Second Act

I don’t suppose it is possible to post a spoiler for a book that came out last year, but with the third book in the series (The Hero of Ages) due out next month, I’m inclined to be a little guarded with my review of The Well of Ascension by Brandon Sanderson.  Let it be sufficient then to say that this book holds its place well as the second act of the drama known as the Mistborn Series.  In the tradition of Orwell and Zamyatin, Sanderson’s revolutionaries who succeeded in toppling the Lord Ruler in Mistborn: The Final Empire have become the new government in The Well of Ascension.  The former gang of thieves now serve as counselors to the young king Elend Venture, an idealist whose entrenched faith in equality before the law threatens his own rule.  In addition to the threat from within, Elend’s throne is threatened from without by two human armies (one led by his own father) and an army of giants.  All four groups are afflicted by The Deepness, a devastating force held at bay by the Lord Ruler which seems to be returning in his absence.  It’s up to Vin, a young Allomancer who slew the Lord Ruler, to protect the man she loves and his foundling kingdom by discovering the secret of the fabled Well of Ascension.  The Lord Ruler used its power to create new races, drastically alter the landscape, and establish his cruel imperial rule over it all.  How will Vin use it, if she can even locate it?  Will she sacrifice all that she holds dear in order to save it?  And what will I read between the second and third acts of this terrific series?

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