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The Ascent to Godhood

(Tensorate #4)

4.07  ·  Rating details ·  752 ratings  ·  121 reviews
The Protector is dead.

For fifty years, the Protector ruled, reshaping her country in her image and driving her enemies to the corners of the map. For half a century the world turned around her as she built her armies, trained her Tensors, and grasped at the reins of fate itself. Now she is dead. Her followers will quiver, her enemies rejoice.

But in one tavern, deep in
Paperback, 122 pages
Published July 30th 2019 by
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Average rating 4.07  · 
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 ·  752 ratings  ·  121 reviews

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The Ascent to Godhood is about the relationship between Hekate, the series' villainess, and Lady Han, a courtesan-turned-revolutionary. It follows how the two met, the times they spent together, and how the relationship fell apart - so, yes, it's basically an f/f villain romance, with delicious intrigue in the background.

The Tensorate is a series of novellas written in unusual formats, some of which worked for me more than others, and when I heard that The Ascent to Godhood was to be a
K.J. Charles
Oct 14, 2019 added it
Shelves: fantasy, f-f
Another tremendous story in this terrific alt-Chineseish fantasy universe. This one gives us the backstory of series villains Lady Han and the Protector who ruled the Tensorate world for decades. Which is fantastic: I love a villain narrative to fill in the other side. It's a dark love story with no happy ending, told as an old woman's reminiscence in a bar. Immersive, beautifully described (probably not the place to start the story even if, technically, it's mostly a prequel). And once again a ...more
Omg. This book is perfect, this series is perfect, I love everything about this SO MUCH.
Wow! This series keeps blowing me away. Each book is written in a completely different style and voice, so they all have a really distinct feel to them. And to my mind, each book in this series has been better than the one before it (although comparing them is tricky because of how different they are. It may be that this world is just growing on me as I become more familiar with it).

This one is narrated entirely as a tipsy/drunken ramble of reminiscences by Lady Han, previously known as a bit
Feb 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
the covers for this series are always gorgeous and this is about sapphic lovers to enemies!!! definitely my favorite so far.
Shaun Hutchinson
This continues to be a wonderful series.
Dawn C
Sep 06, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: media-kindle
A short but interesting continuation of the Tensorate universe. I love how Yang manages to renew their writing by every novella. It keeps them feeling refreshingly new.
Sep 20, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
And now for some back story. Hekates rise to be the Protector is intertwined with Lady Hans life story. I cant resist a cantankerous old lady narrator, so Ascent sucked me right in, but didnt quite sustain my delight in the final act - I was as interested in Han as in Hekate, and frustrated not to get more detail on her life as a Machinist.

3.5 stars

Full review
Actual review: 4.75

"Would she even shed any tears over my death? Or would she triumphantly say, I was right, and then go on with her life?

No. If I was to die, I would give her hell before I did."

The Ascent to Godhood is the fourth and final book in the Tensorate series and its by far my favourite.

The Tale of Lady Han

Yes, yes, yes! This is exactly what I wanted from the Tensorate series. I wanted character journeys, thrilling political intrigue, and more than anything, I wanted a proper story
Sep 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As usual JY Yang blows me away with their wildly different narrative styles, unique plots and richly drawn, three dimensional characters. I read this latest (last?) installment in the Tensorate series in one sitting, staying up late because I couldnt put it down. Its a perfect companion to the other three books and fills in some important gaps in the history. Definitely worth the read if youve enjoyed the previous books and I very much hope that they continue to explore this world in the future. ...more
Gail (The Knight Reader)
Nov 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I love a good villain backstory, so I particularly enjoyed this look into The Protectors life. The second-person voice did not bother me at all, and I like that I had to use some brain cells to figure out who the narrator was talking to. Connecting the dots between The DESCENT of Monsters and The ASCENT of Godhood was particularly rewarding. The unresolved political tension did not perturb me enough to lower the rating, and maybe Im handing out a generous grade for sentimentality. Nonetheless, I ...more
Aug 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I think these just keep getting better! I love this series so much! I can't wait for more. Definitely an auto buy author for me.
Elle Maruska
Aug 09, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Once again I'm legit blown away by how GOOD ALL OF THESE NOVELLAS ARE LIKE OMG.

I said this in a review of The Descent of Monsters but Yang has this absolutely amazing ability to take a series and make each book sound like a completely different genre: epic fantasy, action-packed adventure, hardboiled noir, and now this latest addition--a deeply introspective character-driven tragic love story. Yet despite these various styles of storytelling, the books all fit together perfectly, giving us a
Diana Green
Jul 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, lgbtqa
This is certainly well-written and engaging, even if the plot and ending are far from happy. I especially appreciate the world-building in this series. J.Y. Yang has an incredible imagination and writes intense, unique stories. I might wish for a few more "feel-good" elements, but that's just a matter of personal taste.
May 19, 2019 marked it as to-read
Now Im going to not so patiently wait until this book comes out.

I need to know what happens!!
Tsana Dolichva
Sep 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
The Ascent to Godhood by JY Yang is the fourth novella in the Tensorate series. It tells its own story, but it does contain sort of spoilers for some of the earlier novellas, especially The Descent of Monsters, I think (they have all blurred a little in my memory). I suspect some of the worldbuilding set up in earlier books helps a bit with getting your bearings in this novella, but it's not essential.

Told as a one-sided conversation in a bar, this is the kind of story that grabs you with its
My favorite in a strong series. The cover art is as glorious as the rest. The story - well its brilliantly told because you can see how it could have been a 600 page novel. And popular that way. But better this way. Honed and sharpened.

Lets face it, weve all read the 600 page fantasy novel with a young empress and her assassin coming of age. We dont need to take the meandering path. Its a seat of the pants story as an old womans reminiscence in a bar one evening. More exciting, and you get the
Sep 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Five stars because I adore this series and the way JY Yang makes every novella a unique snapshot of the world they invented. They are an incredibly versatile and talented writer.
As with the last book, I crave more. More of characters like Akeha, Mokoya, Thennjay and Rider. I hope this is not the last novella in the series. I'd like to see at least one more sequel, as The Ascent to Godhood is pretty much a prequel apart from the event that leads to Lady Han telling her story.

One minor gripe:
Lois Young
Nov 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
WHOA!!! Not the way I thought this series would end this way! In short, this novella completed and the series, in which everything came together in a full circle: motives and behaviors were explained, and the foundation(s) of an Empire brought its denizens together under the same purpose. Anyone who enjoys historical political fiction and/or silkpunk needs to read this book and this series.

My review of the complete series is forthcoming!
actual rating: 3.5

This book is about Mokoya and Akeha's mother before she was [whatever her title is, I forget it right now] and is told from the point of view of a woman who was her servant and lover for most of her life. It was definitely an interesting look at a character we had only seen from afar before but unfortunately this was the shortest book yet in the series I think it did suffer a bit because of that. Still an interesting series though. It is unfortunate that I fell so hard for
Sep 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
This was one of my favourites in the series. The story of the Protector from someone who both loves and hates her and the journey between the two.
Review to be posted at Fantasy Literature.
So I admit, I wasn't wild about the first two books in the series. But books three and four totally make up for that and I can't wait to see what Yang will come up with next!
Sara Norja
Aug 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
I love how the Tensorate Series novellas weave a narrative formed of such disparate cloths. How all of them are told in different styles and with different narrative conceits. The Ascent to Godhood is a monologue, Lady Han recounting her history with the now-dead Protector to a person whose identity we can guess based on the previous novella. (BRILLIANT and understated and I love it, btw.)

It was wonderfully jarring to jump straight to the afterparty of the tyrannous Protector's death on the very
Corey White
Jul 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
With The Ascent to Godhood, JY Yang continues weaving together the disparate threads of the Tensorate world. Instead of a simple, linear series, these books slots together like a jigsaw puzzle, with each piece illuminating more of the whole.

Not only is each beautifully written, filled with unique worldbuilding, and populated with fully fleshed-out characters, but with each Yang has pushed themselves to explore different narrative styles to great effect.

I love these books.
David H.
Jan 20, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, novella
This was a very unexpected entry in this series. We're told that the Protector has just died, so I'm left wondering about the Machinist rebellion that's been brewing since before the first novella started. Will we finally get a confrontation of progress? No, we get a 120-page backstory on the Protector by one of her closest ex-associates. All very well done, of course, and I was kept engaged the entire time, and then it ends, and I'm left with questions that I assumed would be answered by future ...more
The final installment in the Tensorate series, and an interesting continuation of the series. This novella jumps back to the beginning to reveal how Hekate, the main villainess throughout the series, became who she is. It's told in first person by Lady Han, a courtesan and Hekate's lover who eventually escaped her clutches to lead the revolution (so yes, it's an f/f villain romance). This is a very fast read and by far the shortest Tensorate novella, coming in at only 120 pages. I could have ...more
Sep 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
A short little tale set in the Tensorate universe. While it doesn't really advance the plot at all, it does give us backstory into two of the characters we met in other books in the series - Lady Han and the Protector. It's all told in the second person through the eyes of Lady Han, and we never really learn who she is speaking to, but it doesn't matter. Honestly, I'd read anything set in this universe because I just find it so intriguing. The author has done a great job of building this ...more
Sep 26, 2019 rated it liked it
Another brilliant experiment on narrative structure from JY Yang - and a bold decision to weave their stories around historical events. This one is a powerful, personal story of love and conflict, and it gives new depth to the whole Tensorate series.
Jules Bertaut
Oct 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: second-world, queer
These books are weird as fuck and I don't think I can explain why I like them but I definitely do!
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JY Yang is the author of the Tensorate series of novellas from Tor.Com Publishing (The Red Threads of Fortune, The Black Tides of Heaven, and two more slated for 2018 and 2019). Their short fiction has been published in over a dozen venues, including Uncanny Magazine, Lightspeed, Clarkesworld, and Strange Horizons.

In previous incarnations, they have been a molecular biologist; a writer for

Other books in the series

Tensorate (4 books)
  • The Black Tides of Heaven (Tensorate, #1)
  • The Red Threads of Fortune (Tensorate #2)
  • The Descent of Monsters (Tensorate, #3)

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