Friday, July 24, 2015

The Well of Ascension by Brandon Sanderson | Discussion Post #1

It's been a while but Courtney from CourtneyReads and I are back with our buddy read of the Mistborn Trilogy. We're onto book number two: The Well of Ascension. If you haven't read these books before, definitely pick them up! Here are the rest of our discussions below:

What are your expectations going into this novel after finishing The Final Empire?

Courtney: Going into the second book of a series is always difficult. The Final Empire is an excellent read, but Second Book Syndrome has a tendency of dragging down a good thing. I’m hoping for more building of the characters and magic system. Expectations are definitely set very high.  

Saloni: I honestly loved The Final Empire and Brandon Sanderson has already set the bar so high with every aspect of the book. I hope the rest of the series continues this beautiful trend that Sanderson has started, but of course I am a little wary. Sequels are known for being worse than their original counterparts but I’m hoping that is not the case for this series.

Any thoughts on OreSeur, Vin’s kandra?

Courtney: OreSeur is an interesting addition. He was present in The Final Empire, but we never really saw him. The contract is constantly being mentioned, so I think that will play some role. I don’t know if he will break the contract in some way, but there has to be something going on here. The obvious dislike he and Vin have for each other is also an interesting touch to the story. It will be interesting to see how this partnership works out.

Saloni: He has an interesting complexity to him. There’s constantly this reminder of the Contract, which essentially binds the kandra to Vin. I feel like the strength of the contract will come into play somehow within the plot. It might save Vin or it might end up killing her. I know Kelsier essentially bought the Contract, but is there a way for the Contract to switch hands or perhaps run out? It’s possible that if that happens the kandra could turn on Vin?

Do you think that Elend will be able to defend his kingdom against Straff and Cett?

Courtney: This will likely be the major plot of the novel. Elend obviously can’t defend himself with force, but he’s a genius in many ways and has been reading on politics his entire life. I don’t know if Elend’s kingdom will fall, but I think he will come up with a plan to defeat at least one of his opponents. If he can get his kingdom to listen to him.

Saloni: We know that Elend’s army is way too small to physically defeat Straff and Cett’s armies and I don’t think they’re going to be defeated right away (mostly because there has to be some type of story). I think Elend is going to try to use negotiations and intelligence in order to defeat at least one of the other armies.

What are your thoughts about the Watcher, the other Mistborn that haunts the city?  

Courtney: He’s definitely an intriguing character. Is he bad or good? A little of both, perhaps? He obviously doesn’t want Vin dead...yet at least. He has to have some bigger plan at work, but until we learn more about him it’s hard to say what he might be planning and how that will affect Vin, Elend, and the rest of the crew.

Saloni: Honestly, I’m not completely sure. He’s obviously crucial to the plot somehow, but I do think it’s important that he’s not a bloodthirsty assassin like we’ve already seen. He’s planning something, but I don’t think he wants Vin dead. I think he needs her for some plan he’s concocting.

Who do you think is the imposter in Kelsier’s crew?

Courtney: There are so many different ways this element could play out. I feel like it being one of the Crew is actually a stretch. It just doesn’t feel right. I also don’t think it’s Elend. Perhaps it’s not someone in the inner circle, but someone on Elend’s staff or in his army. Someone with just enough power to get to Elend and the crew, but not enough to sway things too drastically.

Saloni: The one thing I’ve learned from mysteries is that the truth is something completely unexpected. Now that Vin has already suspected so many people, I don’t think it’s Spook, Dockson, or Clubs. I have one of two theories: one is that it’s Elend, which is very unlikely but the first thing I thought nonetheless, and the other is that the imposter isn’t even in Kelsier’s crew but rather someone else. Maybe the kandra digested the Lord Ruler’s body? There’s so much that could happen, I have no idea.

What are your thoughts on Vin and Elend’s relationship so far?

Courtney: While I really love the Vin and Elend pairing, I’m not sure it’s presented in the best way. Part of this might be how frustrating Vin can sometimes be to me. There’s an imbalance in their relationship: she’s a Mistborn, but he’s the king. I want more development here. I’m still for their relationship, I just don’t know how I feel about some of it so far.

Saloni: It’s a very interesting relationship and I’m not completely sure I love it as much as I used to. I’ve noticed that the crew tends to talk around Vin as though she’s not even there, treating her very much like a child. While Vin is extremely strong and independent, Elend’s superior position seems to cast Vin to the side and as soon as she’s in his presence she becomes a young teenager in my mind.

How do you think the lack of atium will play into the main plot?

Courtney: It will definitely affect the Mistborn, since some of them have it and others don’t, but it could also be a hinderance to the kingdom as a whole. Since the Lord Ruler’s atium supply was nonexistent there could be problems for Elend and trying to maintain the kingdom. The use of atium by Mistborn seems to be where most of the issues would come in.  

Saloni: So far it’s been affecting the Mistborns, specifically Vin. But I think it will become a method of negotiation somehow. Perhaps the logbook will make a reappearance and lead Elend and the crew to the stockpile of atium that the Lord Ruler had. I think it would make as a good negotiating resource.