Sunday, November 30, 2014

Book Review: The Road To Ascendance by M.A. Smith


Growing up in the racially volatile flatlands of the Mississippi River basin, Michael Descado has been forced to fight his entire life. With his stoic and contrastingly noble brother Eric by his side, young adulthood finds Michael in his fourth year of college at Delta State University, where his frequent brawling has made him part of the local folklore. One night after a fraternity party melee, Michael’s dormitory is struck by a massive tornado, ripping the building apart and carrying its occupants to a strange and otherworldly realm of monsters and magic.

The ensuing adventure yokes them with saga heroes and nightmare foes, themes of morality, religion, self-sacrifice, and the value of sentient life permeating each choice, each conflict, each miracle. In the end, Michael will hold the fate of a new world in one hand, and the fates of his most beloved in the other.


My Review

Wow. This story grabbed me right from the start and never let go. It's not so much the actual story, which is your basic destined heroes versus dire evil, that makes The Road To Ascendance sing. Now, I happen to like this particular plot. Some may think it overdone, but not me. Especially when the story is as well written and gripping as this one. This book flows perfectly. The pacing is spot on and a delightful mixture of darkness and light. But it's the characters who are the real delight. Wonderfully flawed and perfectly real, they practically breathe right off the page. The heroes aren't entirely heroic and the villains aren't completely villainous. Shades of grey, that's where this story lives and I loved every minute of it.

And the fight scenes. Incredible. I can't recall the last time I read fight scenes that move as smoothly as those in this novel. I've read some fantastic fantasy books lately, but this one tops them all. I can't recommend it enough.

The only flaw, the only thing that really irritated me, was such a trivial thing, yet I feel compelled to mention it. The characters say 'ya' instead of 'you' a lot, which bothered me. I'm not sure why, but it did. Other than that, I can't say a single other bad word about this novel. I will definitely be reading more work by this fabulous author.


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