Friday, 15 February 2013
As the big day approaches, Wendy can't stop thinking about two different men - and neither of them are her husband-to-be. Finn, quiet, strong and determined to do what's right, and Loki, dark and seductive - a sworn enemy who once saved her life...
With all out war just days away, Wendy needs to act quickly if she is to save her friends and family. But while her loyalties and duties are to her people, deeper passions are leading her elsewhere.
And as her worlds collide Wendy must sacrifice everything she loves to save them. But will it be enough?
WARNING: This review *might* be a bit spoilery.
Ascend is pretty much a good conclusion for Amanda Hocking's Trylle series. It is all about growing up and how to make the right decision. Most of the supporting characters get pushed aside in this book (with the exception of Willa, who is allowed some growth, too.) and it really is a chance to show how much Wendy has changed over the course of the series. She is unrecognisable from the somewhat selfish person she was in book one. Now an adult and making mature decisions not only about her kingdom but her love life, too. There's still the annoying love triangle: Wendy's relationship with Loki grows over the course of the book, and her relationship with Finn deteriorates into something new. I'm extremely glad Hocking didn't back track on the ideas she had put in place in Torn, as I think this would have ruined the entire series for me.
These books have never been about action, but about world building and character interaction. Therefore, the climactic fight between the Vittra and the Trylle may have been short and sweet, but I did laugh at the Buffy-esque moment when Wendy finally gets the upper hand over her father.
Right up until the last few chapters, I was content with how the series was wrapping up. Then I started to notice the direction Hocking was corralling her characters in and I thought....oh balls. The last moments I spent with Wendy and co. read like the epilogue in Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows. I get the need for a happily ever after, but this was way too happy, way too neat and tidy. Then there was the short story included in my edition. Normally I sing the praises of these extra stories, but this time around Hocking further hammered home how twee and perfect everything was for the Trylle. I'm not cruel...it's not like I wanted everything to turn out like one of Elora's last paintings, but maybe the ending could have been a touch more subtle?
Another problem I had was the contradiction of Wendy not wanting a one-night-stand with Finn, because it would only be for one night. Flash forward to her saying a 100 pages later that she was okay reversing the situation when having a chance to sleep with Loki. Was this a case of double standards or was this intentional because things would eventually work themselves out?
Overall, I'm not sad that this was the last book. I think there's room for more stories (perhaps from a different narrator?), but everyone is in their perfect happy bubble, so maybe they should be left that way.