Monica Jones's Reviews > Ascension

Ascension by S.L.J. Shortt
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Apr 30, 12

it was amazing

I got an ARC of this novel simply because Shortt wanted me to proof read it.

It's been said that true love is one soul inhabiting two bodies. Masses of romance novels are based on the concept of soul mates but there are those rare few where the soul mates aren't lovers but in fact enemies. I'm not talking about Romeo and Juliet; I'm talking about Sherlock and Moriarty, Clarice and Hannibal, Batman and The Joker.

A hero and a villain whose lives quite literally revolve around each other.

That is exactly what we get in Blood Heavy: Ascension.

Aria only made a short cameo at the end of the first novel (when she detonated a vampire with her mind) but she is the main focus of this second instalment and she has climbed to the top of my greatest villains list. She has a truly dark sense of humour that is reminiscent of Heath Ledger's Joker from The Dark Knight that is found only in a person that is fully aware of their own madness. Aria is a truly refreshing villainess for many reasons but most notably because:

1. She has style.
2. She has a wicked sense of humour.
3. She does everything for herself (no henchmen to be seen anywhere)
4. She's different and because her motives are extremely simple yet highly original. I don't think I've ever seen a bad guy or in this case 'girl' do what they did for the reasons in this book.

Sorry, not going to spoil it for you.

Basically, this book is like Silence of the Lambs. You're cheering for the hero but it's the villain that leaves a lasting impression on you. The only real weakness is that she doesn't appear for about the first seventy-five pages and you don't really get to see Aria in all her glory until the very end of the book.


But...thankfully. The other characters and plot more than fill the void. Jerry is back and more sarcastic than ever and this book has so many pop culture references that I actually had Google on standby just to fully understand them all. All the characters have little moments where they shine through and although Jerry in the main character, Goose and Joe are the ones that tug your heart strings in this. Unless of course they are compared to the mother/son relationship that has developed between Jerry and Sophinia which you might need the Kleenex on hand for.

This instalment also gives us what the last one lacked: ROMANCE! Although it's not a focal point, it is very present and is not just endearing but hilarious at times. I'm just wondering when we get to see the other characters find their other halves. By the way, this novel should come with a warning label. Some of the scenes in this had me laughing so hard that I almost peed a little. Once again, the dialogue and character actions are inspired by Joss Whendon are easily some of the best I've ever read. The 'faecist' scene was brilliant.

As for the far it's all been a survival game for Jerry. He got dropped into the middle of a shark tank and the story has been about him trying to swim out. This one isn't much different except that you get the foreboding sense that this is all leading to something much much bigger. I'm happy to report that the whole 'Destiny' thing is handled very well in this novel with no prophecies or hints of what the future holds but instead with an underlying promise that it does mean something.

Some people may have already guessed some of the 'twists' in this novel but I can guarantee, nobody will see the ending coming. Aria's big reveal at the end left me speechless. Along with a few elements that are very uncommon in YA fiction today such as an alcholic six-hundred year old Irish mage going the crew, an encounter with a Wyvern, a hobo priest and Jerry getting a bomb strapped to his chest to name but a few.

The only other complaint I have about this novel is the sheer breakneck speed that it moves at. Once the action starts (which happens on about page four) you literally don't have a chance to breath. There's plenty of character development but I would have liked to see it flushed out a bit more. As soon as a character reaches a turning point, they are forces into a life or death situation before they can fully come to grips with it which sucks for them. Still, the action is too good not to love. In fact, the final fight is so intense that it makes the Hunger Games look like a playground scrap because none of the fighters are reluctant in this. They're all out for blood which pretty much sums up the title of the book.

All in all: Blood Heavy: Ascension is the type of thing I want to see coming soon in IMAX 3D.
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