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Book Review: Ascendance by Sadhna Shanker

Ascendance by Sadhna Shanker is a stellar novel that takes place in space. Whether you’re a space geek, sci-fi reader, or simply infatuated by NASA headlines, the riveting story of this book will take you on a journey through the final frontier.


Ascendance introduces us to a new planet called Elone in the space. It’s a unique planet - here women and men live separately. They are divided by a fence.  In the past they battled twice and it meant a lot of loss to both sides. The truth behind their conflicts is far more penetrating than just the territory gain. On this planet, lust for immortality is something bigger than any other hedonistic desire.

Ironically, immortality is not something that has been bestowed on them by God, rather for that they need reserves of Nepo, a valuable mineral, which holds the key to their survival. There on the planet, either it should be in abundance or they must find a feasible alternative. If nothing, they must come up with a new planet in the space. It is fascinating to know that even immortality needs timely fuelling. And what devastation will occur if they fight for the third time? Who will emerge out as a winner – men or women? Or will they find new planets in the universe for themselves?

As a first time reader of sci-fi you may have little difficult in getting into the book because of the world building and unique vocabulary, but once settled into the story, you will start enjoying it. As the story advances, you may think of drawing a comparison with The Hunger Games, and also think that it is similar to Divergent and even The Son of Neptune at stretches, well that’s not the case. It's very much different and original with its own charm and tone.

The setting of the novel is incorporated into the story, thus it avoids readers from spoon feeding. Yet, readers may find it tough to connect emotionally with characters like Tioni, Iwe, Radul, Patix and Maya, but they will like watching their point of conflict and the psychic that goes in their development.

Though Ascendance is slightly dystopian in nature; however, its core theme discusses the distant future of our planet earth. Fast-moving, impressive and elevates goose-bumps at just the right moments. Sadhna not only conjures up entire onscreen worlds, but also gives us the previews of an even more vast and undetected universe. If you have penchant for space adventures and the lives of humans, this is definitely a book that you should check out! Many of us want to see this epic book a part of a trilogy.

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