Let me be brief and to the point. If you enjoyed the first Mistborn book to any degree, then do yourself a favor and pick up The Well of Ascension. Simply put, it just keeps getting better. Let's get on with it shall we?
If you saw my review of the first Mistborn book, The Final Empire, you would see that I gave it a very solid 4 Star rating. On my particular scale, that means that I loved the book. I reserve the full 5 Star treatment for only my most favorite books. They are my favorite favorites. While I did love The Final Empire, it by itself wasn't an all-time favorite of mine. However, a 5 Star rating is exactly what I give The Well of Ascension, the second book in Brandon Sanderson's Mistborn trilogy. Now to the why.
It is no secret that Brandon Sanderson is one of my favorite storytellers. It is not so much his writing style, but it is more about the depth with which he creates the stories. He is meticulous, giving every part of his work the attention and detail that a master craftsman should. In short, he never cuts corners. That of course applies to the world he has constructed, but it definitely applies to the characters that you come to know and love or hate. He makes sure to give the readers every possible opportunity to bond with his creations, that when one of them finds their demise, it feels like your heart has been ripped out. I've read a lot of books, and that doesn't always happen for me. I often find that even when I like a story, I am somewhat ambivalent towards the characters. However, Sanderson seems to be able to drag me away from that place with his characters, time and time again. Even when I am convinced I don't particularly like certain characters, they ultimately grow on me. To this, I say bravo.
Now of course a great story can only be a great story if the characters in them are memorable in some way, but The Well of Ascension is no Seinfeld. Unlike the long-running sitcom, famously about nothing, TWoA has plenty of substance beyond the wonderfully characterized men and women of this book. It is a story with a wonderfully complex plot that has so many layers to it, that you find yourself playing detective as you try to unwrap the mystery. I must admit that as I peeled back this onion, I was certain I had it all figured out. I knew who was who, and what was what, and who'dunnit. I took personal pride to have put all the pieces together, solving the riddle before the end. And I was wrong. The ending, despite my best efforts to see through the deceptive mists, left me stunned—and I loved it.
I won't say much else, because it will be nearly impossible to do so without spoilers. That being said, if this book is still on your To Be Read list, fix it, go read it now. You can thank me later. ;)