Inevitable Ascension by V.K. McAllister

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Score: 4/5

 

Genre: Science Fiction – Steampunk/Dystopian

Synopsis:

The innocent never waver from doing what’s right, even if it means drowning the world in fire.

Violina had been burned and betrayed by mankind ever since she sprang into existence. They named her a heretic and condemned her to a pit to live and die in agony. Though she sat stranded, starved and bloodied, she would not submit. Violina, the girl who had been mocked and hunted for rejecting the warped ideals of artificial authority, would lay down her own law.

My review:

Inevitable Ascension manages a bizarre mix of madcap adventure, dystopian futures, religious zealotry and an attempt to right terrible events through time travel.

The story opens with a heist of fuzzy murder machines that might be baby Deathclaws from Fallout. (Points for amusement) Throughout the entire book, our two main characters converse like different versions of Harley Quinn with PhDs in making ‘goes boom’ weapons. (A few more points) After the heist it becomes a rapid paced jaunt through the dying future of a planet where the sun has been put out, the world goes kind of crazy, then it gets worse. As the narrative continues we find out the world’s been ‘kind of crazy’ and ‘worse’ for a while—for reasons that are kind of ironic.

There were points where the story’s flow lost me entirely. Plot topics weren’t issues but repeated time travel wonkery quickly became disorienting to the point of challenging coherency. The thing is; this story is intended to be jarring because the main characters are busy mucking about with purpose. Without painting too many spoilers, our protagonists have only themselves to blame (see above ironic note).

I stuck with the story to reach the big reveal. I found the ending neat and interesting but not awe inspiring or thought provoking. That being said, what truly impressed me was seeing how all the events lined up—turning time travel wonkery-ness into ‘this is your own damn fault… you tried to prevent the bad thing… and you made it happen by trying to prevent the bad thing.’ Which time travel stories should do. Attempting to escape the past only reinforces it.

That being said, this book stops on what feels like a cliffhanger and there are notes about a second novel in the works.  I felt unsettled trying to navigate the time travel. It was good—if I round up my feelings—and I’ll debate returning for the second book if only to figure out how the zany adventure ends.

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Want more? Check out the website for a trailer, art and sample chapters!