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The Ascendant Stars (Humanity's Fire #3)

3.55  ·  Rating Details  ·  649 Ratings  ·  42 Reviews
War erupts in the depths of space...
Battle-ready factions converge above Darien, all with the same objective: to control this newly discovered planet and access the powerful weapons at its heart. Despotic Hegemony forces dominate much of known space and they want this world too, but Darien's inhabitants are determined to fight for their future.
However, key players in thi
Paperback, 467 pages
Published November 1st 2011 by Orbit
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(showing 1-30 of 1,226)
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The book starts with something more books in a series should do. Apart from the useful reference pages of characters, species and political systems, a very handy précis of the previous two novels - what each character had got up to and where they were left at the end of the previous book. Very useful as I certainly couldn't be bothered to read the previous book again - marks gained. That said, these things are only useful if the editor reads them before publication. Too many errors to be forgive ...more
Chris Moyer
Apr 10, 2013 Chris Moyer rated it did not like it
This may be the worst book that I've ever finished. It says something that I finished, something in the world and characters made me care enough to want to see the end. But each page was painful.

Layers upon layers of unbelievable magic pretending to be technology. Untold crazy coincidences. The worlds dumbest plot twists. Every sacrifice or death meaningless when it was undone or a trick.

Jul 29, 2012 Hugh rated it did not like it
Shelves: audiobook
Science fiction is a genre of limitless possibilities, but to quote Wikipedia: "Sometimes the term space opera is used pejoratively to denote bad quality science fiction...", in the case of the Humanity's Fire trilogy I would say that this definition applied.

This series failed to engage me at any level, and I found myself not caring about the characters or multiple plot-lines. All I wanted to do was finish the book(s), which is something that I have never experienced so completely before.

In a l
Björn Bengtsson
Sep 26, 2013 Björn Bengtsson rated it it was ok
This was disappointing... Finally, this story was looking to become something great, as have been promised in the previous two books. But no. The end unfortunately ruins it. The last 50-100 pages gives a feeling similar to "whoops, my pizza just got deliver, best I eat it before it gets cold, let me just wrap this up". When it finally started to get good, the author kills it.

In my (not so humble) opinion, the author should have skipped the two first books, and written three full books of what h
John Matthew
Nov 17, 2014 John Matthew rated it liked it
Brief review of the entire trilogy here. The first book was solid, and described an interesting universe riotous with life, organic and machine. The heroes are interesting, likable and well-characterized, while the villains are the same except villainous. The story was at times confusing, but largely cohesive and came to a satisfying book 1 close.

Book 2 was fantastic, adding some extra plot wrinkles and getting into some heavy action. This one was a real page-burner as the conflict really heated
Apr 20, 2016 Brandt rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction, scifi
After reading the muddled second book of the Humanity's Fire trilogy, I hoped for a satisfying conclusion after reading a book that seemed like it was idling waiting for the end to happen. Unfortunately those hopes have been dashed.

There are two problems with this trilogy as I see it. First, even though he has about 1800 pages to do it, Cobley fails to make me care about any of the principle players in these novels. If you want works like this to be successful, I have to give a shit about who I
Ken Richards
Jan 16, 2016 Ken Richards rated it liked it
In another 'let's finish the trilogy' maneuver I read the finale of Michael Cobley's 'Humanity's Fire' series, a middling quality space opera (The Ascendant Stars). The action around the planet Darien continues as the horribly be-weaponed battle fleets of evil alien empires gather to win the prize. The plot is well wrapped up at the end, with perhaps a little too convenient 'hand of god' moments assisting the conclusion. The main problem I had with this volume is it's slow start, particularly th ...more
Jan 18, 2015 Jay rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
I almost gave this book three stars... While the book does wrap up the story arc that began in 'Seeds of Earth', I felt that it failed to live up to it's potential. It is however, Mr. Cobley's narrative, and I will not attempt to lecture on what "should" have happened.

As I mentioned in my review of 'Orphaned Worlds', there is a powerful antagonist at work behind the scenes, and that antagonist is revealed in this volume. The solution to the problem was not one I expected, and I count that as a g
John Welch
A bit disappointed with this. The trilogy started off very well but has faded a bit as it progressed. In this episode there were to many "fortunate coincidences" in the plot for my liking. Still worth 3 stars though.
Well, I finished the series (although I think there is another book coming out later this year, there were enough loose ends left untied). All of a sudden, the book veered into Justina Robson/Cyber Punk territory which I wasn't expecting with one of the characters getting her consciousness uploaded into the tiernet. I liked the way that was done, although it was only a minor part of the book.

I disliked the way Cobley killed off one of the main protagonists from the first two books. He did it off
Oct 11, 2012 Ian rated it it was ok
The third and final book of Cobley's Humanity's Fire space opera trilogy, and notable among such types of books in that it actually resolves the plot and leaves pretty much everything nice and tidy. In the previous two books - Seeds of Earth and The Orphaned Worlds - Cobley went slightly berserk and set so many balls spinning, it was hard to keep track of them all. There was the invasion of Darien by an imperialistic alien race, there were the cyborg Legion of Avatars imprisoned in hyperspace an ...more
David Proffitt
Oct 30, 2013 David Proffitt rated it really liked it
The mistake I made with this book was waiting so long to read it. It is the third part of Michael Cobleys ambitious “Humanities Fire” trilogy and there are so many characters following different strands of the story that it took me ages to get myself reacquainted with them all. But this was my error, not the authors.

Ascendant Stars is the climax of a galaxy spanning tale of war and intrigue, with the human race finding itself split on different sides of a conflict that threatens to tear the gala
Martin Waterhouse
Sep 27, 2012 Martin Waterhouse rated it liked it
Shelves: audio-books, scifi
Well Michael Cobley certainly can paint a vast and and vibrant universe! The story moves through the levels of hyperspace, huge digital zones and across planets and alien societies. The characters are a little too either 'goodies' or 'baddies' but they're pretty well written and the plot is rich enough to keep them on their toes. The narrator David Thorpe does a magnificent job of handling the accents and voices of every character and his tone is spot on - I'll certainly be getting more of his w ...more
Jul 02, 2015 Rob rated it it was ok
I was slightly dismayed to see similar ratings for this book before reading it, but I have come to understand their point of view. I was certainly enjoying this series, far more than the In Her Name series. However in this installment Cobley seems to have tripped over his own shoelaces, making each storyline obscure and complicated and yet mashing them all together come the end. The ending also had the effect of Mass Effect 3 about it, to me at least. It leaves a lot unanswered and more desired. ...more
Ruth Macleod
Apr 21, 2013 Ruth Macleod rated it liked it
I think I have to say that this book was probably the best out of the series, or perhaps the story was such a slow burner that its only the climax of it all that changed the pace. I really enjoyed Karl and Gregs characters in this book, they seemed to flourish when in space commanding the ships. With some great one liners from Greg that made me laugh out loud.
However for a slow paced 3 part series I felt the ending was too sudden and the defeat of the legion/ other enemies too easy. Fo
Nov 16, 2014 Dennis rated it liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
I had read the first two books in this trilogy in 2011 and although there was a 'what went on before' chapter to begin, I found it difficult to get into. From normal humans to cyborgs with plenty of aliens, there were goodies and baddies amongst them all and it was hard to work out which was which. However ti all worked out in the end and all the baddies were defeated.
Jan 03, 2012 Mark rated it really liked it
Just a few quick words on this one. First off, to review it properly I'd have to go back and re-read the first two books in the series and re-familiarise myself with the story. As it was, thanks to the gap between reading the first and second books and finally getting hold of the third, meant I had lost something of the thread by the tme I started reading. Because of that, it took a while to re-connect with the story, but I can say that this is a worthy follow up to its predecessors and certainl ...more
Raymond Walker
Hard to say as yet as i have just started. but if it is up to the standard of the second book of the trilogy then i think i am in for a fantastic read.
Matti Tornio
May 10, 2015 Matti Tornio rated it did not like it
Poor writing, ridiculous plot twists and way too many deus ex machinas. The first two books in the series were mediocre, this one is plain bad.
Apr 11, 2015 Darrin rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
Eh. way to many new elements were added to this third book. It made it a bit confusing. It felt rushed, like the author had to make it three books. A fourth book might have been better to flesh out the elements from the third book.
Jan 18, 2012 Andrew rated it liked it
Really useful plot summary to start with and list of charaqcters etc. To a new comer to the series, then read them in one hit and enjoy.
But having read them as they came out - and parts 1 & 2 followed fairly quickly after each other, I found there was just too many plot lines and my involvement with the characters never really reformed. The second half moved much better than the first. For me,I guess it fell vistim of the trilogy disease. A pity as I relly enjoyed the first two parts. Read a
May 24, 2013 Rowan rated it really liked it
A solid conclusion to an accessible space opera. In this final book of a trilogy the story is nicely finished. To my surprise some new elements were introduced in this book as we get introduced to the virtual worlds where AIs (and human fragments) reside. While not fully escaping the feeling of reading a book with similarities to Mass Effect or other SF inspired work, it does end properly (unlike the game).

The story may not be the most original, but the author does keep you reading, as he is a g
Nov 11, 2014 Bill rated it liked it
Although this appears to nicely finish the Humanity's Fire series, there appears to be a fourth one in the works.
Dec 22, 2012 Lisa rated it liked it
This book, while I enjoyed the trilogy as a whole, left a bit of a bitter taste in my mouth. I did not like the idea of a character named "the godhead" revealed to be a bit of a selfish jerk while also implying rather strongly that this character was the "creator" of planets...quite possibly earth. This felt like a disgruntled author trying to throw stones at God from afar. It just seemed a bit pathetic and it took away from an otherwise great story.
Tim Tofton
Apr 06, 2012 Tim Tofton rated it liked it
Been putting off reading this because I couldn't remember what happened in the previous books. I needn't have worried, there is a very comprehensive plot-line at the beginning. So, only a few pages in but starting well, only 3 stars till I'm further in, then will re-assess.
Apr 22, 2013 Bob rated it it was amazing
Finally finished off this trilogy... it was good tho' the author sure does enjoy creating names for aliens, their planets and governments... took a while to get a handle on them all but otherwise it was an exciting and unique series.
Zachary Wagoner
Jul 30, 2014 Zachary Wagoner rated it really liked it
Decent ending to the series. Came together fairly well. Was a little underwhelmed by the legion of avatars, who were built up to be some scary, super threat, but ended up being fairly easy to destroy on an individual basis.
Jan 02, 2014 Doug rated it liked it
Shelves: scifi
Overall, this trilogy was decent space opera, with some original big concepts, and interesting characters. The ending was satisfying, but it felt a little by-the-numbers to me. Still, overall a good read; just not a great read.
Jun 29, 2013 David rated it it was amazing
This was a satisfying space saga with an interesting concept of species and alien life. I only put it down while
I waited for the second and third books of the series to arrive. I really enjoyed it!
Daniel Cunningham
Apr 17, 2016 Daniel Cunningham rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction, scifi
Finished this because I wanted to finish the series.

It's one of those series of books where, yeah, I guess it was a distraction/entertainment to read... but, ehh.
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Mike Cobley was born in Leicester and has lived in Scotland since the age of seven. Although the Scottish cultural heritage informs much of his own outlook (egalitarian, argumentative yet amiable, and able to appreciate rain), he thinks of himself as a citizen of the world.

While studying engineering at Strathclyde University, he discovered the joys and risks of student life and pursued a sideline
More about Michael Cobley...

Other Books in the Series

Humanity's Fire (4 books)
  • The Seeds of Earth (Humanity's Fire, #1)
  • The Orphaned Worlds (Humanity's Fire, #2)
  • Ancestral Machines

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