As we enter the final instalment of David Hair's series, it is finally revealed to us the devastating plan that Living Saint Lucia Sacrecour and her committee have come up with for this crusade. All events from the beginning of the series have led up to this point and astonishingly enough it was all planned. No matter what failures that occurred within their group they were able to come up with contingency plans to lead to their final show of power. What they did not expect was the Scytale of Corineus getting into the hands of Huriya and Malevorn, two souldrinkers with plans to rise above them all and take control of Urte.
After a battle between Alaron and Ramita, the souldrinkers were able to secure the Scytale after bargaining Nasatya, Ramita's child, for it. However, Nasatya was still taken as a way to keep them from attacking them in future. While pleading and praying to her God's, a powerful woman from history turns up with all the answers for Alaron and Ramita, and also a blasphemous story that explains the rise of the souldrinkers and the wrongful persecution of her. Her name: Lillea Selene Sorades, better known as Corinea. With her knowledge of the original ambrosia, Alaron is able to concoct enough to create a group of ascendant mages who become known as the Merozain Brotherhood, built on the culture and ideals of the Zain monks. Amongst it all and everything they have been through together, Ramita and Alaron fall in love, and the connection they have built with each other eventually becomes what stops devastation overcoming Urte.
Survival for him and his army has never been so important to Ramon with the birth of his daughter, Julietta, marking the beginning of their journey in this final instalment. Overcoming inquisitors and fighting against their pursuers, the group have become labelled as deserters by the Pallas and are threatened with persecutions of slavery and death if they try to cross the Leviathan Bridge. However, Ramon and his fellow mages will not allow such charges be laid against them or their group and continue on, fighting against anyone who gets in their way. However, when Seth Korion's father becomes their pursuer, the situation becomes complicated and Ramon finds himself lost in finding a way out of it, the survival of them all becoming less likely as time goes on.
Cera Nesti has risen from the grave, or at least that's what everyone thinks. After another well-played game, Gurvon is able to stop Cera from being killed but loses his advantage when Elena and Kazim capture him and are able to bargain him for her. However, after Cera's betrayal that nearly cost Elena her life, tension grows between them. The appearance of Cera rallies the Javonese people and encourages them to fight for her in a battle that is not in their favour. It is their hatred for the Dorobon and of the people of Yuros that keeps them fighting against all odds, but with so much death and despair, will Cera's army be able to conquer against Gurvon's and the strength of the Pallas behind him?
And then there's Cymbella, partnered with the souldrinker Zaqri but betrays him by killing their unborn child. All she wants is to get away from all the conflict, her divination showing only death and disaster if they both continue on. However, Zaqri's stubborness forces them on their journey. In the end, Cymbella's divination is proven right but as fate has it, she has one last chance to help her best friend or die trying.
Ascendant's Rite is where the battle of survival for all characters grows to a crescendo and much is lost on both sides of the war. The corruption of politics is overcome with all characters story-lines coming together, each playing their part in fighting against the devastating plan that was in motion this whole time. Who survives? Which side wins? You'll just have to read it to find out.
What I thought
What a way to finish this amazing series! The book was quite a bit longer than the others but it was worth every extra page. There were some parts of this book that had me thinking 'well, of course that would happen' but there were more moments that had me shocked and wanting more. I was also very impressed by the way the book ended and how it did not completely conclude all story-lines, keeping the door open for more.
The inclusion of Corinea and Corineus and learning the history of the first batch of ambrosia that led to the first group of ascendant's and souldrinkers was a really interesting parallel to the main story and I think it was well done. It added a piece of lore and history to it, and also highlighted how easily the truth of history can be lost depending on who tells it. That plus many other subtle lessons of life made this series amazing, but I'll get into that in the whole series review.
Also, the unveiling of the plan that Lucia and co came up with was amazing and was definitely not something I saw coming. The way they played the game of politics and used their positions of power to get to that point was so fascinating to read. You'll have to read the books to find out what I'm talking about!
The only negative, and it is a really small negative, that I found in this book was the amount of stuff that was happening at the same time. It definitely emphasised how much destruction and conflict was happening but there were times I found myself having to back track because some parts moved a bit too fast. If you're a fan of intense fighting scenes and the complexities of war, however, you'll probably fair better than myself!
Altogether, I think this book was a fantastic final instalment to this series. It didn't have a corny or cheesy ending (although it has it's moments in some scenes) but it brought everything together perfectly. As I said earlier, it doesn't completely conclude all story-lines, which I found really interesting and makes me want to know exactly what happens next, leaving me with many questions that I hope to one day have answered. I would definitely recommend this series to any fantasy lover because this is one amazing adventure that I think everyone needs to experience.
Charlotte is a reading and writing lover who has completed a creative writing intensive course at the University of Oxford and is a current university student studying a double degree in journalism and creative writing. If you are curious to learn more, check out the 'About' page.