Ascension by Brian K. Fuller
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
Series: The Trysmoon Saga (Book #1 of 4)
Genre: Fantasy, Epic Fantasy
Pages: 377 pages (US Kindle edition)
Published: 11th November 2014 by Brian K. Fuller (Indie)
Good, familiar, and also surprising classic fantasy take.
The Trysmoon Saga by Brian Fuller is a series that has been annually recommended to me by my friend & co-blogger—TS—for three years now. I honestly don’t have any very specific reason why it took me so long to get to this one except that the TBR-mountain increases at an astonishing rate; I’m glad I finally had the time to read through this one. Before you start reading this book, you should first know that The Trysmoon Saga series is actually one big standalone book (roughly 440k words) divided into four parts; Ascension is the first part. You definitely shouldn’t expect a self-contained story in this installment; Ascension consists of 23 chapters, and the first chapter in the next installment starts from chapter 24 instead of chapter 1.
“You will find that those who have been taught to read and think have a different look to their eyes than those that haven’t.”
Gen is an orphan and a bard’s apprentice. His hands were supposed to be used to play lutes and his voices for songs. As you can probably expect, sudden and harsh circumstances force him to pick up a sword and become a warrior instead. That’s the premise of this book, and as you can probably guess, this is a classic fantasy filled with tropes written with a modern writing style. An orphan/farm boy, prophecies, training montage, and hint of grand adventures; these are something that I love in fantasy, and Fuller did a lot of things right by these tropes while making sure that his story never feels derivative. I’m actually pleasantly surprised by some of the events that happened in Ascension. The world-building—although it relied on plenty of info-dumps—was intriguing; the training montage and the swordfights, in particular, were incredibly well-implemented into the narrative, and I genuinely wish there were more of them.
“Gen could not fathom ever plucking the lute strings again, much less singing. Music required some depth of feeling from which to be born, and revenge was all he could find in an otherwise vacant heart.”
Unfortunately, there were several aspects in the book that prevent me from enjoying it further. Fuller’s simple prose did flows well, but for reasons I can’t seem to fathom, he uses some odd writing choices that distracted my immersion a lot. One of the most noticeable examples is he won’t stick with one nickname for Torbrand Khairn. In one sentence, Torbrand is called the Shadan, then he’s called Torbrand in the next sentence, and then he’s called Khairn at the next sentence. This went on for a while during Gen’s POV, and it became annoying quickly. Stick with one nickname unless there’s a purpose in switching the character’s nickname in the narrative. This, however, is a minor issue compared to my other problem with the book; I don’t care about the rest of the characters.
“We are inspired to act by many things, but if what inspires our actions be evil, then what apparent good they accomplish will rot and come to evil purpose. It may not be readily apparent, but the law of Eldaloth is that pure good can only proceed from pure motive.”
As I said, the action scenes were magnificent. I loved Gen; his characterizations were well-written, and although I prefer his training montage to be longer, his forced ascension to a stronger power that allows him to deliver satisfying retaliation wowed me. But he was the only character that I’m invested in throughout the whole book. It also doesn’t help that in the second half of the story, Gen had very few POV chapters. Yes, the story still revolves around him, but the three female POV characters he met in the second half, all of them became infatuated by his muscle and prowess upon their first encounter. I’m not sure yet about this, but I foresee a love triangle, or even quadruple, between Gen and these female characters in future installments. It would be so bad if that’s true because two of the female characters are mother and daughter.
“‘What is honorable must be revered and defended, regardless of where it is found. Baseness must be despised—and fought—wherever it is found.’”
I may have sounded more negative than positive in this review, but the real reading experience actually speaks the other way around; I just couldn’t talk about some positive specifics due to spoiler reasons. Fuller did mention on his website that out of all his books, The Trysmoon Saga is the only one that’s targeted for YA readers, and I’m totally not the target audience; YA fantasy in general just doesn’t work for me. That being said, Trysmoon: Ascension is overall a great first part of the Trysmoon Saga. Even though some execution of the story and narrative did fall a bit short for me, I definitely enjoyed reading the ode to classic fantasy, the characterizations of Gen, his harsh training sequences, and the battle scenes. I probably will not continue to the next parts anytime soon; I highly suggest you check out TS’ review for a more positive spoiler-free overview of the series.
You can order the book from: Amazon
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