Honestly? I was just a little underwhelmed. I’d really become overhyped on The Final Empire because I found it so utterly fantastic I started to fangirl a little bit. The Well of Ascension took way too long to happen. The entire novel seemed to be just hinting at the main plotline and focusing on other things and I found myself bored way too often, having to force myself to keep reading. And you know? I was going to give this book a 3 star rating because of it. Not terrible, but nowhere near Final Empire standards. It was the ending that really saved this book. Finally, the story the book was named after shone through all of the warring and politics and things started to look up a bit, and my interest was recaptured. Not soon enough, sadly, to save my opinion of the novel as being “okay, worth reading if you liked the first one, but if you didn’t, don’t bother”, but enough to crank it up to a 3.5 star rating. ((4 on Goodreads))
The shocking events that had me in tears ((shutup, I get emotional with these things)) in The Final Empire barely impacted me in The Well of Ascension, perhaps one or two moments, but it didn’t even come close. The point of view, whilst I see the sense in flicking between people, perhaps flicked between too many characters, to the point that some scenes felt a bit damp because they could have been written from somebody else’s point of view, and I think that would have given them a lot more impact. That being said, using different people’s point of view in a third person context does make this novel very strong where first person narrative sometimes fails. You don’t have to worry quite so much about the unreliable narrator because of the differing points of view, and it also can keep you interested. I have often found in first person narrative novels that the main character ends up droning on and I’d just like them to shutup.
The other thing I have an issue with is the mysteries. Everything seems to be a mystery, every point in the novel seems to be uncertain. Whilst this might be realistic from the characters’ points of view, as the reader, it gets very frustrating not really knowing what’s going on. That might just be me though. I found myself hoping that perhaps something might make sense at some point, I know mystery is a pretty big thing in epic fantasy, and it is what brings about the twists and turns, but please, don’t overdo it.
Though, delightfully, I did not see those last 30ish pages coming. I can be quite slow in noticing twists, and I suppose one of them I had picked up on earlier on and then forgot about, though I still didn’t expect the form it might take, but the big twist – did not see that coming. Well done, Mr. Sanderson for renewing my faith in this series at the last minute!