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Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Ascend

The time has come to end yet another series! I still remember the first time I had the first book in my hands... I saw it and it was mine. And here we are, to the third and last book in this series that has surprised me and took me on a great adventure. It's always sad to close a series, however I am absolutely happy that I picked this one up. The only thing I can already say though is that this was totally different from what I had expected to happen and it did disappoint me in the beginning. But I have come to terms with it and I am absolutely in love with Ascend by Amanda Hocking.

WARNING For the ones here that haven't read the first in this series, I recommend you not to read on since there will be further developments to the characters and to the plot. This will create a less pleasant read of Ascend because you know more information than you already should. Therefore, I recommend you not to read the review of Ascend but to read the review about the first in the series: Switched. If you're interested in the second book, Torn, I also wrote a review about that book. Just clicking on the title will open a new page with the review on the first book.

The weight of the world is on Wendy's shoulders. After realizing that only she can safe the kingdom by sacrificing herself, Wendy is up for a great task. Above that not everyone in the kingdom stands behind her, which results in many disputes where Wendy can't defend herself. Only learning to be a future queen, she's has save the kingdom and wants to save everyone she loves. The treat of the Vittra is suffocating them all, but how does she get people to trust her and to fight this battle with her when all they do is ignore her and not see her as their future queen? 
If that isn't enough yet, Wendy also struggles with her feelings for both Finn and Loki while being married to Tove. It's time for her to finally pick someone, but her fear of losing either one of them is too hard to bear. Next to losing one of her loved ones, her mother isn't doing well either. Wendy finds herself on an emotional roller coaster while training to be the future queen and saving her kingdom. Will she be able to stand or will she fall under the weight? The ultimate question remains: will she'll be able to save everyone? 

With this series coming to an end, I have to say I'm absolutely happy with our main character Wendy. Over the course of 3 books, we really saw her grow. From first being someone totally different from who she thought she was to now being on her way to become the queen of the kingdom, I have to say this character has never ever disappointed me.

If there's one thing I can say it's that it's amazing to see her make this progress over a longer course. It just adds to the realistic side of the character. Everything takes time, and her becoming the woman she was destined to be was something that takes time. Amanda Hocking therefore did a great thing from making this doubting character into a strong, independent one. It might have taken us 3 books to finally see her being ready or close to ready, but the end result in the last book is fantastic.

If there's one thing I admired in this character it's her courage. Wendy has this hard task on her shoulders: rescuing the kingdom from the Vittra treat. By now we all know what's going on and what the history is between both Trylle and Vittra (Bonus: we'll get a few more answers during Ascend!) and know what role Wendy plays in this part. The fact that she's also in the process of becoming the future leader of the kingdom makes sure that she'll have a great challenge. The courage and strength this character shows therefore is very admirable. 

And strength she'll need. The people in the kingdom are having a hard time with standing beside her and agreeing to whatever she proposes. This creates an even more difficult situation for Wendy. It might be the last book, but if all it really gives our main character one last chance to prove herself. And prove the readers that she really is in fact this amazing, strong, independent woman that grew over the course of this series.

Above that Wendy is struggling with a few problems of her own. Being the last book of the series, we'll have to get answers on that. Once again this character shows how strong she is by leading and trying to figure out where her heart is really at. This will of course make sure that a lot of feelings will be directed to the readers and makes it easier to connect with the character. 

If I can say anything about all the characters in general it's that I absolutely think the author did a fantastic job with writing them. Each and every character has its individual characteristics, strengths and weaknesses that made sure we got a very varied range of characters. Each of them really added to the story and influenced it so that we came to this one coherent story that really takes us on an adventure. Above that I'm amazed by how well each of the grew and changed, some taking a different path than readers might have expected. Amanda Hocking really writes beautiful characters that still surprise!

For the plot I have to admit that I was stunned by it. We all know that Wendy is having some personal trouble and I had expected that that would really take up the plot as a whole. However that really wasn't the case at all. Of course we'll get a close-up on these problems as they'll still be of major importance for our character's personality and for the readers (because we want answers!). Yet I did notice that the story really concentrates on Wendy becoming the woman that she needs to become to save everyone.

We know that she's still learning to be this future queen and Amanda Hocking really took us onto the trip where we saw her grow in this individual, strong person. She's totally transforming in front of us by making us live through moments of her reigning. With her mother being really ill, it's therefore logical that Wendy takes her spot for now. This learning process will be added with making us sit through meetings and moments where fights have happened and the kingdom needs to make a statement or visit the surviving. 

I feel like the author really took time to set apart all the responsibilities Wendy will have to carry to amplify the weight on her shoulders, as well as really show us, through the plot, how she becomes the woman she's always destined to be. I really enjoyed being in those meetings as a reader and get to know their plans and train of thoughts. It just didn't shut out the whole task that Wendy would have to take when she's a future queen. I'm absolutely thrilled that the author didn't only talk about the personal affairs, but also put a lot of attention on what this is all about: the threat. 

Speaking of the threat we're in for a lot of action in this book. Even though we are seeing a lot of meetings and battlefields, the book takes time to present scenes where Trylle and Vittra will meet. These scenes in particular always gave me chills because of the nature of the Vittra. That's something I have always admired with this series, the author made such a great representation of the Vittra and when they meet each other on the battlefield or in either ones kingdoms, we're in for action and thrill. Once again these emotions will make us get ready for what will come. The tension between the two was also something that got bigger, which I had expected because it is the last book, nonetheless it was something I really enjoyed!

Next up are the emotional and personal problems, or challenges, Wendy will have to conquer in the last book! We've come a long way and we also know that Wendy's heart is torn up between different men. Now the series is coming to an end, we'll see how this will turn out. Therefore the author gave us all the options and so many things to feel through different scenes. It is time to find out if your ship survives people! I absolutely enjoyed this challenge, especially because Wendy had to find an answer. Above that the pressure she's now feeling will influence her relationships and make it an even bigger mystery to who she might pick. 

This book is just a great story with the emotional factor and the political one! There's action, there's thrill, there's romance, and so much more! Also the family aspect will come forward even more in Ascend and I really fell for that more than I had expected. Even though it isn't discussed too much we'll still be able to live through it and feel connected to it when it is discussed and get a few answers we were dying to get.

One thing I'd love to point out however is the fact that Amanda Hocking twisted this story so much. It came as a huge surprise to not see the story go as I had first anticipated. I think we can all agree that when you read a book, you know how the author will try to maneuver it. There's always that thread that connects the characters to each other and to the events. I really had not thought that this story could end up so much more different. I have to say that this caused me to be so disappointed, because I had really high expectations of the story to go and end this way. The author really showed great courage with twisting it and making the characters go another way. After coming to terms with it and accepting it, I did actually love how it went. And I absolutely want to applaud the author for making this change of course.

Lastly I want to point out that there's a prologue to the story and it was included in my copy of the book because it's bonus content. If it's not included in your copy of Ascend, I think you can find it online as an e-book type but I'm not sure. What I can say about Ever After is that I absolutely loved the bonus content. It was absolutely amazing to see how this series had ended and how all the characters have moved on from it too. It gives us one last look to each and every one of them and to feel like this is really the end. It just really gives the readers more closure by giving us a glance in their happily (?) ever after! 

Although I had expected a total different ending, I did enjoy this book as the end of the Trylle series. The characters have grown so much over the course of 3 books and I really adore how Wendy became the strong independent woman she was destined to be. I really admire that the author dared to change the story up and turn another way with some characters so that the readers are left with a total different outcome. I do admit that I was a little disappointed it didn't go the way I wanted it, however I did come to terms with it since it's a beautiful ending. Also the big concern that's been hovering over this series is finally resolved and I have to say that I absolutely loved it! The author took time for a plan and then action and let me tell you... action it is! Even though I didn't enjoy this book as much as I did the first one, I'm still really happy that I picked up the series and finished it! Bonus points for Amanda Hocking to change it up and leave us with a book and ending that's so different from what we might have expected since book one.

“I will make this world a better place, whether they like it or not. That’s the fun of being Queen.” 

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