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Thursday, November 30, 2006

Wherein I Give "Ascending" the Thumbs-Down

Ascending by James Alan Gardner

9 of 11 people found the following review helpful:

January 15, 2002

I've generally given Gardner's Festina Ramos books high marks, his previous work "Hunted" I gave 5 stars. Overall, Gardner's books have been action-packed quick reads, even if some aspects of the story are unbelievable. "Ascending" however, never really got going and did little to hold my interest.

For starters, the narrator, Oar, is really annoying to read for 350+ pages. Her childish prose would be acceptable for a chapter or two, but a whole book becomes tiresome.

The book never excited me, but there was a decent pay-off at the end with sufficient action to not be a complete let-down. However, that ending was completely rushed. That was a negative, but at the same time, I wouldn't want to read a 500-page by Oar, it would probably be too tedious to finish.

This is my least-favorite of Gardner's books besides "Commitment Hour" which is more of a spin-off. I was really disappointed because "Hunted" was an awesome book that I literally couldn't put down, but "Ascending" didn't come close to filling its shoes. In my opinion, this is in part because Gardner has pumped out one of these books a year since 1997, he should probably take a year off to refresh his persepctive a little. Unfortunately, at the end the mysterious Pollisand remarks that he'll see Festina & Oar real soon, which can only mean that next winter another adventure will be on the shelves. Let's all hope it's better.

I said this recently about, "Shadow of the Hegemon" by Orson Scott Card, but it bears repeating. If you're a fan of the Ramos series, read "Ascending" just so you don't get lost, but rent it from the library, buy it used, or borrow it from a friend, because it isn't worth [the money].

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