To sum up my feelings about this book: It was really good, . . . but I am disappointed.
I admit that it may be unfair of me to be disappointed. Brandon Sanderson has simply set the bar too high in the previous books of his that I have read. I now think of Sanderson as an author who writes phenomenal, mind-blowing endings, and in my opinion, The Well of Ascension simply did not fit that mold. I love the idea of an entity who changed the Terris prophesies in order to free himself. That part was brilliant. But then there was a lot of ridiculousness going on: Marsh apparently turning evil without explanation, Vin's ability to control the kandra and the koloss, and Elend being a Mistborn. Elend's a Mistborn? Seriously? Elend is a great character, and I really enjoyed his being great without being an Allomancer. Furthermore, I thought that the contrast between Elend and Vin sent a great message about how one can make a difference in the world regardless of which natural talents are possessed and about how two very different people can make a relationship work. But Sanderson ruined that for me by making Elend a Mistborn! It could be that in that, in the next book, explanations will be proffered that make these occurrences seem less ridiculous. I truly hope this it the case.
Sanderson added a good deal more supernatural-ness in The Well of Ascension than there was in Mistborn. There were blue monsters, religious prophesies, and a new Allomatic metal that essentially made Vin super-powered (as if she were not super already). It was a lot--perhaps too much.
My primary complaint about the book was Vin. Vin was still trying to figure out who she is and was trying to make her peace with being the significant other to a king while also being a Mistborn killing machine. Her most difficult struggles were internal. Externally, she kicked ass all day, all night, and all the time. Frankly, I got a tad bored with watching Vin kick ass. When Vin was around, her friends were safe. Vin would win the fight with some injury to herself, but no one important would die when Vin was present. Eventually, I started to think: "Okay, I get it. She is powerful." I would have liked to see her fail at protecting someone.
Now that I've complained, please note that my rating for this book is four stars. So I really did like it a lot. Allomancy is still a brilliant concept. Sanderson is still a brilliant writer. Elend is a fantastic character, as are Ham and Breeze. Elend's transformation from a scholar into a king was believable, as was his internal struggle regarding his relationship with a powerful Mistborn. I greatly enjoyed getting to know Breeze better; he's a good man who does not want to appear as though he cares about others as much as he does. I also really enjoyed the introduction of a second kandra (i.e., a being that can take the body of a deceased other being). I did not predict how that was going to turn out!
I look forward to reading the next book, which I hope clears up some of my issues with this one.