Rainy Day Reads

ascension book cover


by Nicholas Binge
“I wonder if I only feel sane because you’re all going crazy along with me.”
Genres: Science Fiction, Mystery, Thriller, Horror
Print Length: 333 Pages
Publication Date: April 25, 2023
Publisher: Harper Voyager

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Ascension’s mysterious allure draws readers in immediately through its cover and synopsis. While the novel explores and centers around interesting concepts of belief and free will, other plot choices will leave you scratching your head. Despite a promising start, as the story nears its conclusion, readers will feel the same sense of urgency as the characters climbing the mountain, eagerly anticipating its end.

The story is told from a unique perspective conveyed through the letters of the main protagonist, Harold Tunmore. Harold, a brilliant mind in the global scientific community, is recruited to unravel the mysteries of a newly discovered mountain that has emerged in the Pacific Ocean. He is accompanied by a group of like-minded scientific experts, security staff, and a skilled mountaineer brought together by a mysterious organization with the goal of uncovering the mountain’s secrets.

At first, Harold is initially reluctant to join, but his interest is piqued when he learns that his ex-wife, Dr. Naoka Tanaka, will also be part of the company. As the team ventures up this enigma of a mountain, they encounter irregularities in space and time, along with freezing temperatures, paranoia, mood shifts amongst the crew, and ancient creatures lurking and waiting to hunt them. Despite these challenges, the mountain’s lure continues to draw them towards its peak where they are certain to discover answers beyond their wildest imagination.

Nicholas Binge effectively weaves the present story with flashbacks from the past, gradually revealing more about the main character, Harold. This approach helps break up the journey up the mountain and gain insight into Harold’s backstory and thoughts. The flashback and relationship between Harold and his adopted son, Santi, add depth to the story and makes the audience empathize with the protagonist. The special bond shared between their introverted personalities is one of the book’s highlights. The incorporation of biblical and mythological themes is well-executed and adds to the overall narrative as well.

“Do you know why Sisyphus keeps climbing, even though he knows he’ll always end up back at the start?”

Unlike Harold, the remaining characters were underdeveloped and lacked depth. One character, in particular, displayed persistent disgruntlement throughout without any backstory or explanation. As this character played a crucial role, providing a more compelling backstory would have greatly improved the believability of the character.

The story maintains a great pace throughout, but as the book progresses toward the end, the plot becomes increasingly strange and confusing, even for science fiction. Unfortunately, the conclusion is disappointing and lacks inspiration in its final significant reveal. 

Altogether the story is a fun climb that seamlessly weaves elements of mystery, horror, adventure, and romance. If you’re looking for a quick page-turner that will leave you perplexed and wanting more, then give this one a try. Just be wary that you might be disappointed once you reach the peak. 


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