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Ascension (Water #1)

3.86  ·  Rating Details ·  1,381 Ratings  ·  72 Reviews
It has been many generations since the city of Atlantis sank beneath the sea. To the land-dwellers above, Atlantis is now merely a myth. But down at the bottom of the ocean sits a city that has grown into a world unto itself.Now something ominous threatens this peaceful underwater world.

As Atlantis's foreseen destruction draws nearer, Nia, a young mermyd, unravels the secr
Hardcover, 235 pages
Published February 1st 2002 by Turtleback Books
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Jul 10, 2008 Shannon rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: childrens
It took me two tries to read this book. The first time, it was just so cute and bubbly I nearly puked (I picked it up because I liked the author). The second time I picked it up, I realized what age group it was targeting, and then it didn't bother me as much.

This story has a strange mixture of being incredibly cute and innoscent, then diving into mass murder (no joke). It seemed like its target audience was pretty young, and things felt dumbed down, but then it threw in some darker elements--b
Nov 12, 2010 Janina rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Janina by: Olivia
I enjoyed this book quite a bit. The underwater setting was interesting and described vividly. I liked how the background and structure of the mermaid society were included in the story. The author inserted some sea vocabulary without trying too hard to be funny/authentic.

The voice of the main character, Nia, seemed young for a 16-year-old, but not in a annoying way. I liked her a lot.

The book was very short (only 235 pages with a big font), so in the end, I felt like some parts – especially the
Allyse Near
This isn't really a review but I read this book YEARS ago and I have been looking for it ever since. Believe it or not, Google failed me everytime, even when my search tags included 'mermaid' 'she's already got legs', 'some sort of competition thing?' 'squids as rulers' 'baby squid has telepathy', (view spoiler)... Anyway, I just stumbled across it now! Think I'll see if the library can get it in, and if these specifics are as ...specific... as I remember.
Dec 06, 2008 Grace rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
This book brought a very creative idea about Atlantis. I've heard everything from merpeople to advanced technology to an alien race, but this is book first introduced me to the idea of all three combined into one where that mythical city was concerned.

The ideas in it were very inventive, but the writing left a little to be desired. The point came across just fine, but it's obvious that this book was geared toward a younger audience. I first read this book when I was eleven or twelve, and even th
Kiera Beddes
Genre: fantasy,
Summary: Nia is a young mermyd from the city of Atlantis. She wants to be chosen as the next Avatar (the mermyd companion to the Farworlder prince). Farworlders are a squid-like alien with magical powers who unite with a mermyd and together with ten other companions they help rule Atlantean society. Nia is upset when her clan chooses another representative to participate in the Trials that will determine the next Avatar. As Nia does some digging, she finds that Atlantis is not th
Feb 28, 2010 Rebecca rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arc, fantasy
Sixteen-year-old Nia loves her home, the beautiful and peaceful underwater city of Atlantis. And her greatest wish is to be one of the ten Avatars that rule the city alongside the ancient alien race known as the Farworlders. Now that one of the Avatars and his Farworlder companion are retiring from the Council, Nia finally has the chance for her dream to come true. When another from her clan, the Bluefins, is selected to compete for the honor instead, Nia is devastated. How could her untalented ...more
Sep 18, 2016 Nichole rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I have spent YEARS searching for this book. Finally I stumbled across it on accident. I remember reading this ages ago and being utterly devastated at the end. So much so that I refused to read the rest of the series. Don't waste your time with this. It starts out cute and innocent and then just....doesn't match up at the end
Jan 11, 2011 Ithlilian rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult
I was weary when I noticed this book had big print, a large amount of space between lines, and 200 pages. However, from the first pages this book draws you in. There are plenty of secrets that everyone is keeping from our main character that aren't easy to figure out. So you keep reading and reading and reading, feeling for the main character's plight and wanting to know what's going on. When all is revealed it's a bit of a shock, which is great. This book had more surprises and turns than some ...more
Alex Lee
Oct 03, 2016 Alex Lee rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, fantasy, 2016
This was a pretty fun book. It's pure set up though.

The main character is a young woman who is not very girly. I suppose this would be a good book for young women, since it has to do with mermaids? But even still, the mystery is apparent and the protagonist is both lively intelligent and has a strong sense of being left out. I suppose this could be the experience of many women who have to stand by and watch men get all the attention and chances of accomplishment. Perhaps this is the "horrible" t
Sarah Anne
Water Book One Ascension By Kara Dalkey

Her destiny will soon be revealed. . .

The sea is the birthplace of legends.

Nia, a young Mermyd of the Bluefin clan, has had one wish all her life, to be an Avatar in her beloved home of Atlantis. The ten Avatars Rule the beautiful and peaceful undersea city alongside the ancient Farworlders, whose magic keeps their world alive. To be an Avatar is an honor and a great responsibility, and Nia dreams of taking her place among the noble ten.

Now, at sixt
Jan 25, 2010 Izlinda rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aubrey McKay
Jul 02, 2015 Aubrey McKay rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 13-25
Something has always felt off to Nia. She lives in a sunken city called Atlantis, ruled by a council of wise and benevolent leaders, who are assisted by Farworlders, a magical octopus sort of species. Shortly into the tale, it's revealed that the council has an opening and they must fill their ranks with a new member. A member, it just so happens, that is around Nia's age. She has trained her entire life for such an opportunity and she's thrilled.

Personally, I felt as if this book was just fant
Alicia Terrill (ReadCover2Cover)
I've had this on my shelf forever (like since middle or high school), and finally decided to read it since it was clearly a quick read. I was surprised that I quite enjoyed it. It wasn't the greatest book ever or anything, but I expected to read a chapter and put it down. I'm glad it was a bit more enjoyable than I expected. It was about Nia, a young "mermyd" living in Atlantis. She is the favorite to be the next avatar and protector of Atlantis but is surprised and disappointed when she isn't e ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 03, 2014 Jennifer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love mermaid stories and folklore. But alas, the last few novels I've read were only okay, at best. But I just finished the first installment of this series, and I simply love it! Of course, my favorite part is that our mermaid heroine lives in Atlantis. ;-) The author slowly unwinds a nicely woven, well thought out history for Nia and her mer-people. Nothing is as it seems, and we all know what happens to our fair city in most stories...

I'm anxious to read the next two books! If you're looki
Aug 21, 2012 Rae rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
To be honest, I almost didn't read this book. The first couple chapters were very poorly written and sounded like a bad teen high school drama with mermaids thrown in. However, due to excellent reviews for this book on GoodReads, I decided to keep going, and I'm very glad I did.

The few issues I have with this book:

1.) A couple of the plot twists were not very surprising at all.

2.) The author seemed a bit unclear about what sort of audience for which this book is meant. I think that's what caused
Laurel Bradshaw
This was just what the doctor ordered to provide a lighter diversion alongside Wolf Hall. I am not regretting spending actual money on the ebook. The intended audience is probably preteen - I would say ages 10-13. But I'm an adult and enjoyed it. The author has created a (mostly) believable underwater world (Atlantis, after it sank). The mermyds are very humanlike - some, like Nia, even have legs instead of tails - and they can breathe out of water. Nia is a spunky, likeable heroine. Some review ...more
Fantasy Literature
Water: Ascension is the first in Kara Dalkey's trilogy concerning sixteen-year old Nia, a mermyd of a prominent clan in the undersea realm of Atlantis. The City is ruled by squid-like Farworlders, and their Avatars — mermyds that undergo a special bonding ritual that allows them to communicate with the Farworlders and govern Atlantis wisely. To be an Avatar is the highest honour a mermyd can achieve, and it is Nia's dream. She believes she has a good chance at winning the position against other ...more
Nia is a young mermyd, supremely qualified to become an Avatar of the city of Atlantis, and awaiting the day when she is chosen to compete in the trials to become an Avatar. When her less qualified cousin is chosen to represent the Bluefin clan in the trials, she begins to unravel the dark secrets kept by her family and the Avatars of Atlantis.

Though I haven't read much in the way of mermaid fantasy, I did enjoy the unique twists on their civilization that seem like they would make the mermyds o
I remember reading this in the 4th or 5th grade, and I had forgotten about it until I found a copy of this book at a used book store. So of course I had to get it and reread it. I've always had a thing for mermaid stories, so that was fun. I didn't remember a lot, just that the main girl wanted to win a competition and there were squid things. I didn't remember how seriously dark the end is though! It's such a cliff hanger, and at 10 years old I had no idea when or what the sequel was going to b ...more
Dara Singer
Sep 11, 2016 Dara Singer rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this series in Middle School. I fell in love with it and couldn't remember the title for years. And then tonight I did. Sooo happy I remember it. I will mostly likely re-read it. It's sooo captivating.
Nick Fitzgerald
It was much better when I read it in high school. Now, I didn't find the story as interesting as I remembered but I guess I just wanted to revisit the story.
Jodi Ralston
I found Ascension at a library sale room, and its cover attracted me. Very nice. As pretty as the cover is, the imagination in this work matches it. The author puts her own twist on mermaids, adding in a touch of science fiction, as in aliens. Great idea. That was the strongest part of the novel, but it created the work's greatest weakness. Because there is so much to explain, about a third of the novel is pure infodump. However, the originality of the world-building is what makes me overlook th ...more
Mar 24, 2016 Catherine rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I registered a book at!
It was okay. It was more of a book written for 12 year olds that has a 16 year old lead.

It has undeveloped characters and straightforward motives.
Sep 05, 2014 Emily rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An interesting tale that leads to a pre-Arthurian time and what girl doesn't love a fun mermaid story? :)
Sep 05, 2011 Garrett rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ascension was a great introduction to the Water Trilogy. Kara Dalkey's undersea world of mermaids, aliens, and Atlanteans was fully developed, lacking nothing. I loved the writing, and Dalkey perfectly captures Nia's uneasy feeling that her treasured underwater world is but an illusion. The final scenes of the book are filled with twists, turns, and very unexpected surprises. If you love mermaids, definitely check out this unique spin. This would also be a great introduction into high fantasy. I ...more
Apr 08, 2012 Beth rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya-fantasy, fantasy
The library classified this as YA, but I almost think that without the romance subplot it would be better suited to middle grades. (Largely by how quickly I breezed through it). This is a part of a trilogy, but this particular book ended about the time the story just started to get interesting. The world building was excellent, which is largely what kept me reading, along with characterization. I'm hoping there will be more plot with the sequels, but honestly, I think this would've better served ...more
Imania Margria
May 21, 2016 Imania Margria rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A sweet interesting book. Not a slow read. Has you hooked from beginning to the end.
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  • Antara (Antara, #1)
  • Selina Penaluna
  • Merrow
  • In Great Waters
  • Mermaid Tales from Around the World
  • Forbidden Sea (Forbidden Sea, #1)
  • Fins
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  • Sirena
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  • Home to the Sea
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Kara Mia Dalkey is an American author of young adult fiction and historical fantasy. She was born in Los Angeles and has lived in Minneapolis, Pittsburgh, Colorado, and Seattle. Much of her fiction is set in the Heian period of Japan.

She was married to author John Barnes; they divorced in 2001. She is a member of the Pre-Joycean Fellowship and of the Scribblies. She is a graduate of the Fashion In
More about Kara Dalkey...

Other Books in the Series

Water (3 books)
  • Reunion (Water, #2)
  • Transformation (Water, #3)

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