Author: K.A. LindePublication Date: 15 Septmeber, 2015
Series: The Ascension SeriesGenre: Young Adult Fantasy
Age Recommendation: 15 and up
Rating: 3 Stars
~ I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review ~
On the day of her Presenting, in front of the entire Byern Court, seventeen-year-old Cyrene Strohm's lifelong plans come to fruition when she's chosen as an Affiliate to the Queen. Or so she thinks. When Cyrene receives a mysterious letter and an unreadable book, she finds nothing is as it seems. Thrust into a world of dangerous political intrigue and deadly magic, Cyrene's position only grows more treacherous when she finds herself drawn to the one man she can never have... King Edric himself. Cyrene must decide if love is truly worth the price of freedom.
The Affiliate Trailer
I found myself struggling with this review because I SERIOUSLY wanted to LOVE this book. I wanted to find myself completely lost in the world that K.A. Linde created. I wanted to be drawn to the characters and feel for them. I wanted the rush that comes with the suspense, the awe of the world building, the sadness of lost friends and loves, and the heart ache and swoon worthy moments of a building love. Instead I found myself confused a good portion of the time and not connecting with any of the characters, except perhaps the one character that I shouldn't connect with in the end, Prince Kael.
I think the major challenge for me with this book was that nothing felt like it had been fully fleshed out. The characters didn't have the dimension I needed, the world social dynamics weren't ever fully explained, and the dynamics between characters didn't make sense to me. How exactly do things work between the King/Queen/Consort/Affiliate/Mistress/Prince work? I get that in this world it is not uncommon for the King and/or Queen to have 'open' affairs, it is fairly obvious that this occurs with both the King and the Queen (although it is never simply stated that it is happening), I understand what a Consort is meant to be and I get the idea that at some point perhaps the King and the Consort had some kind of physical relationship although again it is never just said and I am also confused as to the Age of the Consort because I am almost certain that this is the same Consort that King Edric's father had (seems a bit creepy to me if that is the case). It seems with the story that this person although continually referred to as the Kings Consort is actually the Kings Advisor and through out the book I kept saying to myself, " I don't think this word means what you think it means."
I never felt like I got to know exactly who these characters are. Cyrene felt overly manipulative to me even though it seems she was the one we were meant to feel was fighting against manipulation. She also comes across as extraordinarily arrogant and she is rather thoughtless when it comes to those she professes to love. There is supposed to be a relationship building between Cyrene and King Edric yet we rarely ever see them together and when we do it nothing ever comes of it. Prince Kael is meant to be this plotting, conniving, manipulative Prince....and I definitely think he has issues, he is obviously not a good guy, but I don't find him to be as awful as Cyrene is making him out to be. She even though professes her anger over other peoples judgement is an extremely judgmental person herself. The Queen is clearly a real piece of work, she is not a nice woman and there is no love lost between herself and the King Edric, but I we also have to look at her situation. They were betrothed to one another as teens, she is meant to produce an heir yet, she has very little true power, and is constantly undermined by the King himself and the Consort. Now I am not trying to give her a pass, I don't like her there is not doubt about that, but I don't think she's given quite enough sympathy in regards to her situation.
The fact of this book is that I loved the idea of the story, I perhaps went into it with my expectations too high. I think that there is great promise here, this is a book that could give me all those feels I said I wanted in the start of this review, but it needs more depth. I need to understand who these characters truly are. I need less court intrigue and more development. The world comes together nicely toward the end, the story finally develops in the final chapters, now we just need to see that same thing happen with the characters and with the romance aspect of this story.
I am not giving up on The Ascension Series, I still believe in it and have high hopes for it, and I hope that you won't either. There is something amazing in there, it just has to be drawn out.
~ Happy Reading ~
USA Today bestselling author K.A. Linde is the author of The Affiliate, the first book in the Ascension Series. As a military brat, she traveled the world with her family, imaginary friends, and ever-increasing supply of books. She has spent much of her life dreaming up new worlds and characters and forcing them into uncomfortable, usually life-threatening scenarios. After graduating from the University of Georgia with a masters degree in political science, she began spending every waking hour putting those characters onto paper. When not writing, she spends her time dancing, collecting paperbacks in the hopes of filling a Beauty and the Beast style library one day, traveling to visit her friends who live all over the country, and still reading anything she can get her hands on. She currently resides in North Carolina with her husband and two puppies, Lucy and Riker, where she is hard at work on her next novel.
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