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Ascendant: Book 1

Written by: Craig Alanson
Narrated by: Tim Gerard Reynolds
Length: 17 hrs and 23 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (96 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

The Wizard's Council of Tarador was supposed to tell young Koren Bladewell that he is a wizard. They were supposed to tell everyone that he is not a jinx, that all the bad things that happen around him are because he can't control the power inside him, power he doesn't know about. The people of his village, even his parents, are afraid of him, afraid he is cursed. That he is a dangerous, evil jinx. The Wizard's Council didn't tell young Koren, because they know what is best for him. Even after their silent deception destroys his life.

Crown Princess Ariana Trehayme will become queen of Tarador on her 16th birthday, if her weak, indecisive mother the Regent hasn't allowed their ancient enemy to conquer Tarador before then. Ariana wants her royal army to strike at the enemy, but her mother knows what is best for her, and the realm.Together, Ariana and Koren can save Tarador, if the adults, who know best, will get out of their way.

©2016 Craig Alanson (P)2017 Podium Publishing

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Average Customer Ratings

Overall

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

good book but mis labeled

I enjoyed the book but it needs to be labeled as a young adult or teen book. I only finished listening to it since I bought it already

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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wonderful story

very good. kept me listening when I should have been sleeping. narrating was also great

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Life Isnt Just Unfair, Its Methodically Unfair

A both enjoyable, engrossing, and grueling experience. The author clearly cares about their book, and the narrator is fantastic. There are a few patterns that idk maybe the author experiences in their own life that they are expressing through the book. I feel that because they are so set in stone it has to be a commentary. It makes it both frustrating and interesting. For example:
- Gossip is always wrong. If you even hear someone gossiping, their IQ has been reduced to 0 for the duration of that conversation. I dont know if the people in this world understand a damn thing going on around them if they are talking about it to eachother and the main character is listening.
- When people learn their lessons or compare whats happening to them to their own lives, they seem to both understand the lesson / methodically do it again without even having a clue. They will almost literally be like: "I should not have stuck my head into that bears mouth" WHILE sticking their head into the bears mouth. Its so consistent that I have to believe the author is trying to make a point about peoples decision making skills, because there are points where the sentence structure is almost exactly that!
- Life isnt just unfair, its methodically unfair.

I really enjoyed the book and the story, but I am also just waiting for when he snaps and starts killing or blowing up all his problems. I feel like its coming and the satisfaction will be immeasurable.

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Good hook but dropped off quickly

I went further into detail in my review for the sequel as I prematurely bought it while only partway into this story but I will summarize my thoughts below:

I found all of the characters once they left their hometown to be very one dimensional (Good, bad etc). As well I found the overall story arc to be incredibly predictable with none of the plot points being surprises or new as I felt they were all just rehashes from other successful fantasy stories.

Overall I found it to be an interesting concept (a Hero's Journey will always get me as a good hook with a call to action) but overall it was quite disappointing. I will stick to Craig's Sci-Fi stories from now on.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Very enjoyable read

The thing I liked most about this book was the humble yet powerfulness of the main character. I also really enjoyed how well the story points come together in the end and the emotional roller coaster this book took me on. If you enjoy coming of age stories and fantasy books you'll enjoy this book.

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A simple but very enjoyable story

This book is a testament to the fact that great books don't have to be complex. There is a good twist in this book but for the most part it has a fairly simple plot. The characters are great and the narration is superb. Craig Alanson really understands his characters and gives us a sense of the inner workings of the mind of a child. I enjoyed the simplicity of the plot as it enhanced every other area of the book #Audible1.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Great for adults who enjoy youth lit

Technically not geared towards a youth audience, but could (or should?) be. It is a great story despite the generic fantasy themes and occasional lack of creativity (a character names Chuwing from the distant land of Chindo...). I would recommend this light and enjoyable read to adults and strong readers in the youth category (Ages 11+) alike! Would also suggest this would be a fun family read/listen for your next car trip or family activity.
Looking forward to reading/listening to book 2!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Refreshing and enjoyable

Very much enjoyed it. and the narrative was superb. highly recommend you give a listen.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Poor narration

I couldn’t stand the narrator , sounded like I was being read a children’s book. Paid for it, but had to delete it.

1 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • David M
  • 2017-11-22

A skeptic entertained

Honestly, I am not a passionate fan of the sword and sorcery fantasy genre. I am a huge fan of the Expeditionary Force series and RC Bray's narrating. So it was with quite some hesitation that I purchased this book after listening to what I felt was a lackluster uninteresting preview. I wasn't convinced the story or narrator would be a worthy investment of my time and money.

I preface this review with my doubts not to troll the author or the narrator but to give context for my review.

First, after having completed this book I can't imagine a better suited narrator for this story. The narrator quickly dissolves away into the story and there are only a wide variety of characters and adept accents left. Production value was very good. There were no noticiable splicing of vocals, popping, lisping crackling "ssss", or sharp audible inhalations from the narrator that are still far too commonplace in audio production these days.

The story is a well tested, well worn one but the relateable and developed characters make it easy for the listener to be absorbed into the environment as an observer. I am pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed this story and can't wait to listen to book two.

404 of 426 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Brett
  • 2017-11-13

A great coming of age fantasy tale

I have to say this isn't like Craig's other books. Instead of aliens this is a deep rooted world of magic, wars and outlaws. I guess it just goes to show the imagination of the author is quite wide. The book is entertaining and I found it enjoyable. However it could due with a bit more humor. But then again i'm a Skippy fan.

AUDIBLE 20 REVIEW SWEEPSTAKES ENTRY

153 of 171 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Scott O'Bryan
  • 2019-05-28

Frustrating book

This book was entertaining and the reader did a great job, but it suffers from some of the issues I have with Craig Alanson as an author.

In an effort to sell more books he has a tenancy to not complete a story and to leave the story mid-stride for his next book. This whole book seemed like it was a set up for the next book.

Additionally Craig Alanson has the tenancy to stick with a single theme. While the interaction of Bishop and Skippy in Expeditionary Force is entertaining, the theme of misunderstanding in this book got annoying and burdensome. We all know that a simple misunderstanding can lead to some epic things, but this book contained so many that the misunderstandings became predictable.

Craig is great with the written word. His characters are believable, but sometimes his plot or theme seems flat and his ending a book mid-story is annoying. I’m really struggling with whether I can endure book 2 in order to see what happens or if I should cut my losses.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Christopher
  • 2017-11-02

Loved it with one constant reservation

This was a really well written first book in a series. It's definitely at the high end of the quality spectrum from the writing and story-telling angle.

My reservation... I have read or listened to quite a few books whose major plot points are repeatedly driven by misunderstandings, characters accidentally over-hearing the exact wrong information at the exact wrong time, and characters inexplicably not revealing pertinent information that otherwise would bring resolution instead of conflict. In other books this usually happens "because reasons" or with no explanation whatsoever. With a book where this happens over and over, I usually make it about 4 hours in and then return it with prejudice. It's almost always lazy story-telling and so frustrating that I find myself wanting to choke the author for wasting what would otherwise be a good book.

In the case of Ascendant, the author manages to make it work (most of the time). These coincidence fails are overtly portrayed and mostly adequately explained. As a result I was able to enjoy the book and was only really in a choking mood a couple times... That said, if the inexplicable repetition of unfortunate coincidences continues through book 2 as the only device to move the plot then I'm pretty sure I won't be able to hang in for book 3.

My fingers are crossed because I really did enjoy this book.

100 of 116 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • John Hammon
  • 2019-05-04

Had to try it a second time.

The narrator took a little getting used to. I actually returned this book once. I bought it based on the Craig Alanson ExForce series. Anyway, when I tried it the second time I really got into it. I"m giving it 5 stars because it really pulled me in. The perspective and detail of the story really gave me a unique experience on the adventure. I was constantly amazed at how the author gave me some detail that was surprising but interesting and relative.l

Anyway, I really liked this series. Seems like a simple 3 and done series, but still really cool.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • E. Collins
  • 2018-05-06

Best fairy tale

I bought this book without reading the reviews because I love the author’s other works, and I’m so glad I did. While this is a traditional fairy tale it lacks the evil forces and monsters, which made it far more enjoyable. The magic is present but the book isn’t just about good vs evil. It’s a character study with abundant, likable characters facing challenges and finding discoveries. Misunderstandings and secrets, nearly always win the best intentions, made this a truly good book.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • KAG
  • 2017-11-15

Pretty good listen...another teen saves the world

The whole premise that a 13 y/o saves the world again in fantasy fiction books is getting very old. With that said the book is actually a good listen. the performer is really good once you get used to his style. I found the story good, "Spoiler" and of course there is a 13y/o to 13y/o love interest (peasant meets princess) and the 13y/o princess has a superb tactical mind...whatever. I will listen to the next one because I like the author's previous books and I could use a little Joe Bishop and Skippy right now the whole teen down on his luck but is really the most powerful mage history is tiring.

12 of 16 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
  • Mitchell
  • 2018-01-10

.....Not Impressed..

STORY
First, I did not like the predictability of the story, there was never a twist in the story that made my think "wow didn't see that one coming".

Second major issue is the simplistic 2nd characters. Since the whole story is based on characters misunderstanding what happens around the main character, all the characters come across as complete idiots. A good example is the court wizard. The wizard is supposed to be 180+ years old with vast magical power, knowledge, and cunning intellect. Instead he comes across as a complete fool as he can easily prevent a lot of the misunderstandings that happen to Koran by simply communicating with other characters or using common sense. His actions in the book completely contradict how he is described and presented. This happens with almost all the characters as well. They are described in one manner but then their actions, through simplistic thought processes, contradict their initial description just so the author can easily find a way to blame Koran in an effort to illustrate how his life is unfair

PERFORMANCE
I have never been a real big fan of Tim Gerard Reynolds in the first place,it just drives me crazy how he just always seems to read so slow. Like he always pauses after every sentence or phrase for a few seconds longer than it needs to be. i have listened to many other books that Mr. Reynolds has performed in, including Riyria Revelations, Riyria Chronicles, and The White Tower and only noticed it when i played it along with, or back to back with other readers.

OVERALL
Unfortunately this initial installment kept beating us over the head with just how unfair Koren Blackwell’s life is. Seventeen hours of misunderstandings and lies all to keep one very likable young man from his destiny! This book simply needed a good editor.

It just seamed like The whole premise that a 13 year-old saves the world again in fantasy fiction books is getting very old.

54 of 78 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
  • Derek Schlegel
  • 2018-06-13

I have never been more frustrated...

Jesus Christ. No payoff, arbitrary cliff hangers, and all of the characters are completely useless. When I read or listen to a story, I really, really want payoff, not become enthralled halfway through only to find the characters see no real personal growth, and that the extremely cringy and convenient 'misunderstandings' the MC goes through make me want to not only delete the audio book, but burn the entire damn computer it was streamed on. I have never been as frustrated or as disappointed with a story in book form. It's only literal saving grace is that the ending of this book is still not as bad as the terribly written ending to Mass Effect 3. But as God is my witness, Ascendant is a close 2nd in my eyes. I do like Expeditionary force series by the same Author, and as long as the Author doesn't muck that up with cringy plot convenience, I will buy it. But not one more from this series. I'm still mad as I write this review at 11pm when I have to be up in 4 hours.

28 of 42 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • K-R Lewis
  • 2017-11-10

Definitely not something Joe Bishop would like.

Obviously this story is not anything like ExFor and I didn't expect it to be. Alanson's foray into fantasy is interesting nonetheless. I'm actually only a little past halfway through and the story is dragging. Luckily Alanson is a good enough writer and T.G. Reynolds is a good enough vocal performer to make "run-on" interesting enough to keep listening. I know there's a good story in here. I just wish it would develop quicker. Unlike GoT there is only one storyline following a 12-13 year old boy and I'm starting to wonder if this series will be written in real time. Imagine listening to a Game of Thrones novel and it only followed one character and lasted just as long. However if you're looking for a long audiobook so you have something to listen to for a long while, you could do a lot worse. T.G. Reynolds makes it a pleasant listen and the story is good albeit a little too drawn out in places.

17 of 26 people found this review helpful