Shara's Reviews > Ascendant Sun

Ascendant Sun by Catherine Asaro
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's review
Dec 21, 2011

liked it
bookshelves: no-longer-own
Read from February 13 to 19, 2012

The premise: ganked from Ascendant Sun is the direct sequel to The Last Hawk, in which Kelric, heir to the Skolian Empire, crash-landed his fighter on the Restricted planet of Coba. He was imprisoned by the powerful mistresses of the great estates -- women who, over time, fell in love with him. After 18 years of living in their gilded cage, Kelric finally made his escape.

In Ascendant Sun, Kelric returns to Skolian space, only to find the Empire in control of the Allied forces of Earth. With little more than the clothes on his back, Kelric is forced to take work on a merchant vessel. But when that vessel enters Euban space, Kelric finds his worst nightmare realized: he becomes a slave to the cruel Aristos -- humans who use torture and sex as the ultimate aphrodisiac.

My Rating: It's a Gamble

I actually enjoyed this more than I was expecting, and I wasn't expecting much, thanks to the cover and some of the negative reviews I'd read of this book before reading. But thankfully, while the ick moments are certainly ick, and while the reader must roll his or her eyes every time Kelric meets a straight female, because inevitably sexual attraction becomes part of the narrative, the story read very quickly and I was engaged in learning how Kelric would (if he even could) find a way to claim his role of Imperator. Also seeing him interact with Jay Rockworth, whose true identity is revealed in The Radiant Seas, is quite the hoot, and interesting besides. I'm slowly growing more invested in seeing how the Skolian and Aristo societies rebuild after the Radiance War, and Kelric's personal philosophy and observations touch on some things I wondered myself: why can't there be peace? And depending on how's in charge, peace is very well possible. So I enjoyed this, despite all indicators saying I wouldn't. Asaro's writing still leaves me a little meh, and I'm starting to think it's because the author oscillates between super technical and super erotic without striking the right tone that makes those extreme oscillations okay, if that makes sense.

Still, despite enjoying this, I'll be moving on to another series, simply because I don't want to spend half the year catching up on my Skolian Empire novels. I do plan to come back to the series, don't worry, but I want to knock out some trilogies, so the next series I'll be focusing on is Elizabeth Bear's Jacob's Ladder.

Spoilers, yay or nay?: Yay. For those who want to remain surprised and unspoiled, do not read the full review, which is at my blog and linked to below. Everyone else, comments and discussion are most welcome!


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02/13/2012 page 12
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