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Publisher's Summary

The Wizard's Council of Tarador was supposed to tell young Koren Bladewell that he is a wizard. They were supposed to tell everyone that he is not a jinx, that all the bad things that happen around him are because he can't control the power inside him, power he doesn't know about. The people of his village, even his parents, are afraid of him, afraid he is cursed. That he is a dangerous, evil jinx. The Wizard's Council didn't tell young Koren, because they know what is best for him. Even after their silent deception destroys his life.

Crown Princess Ariana Trehayme will become queen of Tarador on her 16th birthday, if her weak, indecisive mother the Regent hasn't allowed their ancient enemy to conquer Tarador before then. Ariana wants her royal army to strike at the enemy, but her mother knows what is best for her, and the realm.Together, Ariana and Koren can save Tarador, if the adults, who know best, will get out of their way.

©2016 Craig Alanson (P)2017 Podium Publishing

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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    3,954
  • 4 Stars
    1,133
  • 3 Stars
    310
  • 2 Stars
    85
  • 1 Stars
    56

Performance

  • 5 out of 5 stars
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    4,423
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    652
  • 3 Stars
    114
  • 2 Stars
    22
  • 1 Stars
    16

Story

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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    3,505
  • 4 Stars
    1,153
  • 3 Stars
    354
  • 2 Stars
    123
  • 1 Stars
    74
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

A skeptic entertained

Honestly, I am not a passionate fan of the sword and sorcery fantasy genre. I am a huge fan of the Expeditionary Force series and RC Bray's narrating. So it was with quite some hesitation that I purchased this book after listening to what I felt was a lackluster uninteresting preview. I wasn't convinced the story or narrator would be a worthy investment of my time and money.

I preface this review with my doubts not to troll the author or the narrator but to give context for my review.

First, after having completed this book I can't imagine a better suited narrator for this story. The narrator quickly dissolves away into the story and there are only a wide variety of characters and adept accents left. Production value was very good. There were no noticiable splicing of vocals, popping, lisping crackling "ssss", or sharp audible inhalations from the narrator that are still far too commonplace in audio production these days.

The story is a well tested, well worn one but the relateable and developed characters make it easy for the listener to be absorbed into the environment as an observer. I am pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed this story and can't wait to listen to book two.

337 of 358 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

A great coming of age fantasy tale

I have to say this isn't like Craig's other books. Instead of aliens this is a deep rooted world of magic, wars and outlaws. I guess it just goes to show the imagination of the author is quite wide. The book is entertaining and I found it enjoyable. However it could due with a bit more humor. But then again i'm a Skippy fan.

AUDIBLE 20 REVIEW SWEEPSTAKES ENTRY

121 of 138 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Loved it with one constant reservation

This was a really well written first book in a series. It's definitely at the high end of the quality spectrum from the writing and story-telling angle.

My reservation... I have read or listened to quite a few books whose major plot points are repeatedly driven by misunderstandings, characters accidentally over-hearing the exact wrong information at the exact wrong time, and characters inexplicably not revealing pertinent information that otherwise would bring resolution instead of conflict. In other books this usually happens "because reasons" or with no explanation whatsoever. With a book where this happens over and over, I usually make it about 4 hours in and then return it with prejudice. It's almost always lazy story-telling and so frustrating that I find myself wanting to choke the author for wasting what would otherwise be a good book.

In the case of Ascendant, the author manages to make it work (most of the time). These coincidence fails are overtly portrayed and mostly adequately explained. As a result I was able to enjoy the book and was only really in a choking mood a couple times... That said, if the inexplicable repetition of unfortunate coincidences continues through book 2 as the only device to move the plot then I'm pretty sure I won't be able to hang in for book 3.

My fingers are crossed because I really did enjoy this book.

77 of 92 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

.....Not Impressed..

STORY
First, I did not like the predictability of the story, there was never a twist in the story that made my think "wow didn't see that one coming".

Second major issue is the simplistic 2nd characters. Since the whole story is based on characters misunderstanding what happens around the main character, all the characters come across as complete idiots. A good example is the court wizard. The wizard is supposed to be 180+ years old with vast magical power, knowledge, and cunning intellect. Instead he comes across as a complete fool as he can easily prevent a lot of the misunderstandings that happen to Koran by simply communicating with other characters or using common sense. His actions in the book completely contradict how he is described and presented. This happens with almost all the characters as well. They are described in one manner but then their actions, through simplistic thought processes, contradict their initial description just so the author can easily find a way to blame Koran in an effort to illustrate how his life is unfair

PERFORMANCE
I have never been a real big fan of Tim Gerard Reynolds in the first place,it just drives me crazy how he just always seems to read so slow. Like he always pauses after every sentence or phrase for a few seconds longer than it needs to be. i have listened to many other books that Mr. Reynolds has performed in, including Riyria Revelations, Riyria Chronicles, and The White Tower and only noticed it when i played it along with, or back to back with other readers.

OVERALL
Unfortunately this initial installment kept beating us over the head with just how unfair Koren Blackwell’s life is. Seventeen hours of misunderstandings and lies all to keep one very likable young man from his destiny! This book simply needed a good editor.

It just seamed like The whole premise that a 13 year-old saves the world again in fantasy fiction books is getting very old.

43 of 63 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

I have never been more frustrated...

Jesus Christ. No payoff, arbitrary cliff hangers, and all of the characters are completely useless. When I read or listen to a story, I really, really want payoff, not become enthralled halfway through only to find the characters see no real personal growth, and that the extremely cringy and convenient 'misunderstandings' the MC goes through make me want to not only delete the audio book, but burn the entire damn computer it was streamed on. I have never been as frustrated or as disappointed with a story in book form. It's only literal saving grace is that the ending of this book is still not as bad as the terribly written ending to Mass Effect 3. But as God is my witness, Ascendant is a close 2nd in my eyes. I do like Expeditionary force series by the same Author, and as long as the Author doesn't muck that up with cringy plot convenience, I will buy it. But not one more from this series. I'm still mad as I write this review at 11pm when I have to be up in 4 hours.

19 of 28 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Pretty good listen...another teen saves the world

The whole premise that a 13 y/o saves the world again in fantasy fiction books is getting very old. With that said the book is actually a good listen. the performer is really good once you get used to his style. I found the story good, "Spoiler" and of course there is a 13y/o to 13y/o love interest (peasant meets princess) and the 13y/o princess has a superb tactical mind...whatever. I will listen to the next one because I like the author's previous books and I could use a little Joe Bishop and Skippy right now the whole teen down on his luck but is really the most powerful mage history is tiring.

9 of 13 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Definitely not something Joe Bishop would like.

Obviously this story is not anything like ExFor and I didn't expect it to be. Alanson's foray into fantasy is interesting nonetheless. I'm actually only a little past halfway through and the story is dragging. Luckily Alanson is a good enough writer and T.G. Reynolds is a good enough vocal performer to make "run-on" interesting enough to keep listening. I know there's a good story in here. I just wish it would develop quicker. Unlike GoT there is only one storyline following a 12-13 year old boy and I'm starting to wonder if this series will be written in real time. Imagine listening to a Game of Thrones novel and it only followed one character and lasted just as long. However if you're looking for a long audiobook so you have something to listen to for a long while, you could do a lot worse. T.G. Reynolds makes it a pleasant listen and the story is good albeit a little too drawn out in places.

16 of 24 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

I’m HOOKED

If you are looking for a clean audiobook that keeps your attention, look no further! I’m rather tired of all of the sex and cursing out there. This has very subtle romance between pre-teens and nothing else. I believe I spotted one mild curse word. The storyline is excellent and I cannot wait to move onto the second book!

6 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Unoriginal, contrived, PATHETIC!

I loved the Expeditionary Force series by Alanson which was witty, well written, and original and I can not believe that this came from the same author. I wanted to stop listening after the first hour but was sure that there would be a novel twist, or something that would explain the poor writing and lack of an originality; I thought, even hoped, that it was an elaborate parody of the genre because the story and characters were some completely cliché and derivative. The biggest surprise though was when the book ended without any of that and without a single unique or interesting idea. I've read a lot of books both good and bad but never have I read something so completely worthless. Here's a quote from the book that sums it up: "The grumpy man grumbled" - Craig Alanson ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME!!! That's my favorite, but there so, so many more. The antagonists throughout the story are called, wait for it, "the enemy". I kid you not! And that phrase "the enemy" appears more often than any actual description of this horrible evil force making it impossible to care about the centuries old struggle between good and evil. The entire book is full of characters that my 8 year old son would find contrived. I couldn't create such shallow, uninteresting characters if you paid me and by the end of the book the only emotional investment I had in them was a profound disgust for their universal stupidity. The fantasy world that hosts the story is also pitifully bland. The author has just taken stereotypical cultures from around the world Chinese, African, Arab, Hispanic, Irish, etc. and given them new "fantasy" names. Their garb, their accents and even the food they eat is exactly what you would expect from their corresponding cultures IRL. Finally, the narrator droned on at such a slow pace that I was only able to get through the entire book by cranking up the speed. Letting it play in real time would have drained my will to live. I honestly cannot believe that anyone could enjoy this drivel. Again, it was an immense shock to me after enjoying Alanson's other series so much. My advice, if you are a Skippy fan, look elsewhere; If you are a literary fan, look elsewhere; If you have to choose between listening to this audio book and being water-boarded, take my advise and go with the water-boarding!

9 of 14 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Captured my imagination and heart

I was surprised and delighted with Ascendant, Book 1 and I'm eagerly awaiting the audiobook for the next in this series. The unlikely young hero is betrayed by the adults around him and yet he keeps rising to the next challenge and the next. This book should appeal to adults and young adults who enjoy a good fantasy story with memorable characters and a perfectly suited narrator Tim Gerard Reynolds. I only discovered this book after falling in love with the same author's Expedition Force series narrated by RC Bray, which is the most fun science fiction I've ever found and totally different from Ascendant. Author Craig Alanson is apparently exceptionally versatile!

4 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Paul J.
  • 12-16-17

I liked the authors other book series

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

No, the story around the main character didn't progress and each time another character made a decision in 'his best interest' or to 'keep him safe' it was like those poor horror films where the scantily dress teenage girl answers the door just past midnight. You know what is going to happen, in fact there was very little mystery.

Would you recommend Ascendant: Book 1 to your friends? Why or why not?

Please see above.

What didn’t you like about Tim Gerard Reynolds’s performance?

Slow and I felt I was listening to someone trying to make the story sound interesting. First time I accelerated the reading just to get through the book. Also maybe I got spoilt by other readers who are so flexible with their voices, you forget it is a single person reading the book.

Did Ascendant: Book 1 inspire you to do anything?

No

Any additional comments?

The story had hooks and I am interested in progressing with the next one, but I expect to play it at x2 or 3 just to get through faster. There are such big hints about dangers, the enemy, powerful wizards etc. all the stuff I like, but nothing really happened in this book. Just got book 2, wish me luck.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Mike
  • 01-18-18

Really good

The story was interesting but straight forward hence 4 out of 5 stars but kept me listening. Finished the booked in a few days. Well written and performed.
Hope book 2 progresses the characters on alot more, although to be fair this book only covers events over a year.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Brian
  • 07-09-18

Dreadful story with poor narration

There was the potential for a good story in this book but as it lumbered on it was clear a one book story was going to be stretched into a series. This author over explains insignificant details to expand his narrative and drags out everything to the point of tedium. The language is childlike with the constant use of "evil", foul and vile making an appearance in every chapter. Tim Gerard Reynolds reads it like he was speaking to a child. Not the book it could have been if the author had chosen substance over the chance to create 3 books. You could skip a chapter here and there and still follow the story without missing the main narrative. Not worth the time it took to listen to it!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • David
  • 12-13-17

Fantastic book, Tim Gerard Reynold voice Fantastic

Where does Ascendant: Book 1 rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

Really liked this book, have pre ordered Book 2, can't recommend it enough.

What about Tim Gerard Reynolds’s performance did you like?

One of the best, his voice is so well suited for this book, it just works so well. The amount of depth and feeling in his voice is great

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • 39!
  • 10-29-18

Another great for this author

This starts off a little slow but as the story builds you will become hooked, and left wanting more.

I started with this author by listening to expeditionary force They are fantastic too.

I highly recommend these books enjoy. I have become an audio book connoisseur. I love them.

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Stanley Hughes
  • 10-16-18

Anticlimax

If I had to describe the trilogy in one word it would be 'anticlimax'. I felt the first two books and much of the third were constructing an interesting story, and nearing the end of the 3rd book I was wondering what the next book would bring. But then, in a few chapters, the story suddenly came to an end in an utterly disappointing way, almost as if the author couldn't be bothered to continue the story.

I read other reviews on the first and second book and saw some people described them (especially the second one) as page fillers. At the time, however, I thought the author was creating an extensive world and story. I was wrong. When I finished the final book, I realised most of the first and third book as well as the entire second book, are completely irrelevant to the overall story arch.

I endured what I thought to be minor imperfections in the first and second book (mistakes, needless repetition, slow pace, derivative naming of places and characters) because I felt the story had potential, instead I should have realised they where symptoms of something more problematic, an author who only half heartedly threw together a fantasy story.

*SPOILERS*

It takes two books for Koren to realise he is a wizard and he receives no training at all during the third book, and then suddenly it comes to an end in a way that also could have happened exactly the same way at the end of book 1.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Amazon Customer
  • 08-11-18

Great listen

What a great story, well performed and narrated. Can't wait for the next book

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • S. Putwain
  • 07-26-18

You'd be mad to not get this

An absolute gem had me gripped from the very start can't wait to get started on book 2.
Brilliant.

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Kenneth Flint
  • 07-26-18

Way too slow and too much repetition

The story moves forward at a frustratingly slow pace and I found it hard to believe the outstanding gullible niaevity of the main character. The repetition is also annoying. Finally the over enunciation by the narrator is cringeworthy. could be a good story with a lot of editing.

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
  • ben
  • 07-10-18

Forgettable and deeply boaring!

It a cheap knock off over ever fantasy novel, (Lord of rings etc) but nothing happen. Book spends hour set in i tower with nothing happening. Slow. I t,he characters are cheap and have no depth. Ok if he about 7.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • jennifer
  • 02-02-18

loved it

what a wonderful adventure and the narrative voice I could listen to for hours
thank you

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Joel
  • 01-17-18

Loved every part of this book

I could not stop listening, I loved every part, would even sit in the car listening after I got to my destination, it’s descriptive and detailed and I love a good British accent

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Anonymous User
  • 12-30-17

When's the next one

1st one down can't wait for the next one. wondering how many are in the series

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • connor
  • 01-09-18

Simple and brilliant

The story is a casual walk in the park with little ups and downs to move the story along its relaxing and interesting I listen to dozens of audio books every year and rarely do I find characters as interesting and engaging as ones found in this book a fantastic read and I can’t wait to start the next book.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Anonymous User
  • 09-08-18

great formula

the kind of story that a family can share . kids over ten I think. will see this series to the close.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Christopher Yardin
  • 08-04-18

Another Craig Alanson series I'm now hooked on

Struggled to get used to Tim's voice at first. But as the story picked up I was hooked on the story.

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Hamish
  • 06-28-18

Frustrating

I liked it until the amount of crap that piled
up on Corrin is beyond credible belief. It just gets ridiculous.

Seriously Craig??? It just pissed me off.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Joseph Fraser
  • 06-26-18

excellent book

slow start but once the story picks up you cant stop. wanting to know what comes next.
was a joy to listen to.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Trent Thomson
  • 06-21-18

This is Magician

This is Magician. You're stock standard fantasy that may be best for beginners, but hey great Narrator at least.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Bron
  • 06-20-18

Great listening

A bit slow to start with but it got better and better. Can't wait to get the second book!