From #1 New York Times bestselling author Brandon Sanderson, the Mistborn series is a heist story of political intrigue and magical, martial-arts action.
The impossible has been accomplished. The Lord Ruler the man who claimed to be god incarnate and brutally ruled the world for a thousand years has been vanquished. But Kelsier, the hero who masterminded that triumph, is dead too, and now the awesome task of building a new world has been left to his young protégé, Vin, the former street urchin who is now the most powerful Mistborn in the land, and to the idealistic young nobleman she loves.
As Kelsier's protégé and slayer of the Lord Ruler she is now venerated by a budding new religion, a distinction that makes her intensely uncomfortable. Even more worrying, the mists have begun behaving strangely since the Lord Ruler died, and seem to harbor a strange vaporous entity that haunts her.
Stopping assassins may keep Vin's Mistborn skills sharp, but it's the least of her problems. Luthadel, the largest city of the former empire, doesn't run itself, and Vin and the other members of Kelsier's crew, who lead the revolution, must learn a whole new set of practical and political skills to help. It certainly won't get easier with three armies – one of them composed of ferocious giants – now vying to conquer the city, and no sign of the Lord Ruler's hidden cache of atium, the rarest and most powerful allomantic metal.
As the siege of Luthadel tightens, an ancient legend seems to offer a glimmer of hope. But even if it really exists, no one knows where to find the Well of Ascension or what manner of power it bestows.
Other Tor books by Brandon Sanderson
The Stormlight Archive
The Way of Kings
Words of Radiance
The Mistborn trilogy
Mistborn: The Final Empire
The Well of Ascension
The Hero of Ages
Mistborn: The Wax and Wayne series
Alloy of Law
Shadows of Self
Bands of Mourning
Other Cosmere novels
The Alcatraz vs. the Evil Librarians series
Alcatraz vs. the Evil Librarians
The Scrivener's Bones
The Knights of Crystallia
The Shattered Lens
The Dark Talent
The Rithmatist series
Other books by Brandon Sanderson
About the Author
Brandon Sanderson grew up in Lincoln, Nebraska. He lives in Utah with his wife and children and teaches creative writing at Brigham Young University. He is the author of such bestsellers as the Mistborn® trilogy and its sequels, The Alloy of Law, Shadows of Self, and The Bands of Mourning; the Stormlight Archive novels The Way of Kings and Words of Radiance; and other novels, including The Rithmatist and Steelheart. In 2013, he won a Hugo Award for Best Novella for The Emperor's Soul, set in the world of his acclaimed first novel, Elantris. Additionally, he was chosen to complete Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time® sequence. For behind-the-scenes information on all of Brandon Sanderson's books, visit brandonsanderson.com.
Read an Excerpt
The Well of Ascension Book Two of Mistborn
By Sanderson, Brandon
Tor Fantasy Copyright © 2008 Sanderson, Brandon
All right reserved.
The army crept like a dark stain across the horizon.
King Elend Venture stood motionless upon the Luthadel city wall, looking out at the enemy troops. Around him, ash fell from the sky in fat, lazy flakes. It wasn’t the burnt white ash that one saw in dead coals; this was a deeper, harsher black ash. The Ashmounts had been particularly active lately.
Elend felt the ash dust his face and clothing, but he ignored it. In the distance, the bloody red sun was close to setting. It backlit the army that had come to take Elend’s kingdom from him.
“How many?” Elend asked quietly.
“Fifty thousand, we think,” Ham said, leaning against the parapet, beefy arms folded on the stone. Like everything in the city, the wall had been stained black by countless years of ashfalls.
“Fifty thousand soldiers . . .” Elend said, trailing off. Despite heavy recruitment, Elend barely had twenty thousand men under his command—and they were peasants with less than a year of training. Maintaining even that small number was straining his resources. If they’d been able to find the Lord Ruler’s atium, perhaps things would be different. As it was, Elend’s rule was in serious danger of economic disaster.
“What do you think?” Elend asked.
“Idon’t know, El,” Ham said quietly. “Kelsier was always the one with the vision.”
“But you helped him plan,” Elend said. “You and the others, you were his crew. You were the ones who came up with a strategy for overthrowing the empire, then made it happen.”
Ham fell silent, and Elend felt as if he knew what the man was thinking. Kelsier was central to it all. He was the one who organized, the one who took all of the wild brainstorming and turned it into a viable operation. He was the leader. The genius.
And he’d died a year before, on the very same day that the people—as part of his secret plan—had risen up in fury to overthrow their god emperor. Elend had taken the throne in the ensuing chaos. Now it was looking more and more like he would lose everything that Kelsier and his crew had worked so hard to accomplish. Lose it to a tyrant who might be even worse than the Lord Ruler. A petty, devious bully in “noble” form. The man who had marched his army on Luthadel.
Elend’s own father, Straff Venture.
“Any chance you can . . . talk him out of attacking?” Ham asked.
“Maybe,” Elend said hesitantly. “Assuming the Assembly doesn’t just surrender the city.”
“I don’t know, honestly. I worry that they are. That army has frightened them, Ham.” And with good reason, he thought. “Anyway, I have a proposal for the meeting in two days. I’ll try to talk them out of doing anything rash. Dockson got back today, right?”
Ham nodded. “Just before the army’s advance.”
“I think we should call a meeting of the crew,” Elend said. “See if we can come up with a way out of this.”
“We’ll still be pretty shorthanded,” Ham said, rubbing his chin. “Spook isn’t supposed to be back for another week, and the Lord Ruler only knows where Breeze went. We haven’t had a message from him in months.”
Elend sighed, shaking his head. “I can’t think of anything else, Ham.” He turned, staring out over the ashen landscape again. The army was lighting campfires as the sun set. Soon, the mists would appear.
I need to get back to the palace and work on that proposal, Elend thought.
“Where’d Vin run off to?” Ham asked, turning back to Elend.
Elend paused. “You know,” he said, “I’m not sure.”
Vin landed softly on the damp cobblestones, watching as the mists began to form around her. They puffed into existence as darkness fell, growing like tangles of translucent vines, twisting and wrapping around one another.
The great city of Luthadel was still. Even now, a year after the Lord Ruler’s death and the rise of Elend’s new free government, the common people stayed in their homes at night. They feared the mists, a tradition that went far deeper than the Lord Ruler’s laws.
Vin slipped forward quietly, senses alert. Inside herself, as always, she burned tin and pewter. Tin enhanced her senses, making it easier for her to see in the night. Pewter made her body stronger, made her lighter on her feet. These, along with copper—which had the power to hide her use of Allomancy from others who were burning bronze—were metals that she left on almost all the time.
Some called her paranoid. She thought herself prepared. Either way, the habit had saved her life on numerous occasions.
She approached a quiet street corner and paused, peeking out. She’d never really understood how she burned metals; she could remember doing it for as long as she’d been alive, using Allomancy instinctively even before she was formally trained by Kelsier. It didn’t really matter to her. She wasn’t like Elend; she didn’t need a logical explanation for everything. For Vin, it was enough that when she swallowed bits of metal, she was able to draw upon their power.
Power she appreciated, for she well knew what it was like to lack it. Even now, she was not what one would likely envision as a warrior. Slight of frame and barely five feet tall, with dark hair and pale skin, she knew she had an almost frail look about her. She no longer displayed the underfed look she had during her childhood on the streets, but she certainly wasn’t someone any man would find intimidating.
She liked that. It gave her an edge—and she needed every edge she could get.
She also liked the night. During the day, Luthadel was cramped and confining despite its size. But at night the mists fell like a deep cloud. They dampened, softened, shaded. Massive keeps became shadowed mountains, and crowded tenements melted together like a chandler’s rejected wares.
Vin crouched beside her building, still watching the intersection. Carefully, she reached within herself and burned steel—one of the other metals she’d swallowed earlier. Immediately, a group of translucent blue lines sprang up around her. Visible only to her eyes, the lines pointed from her chest to nearby sources of metal—all metals, no matter what type. The thickness of the lines was proportionate to the size of the metal pieces they met. Some pointed to bronze door latches, others to crude iron nails holding boards together.
She waited silently. None of the lines moved. Burning steel was an easy way to tell if someone was moving nearby. If they were wearing bits of metal, they would trail telltale moving lines of blue. Of course, that wasn’t the main purpose of steel. Vin reached her hand carefully into her belt pouch and pulled out one of the many coins that sat within, muffled by cloth batting. Like all other bits of metal, this coin had a blue line extending from its center to Vin’s chest.
She flipped the coin into the air, then mentally grabbed its line and—burning steel—Pushed on the coin. The bit of metal shot into the air, arcing through the mists, forced away by the Push. It plinked to the ground in the middle of the street.
The mists continued to spin. They were thick and mysterious, even to Vin. More dense than a simple fog and more constant than any normal weather pattern, they churned and flowed, making rivulets around her. Her eyes could pierce them; tin made her sight more keen. The night seemed lighter to her, the mists less thick. Yet, they were still there.
A shadow moved in the city square, responding to her coin—which she had Pushed out into the square as a signal. Vin crept forward, and recognized OreSeur the kandra. He wore a different body than he had a year ago, during the days when he had acted the part of Lord Renoux. Yet, this balding, nondescript body had now become just as familiar to Vin.
OreSeur met up with her. “Did you find what you were looking for, Mistress?” he asked, tone respectful—yet somehow still a little hostile. As always.
Vin shook her head, glancing around in the darkness. “Maybe I was wrong,” she said. “Maybe I wasn’t being followed.” The acknowledgment made her a bit sad. She’d been looking forward to sparring with the Watcher again tonight. She still didn’t even know who he was; the first night, she’d mistaken him for an assassin. And maybe he was. Yet, he seemed to display very little interest in Elend—and a whole lot of interest in Vin.
“We should go back to the wall,” Vin decided, standing up. “Elend will be wondering where I went.”
OreSeur nodded. At that moment, a burst of coins shot through the mists, spraying toward Vin.
Copyright © 2007 by Brandon Sanderson. All rights reserved.
Excerpted from The Well of Ascension by Sanderson, Brandon Copyright © 2008 by Sanderson, Brandon. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
The battle to take the Lord Ruler down is over and the rebels won although it was Vin who struck the decisive lethal blow. Now that the empire is destroyed kingdoms with petty rulers as their monarchs want to take his place. Two such rulers are besieging the Central Dominance¿s largest city Luthadel, where Vin¿s lover Elend rules as a benevolent king who insisted on having a council with real powers help make the laws. --- Vin is one of the most powerful Mistborns in the former empire who burns all the metals in her body, each giving her an incredible power. She is her lover¿s bodyguard because she knows his enemies from within the city and without will try to kill him. She loves him dearly but isn¿t sure she is good enough for him because he was raised as a noble and she was once a homeless street urchin who went from one gang to another for protection. One of the kings taking part in the siege is Elend¿s father who has a Mistborn ally Zane who is enchanted by Vin and makes her question her role in Elend¿s life. --- Readers will be fascinated by what takes place in a city under siege and root for Vin and Elend to live through this dangerous time. Although there is as much introspection as there is action in THE WELL OF ASCENSION readers will become so absorbed in the plot that they will be unable to put the book down because the characters fascinate them. Told in the third person viewpoint by many characters, this epic fantasy is a stand alone book although a clear successor to Book One MISTBORN --- Harriet Klausner
When I picked up the 1st book, I was skeptical. After reading a few pages, I was hooked. As soon as I finished, I was looking for the second book. I was not disappointed. The only down side is everyone was telling me I looked tired today :-)
This whole series is very good, continuing the interesting premise/background of the first book. Love 'em all.
I thought the first book in this series was good, but this one was even better! I couldn't hardly put it down and I'm looking forward to the third book. It's definitely a must read.
the war against the lord ruler is over and now vin is trying to protect her new bf while he is now the ruler of luthadel.Vin is one of the most powerful Mistborns in the world but vin's only weakness would be that she thinks she would never be good enough for elend. for me this book was amazing once i picked it up i could not put it down, in my opinion it is better than the first. i think people would love the little romance between vin and elend, but would really love the action that goes on through out the book. i think who ever reads this would be into it as much as i was to the point where they could never put the book down
Thus far, Sanderson is delivering everything you would expect from a good fantasy novel: he's got excellent well-developed characters, an evolving and intricate plot, and a unique concept to differentiate his novels. I have been very impressed by these books, and look forward to continuing the series. If you liked this series, you might also like "Magician: Apprentice" by Raymond E. Feist (especially from "Silverthorn" on...), "Assassin's Apprentice" by Robin Hobb, "Way of Shadows" by Brent Weeks, "Kushiel's Dart" by Jacqueline Carey, and "Magician's Guild" by Trudi Canavan, and "Thief's Gamble" by Juliet E. Mckenna, and "A Shadow in Summer" by Daniel Abraham (Phew!).
I really like how this series turns many of the cliches of fantasy on their head. The events of this book are neither predictable nor unsupported by the book. Sanderson manages to surprise you and keep you interested without resorting to out of the blue twists. I also would love to meet Vin in real life.
Yeah, bud. Now this is an excellent 2nd book. Led my tearing right into the third.
Very imaginative science fiction. Well written, although it's obvious that Sanderson has refined his craft since he wrote this series.
The Well of Ascension ¿ The Lord Ruler is dead. The skaa people are free. Yet Kelsier¿s dream and Vin¿s victory has come at a hefty price and with unpredictable consequences. With The Lord Ruler¿s power no longer gripping the land, a chain reaction has been set off. The mists that once only came at night now venture out during the day, and they are killing. The koloss, massive creatures created by the Lord Ruler to act as his army have been untethered and are now rampaging, destroying everything in their path. And then there is the Deepness. A dark force that the Lord Ruler controlled and contained for a thousand years that now thumps within Vin¿s allomantic body, confusing her, tempting her and ultimately luring her towards a destiny deemed to be that of the true Hero of Ages.Elend Venture is now King, but leading a world doesn¿t come without troubles. A power struggle erupts among the members of Elend¿s newly formed government and one of Elend¿s biggest threats is his own father, Straff Venture who descends upon Luthadel with an army to vie for power.Other problems face Elend and his friends, for OreSeur the kandra whose Contract was transferred to Vin after Kelsier¿s death has discovered that another of his kind is lurking amongst Vin and Elend¿s closest friends and advisors.While Vin is staked and taunted by Elend¿s Mistborn half-brother Zane, Sazed is joined by a woman Terrisman, Tindwyl in a desperate attempt to translate an inscription of prophecies surrounding the Well of Ascension and the Hero of Ages. But even in that respect the translations aren¿t what they seem.With the koloss gathering for a siege against Luthadel, Sazed convinces Vin to search out the Well of Ascension and Vin agrees taking with her Elend and Spook. Upon returning back to Luthadel Vin arrives to witness the koloss attack and all seems lost until during a battle against Zane, OreSeur is revealed to be the impostor kandra, TenSoon. TenSoon torn between his obligation to Elend¿s father who holds his Contract and Vin who he¿s come to respect and care for goes against his people and breaks his Contract in order to help Vin save the city from the rampaging koloss beasts.The second book in the Mistborn Trilogy is much more about battles and power struggles, filled with lessons in educating Elend in the art of leadership. Vin¿s role becomes that of protector even though she is still discovering what her Mistborn abilities are. Again, I would recommend this book for it is rich in details and as action-packed as the first in the series.
I really enjoy the different take on special powers based on metals that Sanderson has developed in this world. The story is exciting and keeps moving, despite its longer length. It almost never drags or loses focus.
One year after the fall of the Lord Ruler and the world is a very different place. The mists, once constrained to the night begin to emerge during the day. There is suspicion that the mists have the ability to kill and figures seem to exist in its swirling patterns. Elend Venture is now king of Luthadel, attempting to lead his kingdom via democracy. Enemy armies gather outside Luthadel's gates in search of the coveted allomantic metal Atium. Vin, Mistborn and destroyer of the Lord Ruler, hones her skills as an allomancer s and is being called by something beyond the mists.Brandon Sanderson's world of The Mistborn is flawlessly continued in the second installment of the series. The story shifts to focus more on the politics of the empire, as Elend learns that democracy, though is philosophically ideal, may not be the correct route to take when under siege. The action sequences continue to be the highlight of the series. As Vin grows in power, so follows the carnage. A brilliant continuation of the series.
Middle volumes of a trilogy are supposed to be weak. They advance the plot to setup the finale without the same sort of world-altering excitement of volume one or climactic rage of the final installment.The Well of Ascension is not your typical middle book. It's The Empire Strikes Back of trilogies (and everyone knows Empire was the best Star Wars flick). True, it advances the plot without the same sort of urgency or climax of volumes one or (I would suspect) three. It is a game-changer in the Mistborn world, though.The book is centred on a simple question: what do the heroes do with the world after the big bad evil is defeated? Sanderson plays with and challenges classic fantasy paradigms that will leave you scratching your head in amazement after you've read the last page.The character development of Sazed is an unexpected treat. The way Sanderson explores his style of magic is breathtaking.Needless to say, I'm firmly hooked and have already started The Hero of Ages.
Great book. This is definitely the middle book of a trilogy, but what I'm enjoying so far with this series, is that each book is a complete tale in and of itself. Yes, there is still a quest to fulfill, but the adventure in this one is contained. This explores the relationship between Vin and Elend. Each character is allowed to grow and change and I see ominous signs for the future. There are so many issues touched on in this book; leadership, belief, love and killing are just a few. I think the author stays true to his characters. I am really looking forward to reading the next volume!
The first Mistborn was one of the finest examples of fantasy I've read. Sanderson uses familiar fantasy elements in a familiar way. But he does it so expertly that you feel like he's actually the master, and the originals were the copies. The second book continues this pattern, expanding Sanderson's world and providing an equally enthralling, equally surprising end.In fact, I feel like the Well of Ascension may actually be superior in many was to the first Mistborn novel. The action sequences I enjoyed in book one, are taken to a whole new level in the book two. The description is crisp, and clear and easy to picture in the mind's eye. The characterization is not so much improved as given greater depth, as the pressures of trying to keep the kingdom together, living up to the memory of Kelsier, and the looming realization that all may not be as it seems. Because Sanderson introduces a few new characters and because of the plot line involving a possible traitor, I felt like he missed the opportunity to expand some of the original characters. Characters like Dockson become background noise, almost cookie-cutter as there just isn't room for them, and keeping them at arm's length is necessary for the mystery. Still, that's a minor flaw, and I would recommend Mistborn 1 and 2 to anyone who enjoys reading. It is the pinnacle of what heroic fantasy represents. In our time, there is no greater example.I don't have a lot to say in this review, because Mistborn speaks for itself.
I have read a number of books by Sanderson and loved them all. I loved Warbreaker, Elantris, and the first Mistborn book. I was excited to read more about Vin and Elend, and find out about the bigger disasters that happened after they took over the city. This was a great book and a great addition to the series.This book starts shortly after Mistborn ended. Vin is spending time trying to keep Elend safe from assassins and Elend is trying to set up government in the city of Luthadel. Unfortunately two armies have camped outside of Luthadel and they both want Luthadel for its Atium. Elend is trying to figure out how to stave off envasion when he finds out about the threat of a third armed force. Vin is pushing herself trying to guard the city full time when she runs into another mysterious Mistborn, to add to the mystery she thinks things are changing with the Mists and that Luthadel may be facing a danger much bigger than any invading armies.This was a really wonderful book. Sanderson has such a way with characters; they are all so lovable and human. He balances out politics, action, and characterization so well. I was really attached to the characters in this book...and there are a lot of them. I never felt like it was hard to keep them all straight and I never found the magic system and politics too confusing. It takes a great writer to craft a story this complex and still make it easy for the reader to follow.This book was politics heavy, especially for the first two-thirds. I am not a big fan of complex prolonged politics, so I didn't like this book quite as much as the first one. That being said it is a testament to Sanderson's skill that I was still completely engaged in this story despite the fact that the first part focused almost solely on the politics surrounding Luthandel. The end of the book races by twice as fast as the first part and is packed with battle and action.This book touches on a lot of deep issues as well such as good vs evil, democracy vs. dictatorship, morality and ethics. These are all well balanced with the other elements of the book. Sanderson makes epic fantasy more personable and I love the fact that women play large roles in his books. When I was younger I always got sick of epic fantasies that either ignored women or featured them in weak, less desirable roles. This book is about Elend and Vin in equal parts and it is wonderful to see that.We learn a lot more about the history of some of the different races and also a lot more about Allomancy. The story ends in a great spot, tying up many of the issues presented early on while starting a big story for the third book.Overall an absolutely excellent book. Sanderson is just such a fabulous writer; his writing is complex, easy to read, engaging, creative and absolutely engrossing. I am very excited to read the final book in the trilogy, The Hero of Ages, to see how it all plays out. If you are a fan of epic fantasy this book is for you.
As with most trilogies, this is the weakest of the three. I found most of the plot backloaded in the book, with the beginning dealing a lot with Vin and Elend¿s waffling on their relationship.
The second in Sanderson¿s Mistborn series, this book continues the story of Vin and Elend as they try to build a nation after destroying The Lord Ruler. It¿s difficult discussing Sanderson¿s writing in much detail without creating one giant spoiler because his stories are so rich in action and detail.This book sustains the pensive, dark tone of the first. The characters remain unsure of themselves and struggle to meet the demands of their new positions. Their flaws prevent them from reaching goals, making good decisions and accomplishing tasks; leading to much tragedy. One incredibly poor choice at the end of the book, based on misplaced trust, has a cataclysmic result but sets the stage for the next book in the series, The Hero of Ages.There is a heavy emphasis on political science and civics in this book. Most interesting was the discussion around the intertwining of religion with the existing monarchy in an attempt to maintain control. Ultimately, it¿s simply power and strategy that stabilize the government.While it¿s well within the overall tone of the book, Sanderson has become more graphic and violent with this story. If you have a favorite character from the first book, odds are they may not survive this one.
Although not quite as awesome as the first book in the series, this one also kicked major butt. The characters bloomed, becoming extremely nuanced and interesting. The moral shades of gray made it easy to sympathize with even unlikable characters. The bad guys became nuanced, too. Sometimes it was hard to figure out who the bad guys were. I really enjoyed the read. Vin is an exciting heroine, although I find that the king is my favorite.
I feel this book was better than the first (Mistborn) in the trilogy. Not often can I say that, in fact I tend to dread the second book as they tend to be light on plot and just moving you along to get all the players in the right place for the grand finale. This had that, but man does Sanderson write a good novel doing it. So good in fact, that I didn't realize this was a typical second novel, until after I had finished this one. Vin and Eland come alive in this book and while they are not perfect (in fact often quite the opposite), I could really feel empathy for these characters. I can't wait to dive into book 3. Sanderson isn't always the easiest read, but it is so worth the effort!
This is the second book in Sanderson's Mistborn trilogy. While still highly recommended, it received half a star less from me than the first book because it felt like this one dragged just a bit. But not too much! There's still plenty of action, and even a little romance in this installment. The mystery of the Well of Ascension kept me guessing until the end, and the ending sets up the third book nicely. Of course, I still haven't received the third book through LT Early Reviewers yet! I'm very anxiously awaiting it so I can find out what happens to Vin and Elend!
A great series with a unique 'power' angle. I am so glad that the 'Wheel of Time' brought this author to my attention.
I didn't like this as much as the first one. I always find plot devices that involve making the main character do something obviously embarrassing/stupid to be annoying.
Ok - I loved the first book, but I'm relegating this one to the "didn't finish" pile. I just couldn't get into the story, and it made me cringe to think of picking it up again. So sad.