Top critical review
Ask a friend who has read this to tell you the plot instead of buying the book
on 18 June 2013
(SPOILER WARNING: reveals certain key elements of the plot)
I have now read all three books in the series, and in my opinion, they decline in quality as you read them.
The first one, when I read it, was good enough; a little easy and frequently resorting to poor and undetailed language, but with a plot that did not fall apart as soon as you looked at it.
The second, I was annoyed at how Wendy manages to escape from Ondarike so easily, it really seemed just to be a way for the author to A: insert Loki into the story, and B: take up some more pages.
Having always liked Tove, I was satisfied with her engagement to him, since it at least had some depth and reason. At this point, I knew that she wouldn't be with him forever, though, and I was leaning towards the prospect of her marrying Finn in the end, as the books up to now had done a lot with building their relationship.
In Ascend, I felt the plot really started to go downhill. Elora's death was anticlimactic and turns out to be pretty much the only protagonist's death in the entire trilogy that is named. The others all feature in stories or unnamed happenings (such as the Vittra attack in the first book) and despite many of the characters often being in near-death situations, I never felt any real excitement because I knew that the chances of any of them dying were very low indeed.
The climax was a battle in Ondarike. Turns out it was pretty much the shortest battle in history, ending when Wendy gives Oren a headache and cuts off his head after feeling nothing more than `Really Pissed Off' about the fact that Loki has just been killed (but don't worry! He'll come back to life later!)
There was a lot of repetition in this trilogy, and after a whole book building up Wendy and Finn's relationship and another two where they repeatedly share inappropriately described moments, I'd have thought that their relationship would lead to somewhere, or at least that the author would be able to draw a decent conclusion. In the third book, it was like she realised too late that she had too many people who Wendy was having a relationship with and did a poor job of stitching it together. The ending was far too much of a `Happy ever after.'
I give this book two stars because I did not immediately throw it in the bin (though I might now.)
If you want to know the ending of this trilogy, ask a friend who's read it. They can tell you the whole plot better than the book itself can.