you stand for, and whether or not you should fight the bigger battle. And it’s about what taking that kind of a stand can cost you.

And of course, this book is a turning point in the series. Because as much as it deals with the fallout from the previous book, it also sets up the conflict for the next one. I don’t want to spoil, but it’s a cool take on how these things usually go in fantasy.

Favorite Quotes:

“Vin isn’t…like other women…”
“I think the more women you come to know, Your Majesty, the more you’ll find that statement applies to all of them.”

“I’ll do what I think is right–and that includes letting the Assembly depose me, if that is their choice.”