Review Detail

4.3 4
Young Adult Fiction 3564
Torn may have been a lovely improvement in the series, but it's got nothing on Ascend.
Overall rating
Writing Style
Have you noticed that most paranormal romances have something to do with a war? And that sends me into book lovers heaven! It's why I adore paranormal romance books so much, and the fact that Ascend by Amanda Hocking has dilemmas which transcend the mostly political war that has been raging for the past two books and has entered into physical attacks and magic battling and sword fights sent me into delirious adoration, allowing for minimal word usage and mostly consisted of me relying on sounds of pleasure to express my happiness over this book to whoever would listen to my nonstop streams of praise. Then, Hocking subtly and swiftly ensnares us with exquisite character growth, tender moments, and an outcome that is more than just doable but is deeply appreciated.

All my favorite characters have returned for a third time, but they are no longer cooling their heels and inviting their enemy's devastation, finally able and willing to fight back. The situation is bleak and if hope was the sun then they are shrouded in darkness born of an eclipse. Yet they are ready to BRING IT, especially Wendy, who has been a constant struggle in Switched, an example of gradual growth in Torn, but flourishes into a woman I can admire in Ascend. She is more inclined to take risks for her kingdom, escape her comfort zones and do what must be done in the name of the greater good. She has grown to care about her origins, all of them, and although she is tortured by her sacrifices and mistakes, she does not collapse under regret and wallow in self-pity, she does not shirk her responsibilities, nor does she give under the pressure raining down on her with the force behind a shower of boulders. She has the potential to become a great ruler, a compassionate one who will undoubtedly practice a more modernized and humane outlook on outdated customs and laws.

And among the characters who join her fight for freedom of fear and for peace are mostly friends, people who have, time and again, proven themselves loyal and honest and brave, despite the clashing of their attitudes, the scuffles caused by colliding personalities and conflicting interests. Willa, Tove, Matt, Rhys, and Duncan (and even, regrettably, Finn *grumbles*) remain a loyal team to our resident teen monarch, forever at her disposal as both allies in conflict and friends in both joy and despair. At their core, in everything they believe and say, they care for Wendy deeply and would be there for her always. Even so, it is Loki who attracts the spotlight with his cocky charm, sexy strength, and complete commitment to our admirable heroine, heating our skin with his blazing embraces and tenderizing the quick-beating organ in our chests with his well-buried vulnerability and masked kindness.

While the resolution could be deemed predictable and somewhat anti-climactic, it is impossible to care with those lovely, happy series of moments written in Ascend's final pages, helping us to a preview of the future lives of the endearing characters Hocking has created. With an ending that can't disappoint, delight and joy blind-sided me for days and lured me back to Ascend's pages with repeated success.

Originally posted at Paranormal Indulgence, 4/23/12
Good Points
With this final installment came the realization that I was in love with this series and all it has to offer, from characters who range from cocky and vulnerable, sweet and insolent, and have grown so much, to a fascinatingly thought-out world to intense plot ties that span the entire series and hardly cease to entertain and excite. However, Ascend's biggest appeal is the all-sweetness-and-heat romance with a blinding flash of the forbidden intensifying the blushing hues of true love. Ascend is definitely my favorite in the series, an unforgettable finale—the brilliant story I was waiting for Hocking to deliver me.
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