Monday, October 15, 2018

Craig Alanson - Ascendant / Transcendent / Deceptions

Review.

Ascendant tells the story of young Koren, who actually is the most powerful wizard ever, and doesn't know. Add a demon taking its time to invade our lands, and some opposing kingdoms in in-fighting noble families, and you have an acceptable (young adult) fantasy series.


Audiobook

The (unabridged) Audible versions are easy to listen to, clear pronunciation and not an over excessive using of accents. Over the three books Koren's accent changed a bit, from a young naive boy to a kind of (hope you don't mind my choice of words) 'farm boy' accent, which I thought was perhaps a little too much too fast.

I listened to the audiobook version driving to and from work. I have not read a 'paper' or 'Kindle' version. Some of the reviews online talk about spelling errors, something that an audiobook doesn't suffer from 😎

 
Titles

The Ascendant series contains three books

  • Ascendant
  • Transcendent
  • Deceptions


Young adult

I wold consider these three books young adult. The premise is not entirely original, a bit of a blend between Feist's Riftwar and Tolkien's Lord of the Rings. Evil demon invading the world, different factions resisting aforementioned invasion, some political intrigue, a little love story, an inexperienced wizard, etcetera.

Then again, how many books use similar plot lines? I might just have become jaded by reading too much 😳


The first two books are okay, except the repeated 'self deprecation' reminded me a little too much of Gregory Maguire's Wicked. Yes, bad things happen, and many bad things can happen at unfortunate moments and that can be part of the style and story. But stop talking about them a zillion times. Besides, I tend to like heroes. Self pity doesn't win the fight.

The third book is similar in style and writing as the first two, but I had a hard time getting through it. As the story is (somewhat) predictable it just seems to go on and on and on and on... I just knew how it would end, and yes, it ended exactly as I expected.

Now perhaps if Craig Alanson could sharpen his pen a little he might crank out some nice stuff in the future. For example the regent-mother gave up a little too easily, and I was expecting some murdering and poisoning on the way. It's all too nice.

But... it looks like he's only been writing / publishing since 2016? Let's see what he comes up with next...





You might not have noticed...


... the bad ending.

Bad? Hero gets the girl, demon has been killed off, the world is saved. Well... is it?

The third book ends with Koren and the princess. She's trying to make him a duke, but he refuses. Then proudly shows her he (still) can do some magic.

That's bad.

Maybe the average juvenile reader won't notice or remember, but in the first book (and several times afterwards) it is said that wizards have a sad life, living much longer than their regular non-wizard husbands or wives. And the princess has no magical powers whatsoever. Tragedy in the making.

Also, in the last book, the spirits completely closed off any access to the 'spirit world' for Koren. So he should not be able to do any magic, assuming that the spirit world is where magic comes from. It's also something Pedros tells him: no more magic for Koren.

There's also something wrong with magic itself. It seems Koren brought so much magic into the world that magic users have no troubles whatsoever to cast overpowered spells which they could not before. There's a kind of excuse they had to be careful when the demon was still around, but that doesn't sit well with me. Especially the thoughtless ease with which they do so.

Alanson probably just wanted to put in a kind of 'twist' at the end, the kind that's typical for movies. I wonder if he thought it through...


Dapper / TellTales! 94



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