Well, I was hoping I would like this more this time, knowing how it ended, but it was about the same experience for me. A bit sloggy up until the last third of it, at which point it really picked up. I know what he was going for here, turning a tired fantasy premise on its head like he did with the first one*, but the nature of that premise and the world and characters he built for himself just made it not a very interesting read until near the end, and even then I was more excited to see the outcome of events in the next book than I was excited for the end here.
*In the first one, it was “What if the hero failed and the dark lord ruled the world?” Here, it’s “What if defeating the bad guy wasn’t enough?”
Elend becomes a much more important character in this one as he struggles to rule the city of Luthadel after the death of the Lord Ruler. The transition isn’t an easy one. Vin is having a little identity crisis, and it causes some turbulence in her relationship with Elend. There is also a spy in their mix, but due to the nature of the Kandra (who can take on the likeness of anyone whose body they eat) it could be anyone, any of her friends or Elend’s inner circle. Three armies show up outside of Luthadel, which brings everything to a crisis point. There also seems to be a larger crisis brewing, as the mists begin to come in the day, and to kill people, and Vin begins to suspect that the Lord Ruler might have been telling the truth before she killed him, that he was doing something important to save the world, and there would be consequences if he died. It’s all tied in to what happened 1,000 years ago, but records from that time are scarce to non-existent. It’s actually quite a lot going on.
My least favorite parts of the book involved Elend’s half-brother, Zane, also a Mistborn. I just didn’t buy that Vin was drawn to him, and why. I didn’t feel for him as a character, either. The best parts of the book involve Vin’s relationship with OreSeur the Kandra (SPOILERS who is really TenSoon, a spy who killed OreSeur and took his place, but who develops loyalty to Vin instead of his master, Zane END SPOILERS). I enjoyed seeing their relationship develop so much, and I had forgotten how much I liked the Kandra as a concept. They are so creepy, and there’s this instinctual revulsion that you feel when you learn how they eat and what they can do that both the characters and us as readers have to overcome. It’s just neat.
Mostly I’m really looking forward to book three when I get to it. I remember it being so great, and the first really great example of a mind-boggling, unexpected ending from Sanderson.