Well of Ascension Blog Tour, Part II

Chaos and stability, the mist was both.  Upon the land there was an empire, within that empire were a dozen shattered kingdoms, within those kingdoms were cities, towns, villages, plantations.  And above them all, within them all, around them all, was the mist.  It was more constant than the sun, for it could not be hidden by clouds.  It was more powerful than the storms, for it would outlast any weather’s fury.  It was always there.  Changing, but eternal.

Hey everyone, and welcome to the second week of the Well of Ascension readalong!  Sorry this wasn’t up at midnight; a major electrical storm with 70mph winds kept knocking out the power, and Virginia is a bit of a mess right now.

For anyone who missed last week’s discussion, it can be found here over at Stainless Steel Droppings.  This post and the comments will contain major plot spoilers for Part 2 of the book, so if you haven’t read it you might want to stop reading now.

The above artwork is Koloss by JasperSandner.  It seemed fitting considering that there’s an army of 20,000 Koloss’ marching toward Luthadel.  I’m curious how Lekal is able to control them and whether that control is going to be strong enough to keep them from turning on him and causing chaos.

One of the most interesting things about this week’s reading is that we know that somebody in Vin’s inner circle is a Kandra.  Does anyone have any guesses as to who it might be?  We’ve eliminated some potential candidates, but not everyone, and it’s starting to have a major impact on how affairs in Luthadel are playing out.  We already saw that with Lord Straff and the way that he anticipated Elend’s moves in their negotiations up until he decided to threaten to send Vin against him.

Speaking of Kandra, I’m loving watching the relationship between Vin and OreSeur unfold, and I loved hearing more about Kandra nature and beliefs.  I think that once Vin gets over her jealousy that the two of them will make great friends.  I’m also willing to bet that jealousy is at least a small part of why Vin doesn’t like Tindwyl.  She’s giving advice to Elend on how to be a better king, and he’s listening to her and spending a lot of time with her.

How do you think Elend’s doing as  a King?  I’m liking Tindwyl’s influence on him, and was frustrated by the fact that Elend got deposed right when he was finally starting to be acceptable in fulfilling his new position.  Thus far, Elend’s been too idealistic to be an effective ruler.  Much as democracy is nice, I don’t think that Luthadel was ready for it quite yet, and the Council is making the city weaker than it needs to be when facing a shitload of armies.  Elend needed to have been able to make his own decisions and have them carry authority, otherwise the Council is going to act out of self-preservation rather than taking risks that might allow Luthadel to come out on top.

What do you guys think about Zane?  I’m intrigued by the voices in his head and the way that he doesn’t listen to them, but I’m hoping that he will listen to them when they demand that he kill Straff.  That would be an incredibly convenient thing for him to do, so I doubt that it’s going to happen.  Do you think he’s got it in him to kill Vin, or will he rebel against Straff?  I’m not sure that he’s even capable of beating her.

As far as other potential discussion starters go, what parts of this week’s reading stood out to you the most?  What do you think is going to happen next?

36 thoughts on “Well of Ascension Blog Tour, Part II

  1. I’m going to give my thoughts from my first read through, so I don’t give away any spoilers! It’s been so great to revisit this book. I loved this section, particularly the way Elend has grown. I’m not sure I fully trust Tindwyl, but I did like seeing another side of her in that shopping trip with Vin. Plus it seems that Sazed really does trust her, so I’m coming around to like her a bit more now. This section really does end on a cliffhanger though with Elend deposed. Part of me wants to groan that he was idealistic enough to put in a clause that allowed him to be deposed. You’re right – I’m not sure Luthadel was really ready for a true democracy. They needed to get there slowly, and a kind, good man as dictator for a short time probably would have done them better than a full democracy immediately. Then again, I’m not sure Kelsier’s crew would have been all up for that, especially Dockson. I’m starting to like Dockson less and less. And for that reason, I’m hoping that he’s the one that ends up being the Kandra spy. I liked Dockson a lot in the first book, but he’s turned into kind of a jerk here, and I’d rather him go than the others. At least we’ve eliminated spook, ham, and breeze. And I doubt it’s Elend, as the whole confrontation between him and Straff would make no sense – plus, we’ve seen inside his head as a narrator, so I refuse to believe it’s him. Definitely leaning towards Dockson!

    Zane intrigues me. Those voices he hears are creepy! And the scars on his arms – do you think he was in the Pits like Vin said? Maybe he snapped there, like Kelsier? Or do you think it’s because he has this tendency to cut himself open when the voices get too bad? I want to know more about his background. He’s certainly making things messy between Vin and Elend. They both need to talk! They’re convincing themselves that the other can’t possible understand or really love them, or at least approve of their actions. Sigh.

    I’m loving the relationship between OreSeur and Vin, though I’m not sure it’s really jealousy that’s the problem. I think they both have their prejudices, and will both have to get over them. It’s been neat to see the way they have become grudging semi-friends in here. I like learning more about kandra history.

    On the other hand, the koloss are terrifying! They were mentioned near the beginning of the first book, and a lot of people on our readalong were speculating about them, and then they never show up. Well…now we know why everyone was afraid, no?

    1. I don’t think that Zane was in the Pits. I think he uses the pain of cutting himself to maintain a sense of control over the voices. It’s another sensation that’s more powerful than they are. I see him as kind of a foil for Vin… he’s what she would have turned into if she hadn’t learned how to trust.

      My bet is on Dockson too. He seems a bit off. Of course, that makes me think that maybe it won’t be him, because I never guess correctly in Sanderson books.

      1. Yeah, Sanderson is too good at keeping us guessing, isn’t he! I’m glad I’m not the only one suspecting Dockson.

        I don’t think Zane was in the Pits either, though I could see Straff putting him there just to see if they would “break” him and make him Snap, since he’s so interested in Misting/Mistborn children. He is such a disgusting man.

        1. I wonder if part of the reason why Straff always thought of Elend as weak is because Elend seems to be one of the only one of his sons that doesn’t have Allomantic powers.

        2. Straff wouldn’t send Zane to the Pits to make him snap. Remember that using allomancy near the atium geodes caused them to shatter and become worthless for a couple hundred years or so, which is why it was bad that Kelsier snapped there. A large part of House Venture’s financial and political power came from managing the pits, Straff wouldn’t jeopardize that by sending someone there who might snap and interrupt the collection of atium. Sanderson discusses how Straff tried to get his children to snap, I’d say exactly how but I don’t remember which book it’s in and I don’t want to spoil it, even if it is a very minor plot point.

          1. Good point on the Atium… I hadn’t even thought of that. I wonder if the part about Straff’s kids shows up in this book or a different one. Straff has such a weird family dynamic.

            1. I suppose having a slightly insane megalomaniac for a father would cause a weird family dynamic, but I can’t really say. Most of my family members are just insane, they don’t have that megalomanic streak in them. Oh well, that’s why we read, to experience different things.

              1. Mhm. I think that seeing Straff interact with his various kids might also explain how they came to develop as they did. We see that with Elend and the way that he deliberately does things to piss his father off, and we see a weird form of subservient rebelliousness from Zane, but both of their personalities seem to have been shaped as a reaction to Straff.

    2. The Koloss are definitely terrifying and I love the artwork chosen here – it’s pretty spot on as how I was imagining them to look.
      I really like the way OreSeur is developing. In the first book he was a bit of a bland character and I didn’t have a feel for him at all. I think it’s really good that Vin is getting past her distaste and actually starting to see his POV a little and I think it’s really good that he’s actually stepping outside the contract a little and offering more information and assistance without being pushed into doing so.
      I quite like Zane – although at this point I can’t quite decide if he’s going to become a help or a hindrance.
      Definitely keen to read on!
      Lynn 😀

      1. I kind of like the way that OreSeur was introduced so vaguely in the last book. Even as Renoux we didn’t know much about him, but now we’re seeing a distinct personality. It’s similar to the way that we’re seeing more world-building in this book based on the same elements that were briefly introduced in the first book.

  2. The idea of the hidden Kandra within the group is going to be interesting to follow throughout the course of the group read. During the first book, a very common thought from everyone in the group read was that someone in the crew was going to betray the others. Well, in this book there is definitely going to be a betrayal, and I can’t wait to see everyone’s speculation about who it is.

    I’d imagine that part of the reason Vin doesn’t like Tindwyl is simply because she just showed up in the story. Vin spent her entire life prior to the first book keeping people out of her life. It took her desire to learn allomancy to get her to stay with the crew at all. This book starts about a year after Mistborn, so she still isn’t quite willing to accept people right away. And that fact that she’s spending so much time with Elend isn’t helping things either.

    Elend is finally getting a wake up call and realizing that his way of doing things won’t always work. Tindwyl definitely did a lot to get him to act more authoritatively, but he’s still a very honorable person who would rather be deposed than go against the law that he helped create.

    I love Zane as a character, but then again characters that are insane are usually fun to read about. I suppose we’ll have to wait and see what ends up happening with Vin and Zane.

    1. I’m not sure what I think of Zane yet. I’m a bit resentful of him because he seems to be shifting the dynamic between Vin and Elend to almost be a love triangle, and I don’t want to see that happen. At the same time, I think that Zane’s insanity is a lot of fun.

    2. I think also that Tindwyl works by provoking her ‘students’ and that also irritates Vin: she isn’t happy about anyone being rude to Elend.

  3. Hi Grace/everyone
    I’m really enjoying the second book so far. I definitely think it has a different feel to book number 1 (for me at least) but I’m liking it. I’m really enjoying the relationship which seems to be growing between Vin and OreSeur and I like the fact that she has started to see things a little bit more from his point of view. The Kandra are totally fascinating – I think I could read quite a bit about them without ever getting bored. I think this whole storyline of a kandra hidden amonst them is brilliant. I just wish that Vin could figure out how to use her Mistborn talents to seek this spy out.
    I thought the confrontation between Elend and his father was really well done. Straff really is just an awful character and one that you really want to get his just desserts! It was great that Vin was able to work his emotions the way she did but I felt sorry for her during that whole confrontation. Mainly because of Zane and the fact that he was sort of playing on her own insecurities. The whole difference thing between Vin and Elend seems to be becoming much more pronounced and seems also to be driving a wedge between them, particularly as they seem unable (or unwilling) to communicate what it is they’re both feeling. It definitely seems like Zane has more in common with Vin and so it should be interesting to see how that relationship develops. I just can’t make my mind up about Zane. As crazy as it might sound I like him – I think the name ‘watcher’ was perfectly applied for him also as he really has been sitting back and taking good note. He seems to like Vin and even though he’s having these conflicted thoughts I can’t help hoping that maybe she’ll have a positive effect on him. Or maybe he’ll just snap and become the evil baddie! I think he could make quite a good evil character (which i realise sounds a bit conflicted given that I seem to like him but at the moment I think he’s balanced on a knife edge and could go either way)
    Well spotted Grace about the scars on Zane’s arms – that never even occured to me, even though we’d already been given an insight into this earlier on. I just thought that maybe he’d snapped down the mines in the same way as Kel and that’s how his Mistborn abilities had finally surfaced.
    I’m happy that Sazed his back – he’s just one of those characters that when he steps into the scene you almost breathe a sigh of relief and stop hunching your shoulders! I don’t know why that is but he just has a very calming influence.
    Lynn 😀

    1. I agree with you about Sazed: he is still my favourite character and I trust him implicitly. I was very worried about Tindwyl, but having Sazed trust her makes me a little less anxious about her intentions.

      1. Lynn, I’m curious about the Mistborn having been used to hunt Kandra in the past. It shows that there’s something a Mistborn should be able to detect about them, even the ones who aren’t replacing people who were Allomancers. I’m curious as to what it is.

        I’m so glad that we’re getting to see more of Sazed. His point-of-view parts are my favorites thus far. 🙂

  4. I finished the reading a bit late today but this part definitely read faster than the first part! I felt like things were moving along in all of the little plot lines. I do wonder what happened to Marsh though but I’m sure he’ll surface again at some point! I’m enjoying seeing another Terrisman, even if she’s a bit odd and I’m not sure if she can be trusted. The one I really don’t trust is Cett’s daughter. Why was she listening in on the group? I’m not sure if she’s playing dumb or not. Though it’s nice to see “Breezy” in a different light. 🙂 As for Zane, I really hope that Vin is able to save him and exorcise his demons (or his “God”) though I’m not sure I would want the two of them to end up together.

    1. Hi Kirsten, I keep forgetting about Cett’s daughter. I should keep a closer eye on this character and I’ve also wondered where Marsh is and what is he up to.

      1. I’d also totally forgotten about Cett’s daughter. She does seem to be acting a little bit like a spy, listening outside doors. I can’t yet understand what’s going on there. Breeze seems quite taken with her – at first i couldn’t help wonder if he’d soothed her and that’s why she liked him or whether it’s genuine affection. They just don’t seem right together somehow – perhaps she can also soothe and she’s worked Breeze over! Anyway, i definitely agree that something doesn’t seem quite right.
        Lynn 😀

    2. Cett’s daughter is totally annoying even if she isn’t a spy: all that bouncing about made me tired just reading her! 😀

    3. Cett’s daughter is so weird. I don’t like her mostly because she’s too happy and bouncy and girly. I’m not sure whether to think she’s a spy and distrust her, or whether she’s been so confined by her role as a noblewoman that listening at doors is good sport. I did like Tindwyl’s comment about how Vin shouldn’t judge her excitement over dresses though because that’s what she loves.

  5. Hello everyone…when we started the first section of this book I was surprised that the action was slowed down quite a bit. But during my reading of the second section I really started to appreciate this aspect. Sanderson is taking more time setting up some pretty interesting twists. Not that I’ve figured out any of the twists. He seems too good for that to happen so early (and we still have one more book).

    Like many of you, I’m enjoying learning more about kandra and OreSeur. Vin seems to warming up to him and he is letting her in more. Do we actually know if he is a he or she?

    So far Elend reminds me of some current political leaders. Too optimistic and eager to do good but doesn’t really understand how government works. He doesn’t know how to work the back rooms and the behind the scenes deals to ensure that he can get his own agenda passed. I prefer his type of government, open and honest, but I don’t think that has ever happened in history. Politics is a tricky business, which he is learning. That is one of the reasons why I love studying politics but would never ever get involved. I can’t lie and guilt works too much with me.

    I haven’t decided if I like Tindwyl yet. I’ve always enjoyed strong characters who have opinions, and she has many. But I don’t know if I trust her completely. Does she have her own agenda and if yes, what is it?

    And then there is Zane. A fascinating person who I have no idea how I should feel about. I feel for him, he had a tragic childhood and he’s insane as a result. But he is trying to pull Vin away from Elend and the group. And will there be a love triangle? I’m not too excited about that idea, but it would make for some interesting reading. I would feel bad for Elend though–he just seems clueless about a lot of things.

  6. The kolossi sound like the world’s worst army: totally badass but completely uncontrollable. I assume that Lekal is Soothing them, but he seems to be struggling with that and I can only hope that he gets close to the other 2 armies before he loses his grip on them. They will make a mess of both the human armies and might just break the siege and save the day by giving in to their blood-lust. I would like to know a bit more about their origins because they don’t seem natural: perhaps another invention of the Lord Ruler, like the Inquisitors?

    Assuming that OreSeur has been honest with Vin, it seems like we can rule out Spook, Ham and Breeze as the kandra. As Amanda says it is unlikely to be Elend, because that would stretch things too far after the meeting with Straff. I am not sure that I suspect Dockson, although his animosity towards Elend does seem to be odd, especially after a whole year. I guess it could be Clubs, but that would be a shame, and his response to the attack not he walls doesn’t seem correct if he is the traitor: surely he would have encouraged a full response rather than reassuring them that it wasn’t necessary? Of course, the fact that the defenders are rubbish could have a lot to do with him, so I am not sure.

    I like how Vin is starting to trust OreSeur and has grown wise enough to know how to try to make him trust her. In many ways they have a lot in common, so they should make natural allies if they can learnt to trust each other. This process has been made much easier by Vin’s choice of the dog’s body, because OreSeur has no personality to hide behind. I just wish that she could try to be as honest with Elend.

    It is good to see Elend gaining in confidence: having Straff as your father could stunt your self-esteem a little, I imagine! It is just unfortunate that the Assembly is his weak link at the moment: it will be interesting to see how he handles being deposed. I hope that the new Elend marches in to the assembly and tells them what to do, but I am not sure that he will break his own laws. It is a shame that the Assembly was totally unprepared for its democratic responsibility and so does not have the courage to stand up for the people.

    Zane is very intriguing. I am not sure about his scars: I can certainly see Straff sending him into the Pits in an attempt to Snap him into his powers. As House Venture was in control of the Pits, Straff was in a unique position to use the Pits in this way, especially after news of Kelsier’s story came to his attention. Of course, the scars could just be the result of self-harm, because he has certainly had a terrible life: no wonder he hears voices! It seems like Straff has only been successful in breeding Mistings via his skaa mistresses, although it sounds like he has bred an army of them. Zane is a real wild card: I don’t really understand why he doesn’t just kill Straff, but I don’t think he will kill Vin either.

    I still think that the biggest mystery is the Mist killing people. Why would it do that and how did the Lord Ruler prevent it? I hope that we get an answer soon.

    1. That’s true … we do see Zane self-harming. So why doesn’t he correct Vin when she says he must have been in the Pits? Could it be both?

      1. I’d just assume that he’s embarrassed about it and doesn’t want anyone to know. The Pits make it sound like he was brave and valiant, whereas the self-harming makes it sound like he’s crazy, even if he’s doing it as a way of controlling the voices in his head.

    2. I also enjoyed watching Vin try out her new-found ‘friendship’ abilities with OreSeur. It is cool to watch her attempts, but more importantly, to see that she wants to make that attempt.

      I also found Zane to be intriguing – to be a Venture but to be kept in the shadows all his life until very recently, at which point he is just being used as a tool. It has probably given him a warped sense of self and of the importance of life in general.

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