Ascension by Victor Dixen – Book review

Title: Ascension (review copy)

Series: Phobos #1

Author: Victor Dixen

Genre/Themes: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Space Opera, Dating/Pairing

Blurb from Goodreads

Six girls, six boys.

Each in the two separate bays of a single spaceship.

They have six minutes each week to seduce and to make their choices, under the unblinking eye of the on-board cameras.

They are the contenders in the Genesis programme, the world’s craziest speed-dating show ever, aimed at creating the first human colony on Mars.

Leonor, an 18 year old orphan, is one of the chosen ones.

  • She has signed up for glory.
  • She has signed up for love.
  • She has signed up for a one-way ticket.

Even if the dream turns to a nightmare, it is too late for regrets.

My Review

Going into this book I expected a fun-filled, almost guilty-pleasure-esque quick read because of the blurb that reads almost like space tinder!

And for the most part I got exactly what I expected from this book. I really do like space set books because of that confined area where the drama unfurls so I was thoroughly engaged with the storyline; it was pleasantly bonkers with a nice undercurrent of mystique.

But something was missing for me. At times the narrative felt too heavy and slow moving. There was a freshness missing from the prose. The writing style felt too deliberate which contrasted poorly with the plot for me. I think a lot of my problem was that this book told me a lot of things as a reader. But I never truly felt anything. I was too detached from the main character and from the unfurling drama of the storyline. This was one of those times where the plot twist was revealed much too early to the detriment of a build up of tension. I felt the background of modern society wasn’t fully explored enough and would have liked a little more world building with regard to the political climate of the time in which this book is set. I also never found any of the supporting characters to be that engaging because they were even more detached from the storyline because of the choice of narrative perspective.

But in saying all that I really enjoyed this book. I was never bored and I was invested in the outcome and even though the cliffhanger ending was utterly predictable and we can all make logical assumptions as to the what happens next…

I would REALLY like to have the next book in the series in my hands right now just so I can be sure!!!

One thing I did really like was seeing how the burn scar that the MC Leonor has on her back affects her. I know people might not like to see a character hate her physical appearance in such a way to me aspects of her relationship with her burn marks felt relatively authentic. Without wishing to divulge much personal detail but I too have a physically deforming scar since childhood that I frequently struggle to reveal to anyone because of how it makes me feel about myself. And while I agree that it is important to know that our scars aren’t ugly, it’s also important to show that acceptance of self takes time and that as humans we do tend to focus negatively on such things as scars and can let them evolve into something more than marked skin. I hope in the later books that this is something that is handled with care, and that her opinions about her scar aren’t magically cured by romantic love but that she can learn to look at herself on most days with more self-love.

Overall I would recommend this book to people who like light young adult science fiction akin to a mash up of the mystery and space themes of the Illuminae Files and the romantic plot line from The Selection series by Kiera Cass.

A trashtastic space opera.

An e-copy of this book was kindly provided to me by the publisher, Hot Key Books, via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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