Friday, 14 June 2013

Ascendant - Rebecca Taylor [Release + Review]

Released Today:

Ascendant by Rebecca Taylor

Title: Ascendant
Author: Rebecca Taylor
Publisher:  Crescent Moon Press
Series: Ascendant #1
Release Date: June 14th 2013
Pages: 315
Rating: ★★★1/2


When I was twelve, my mother disappeared. I was the first person to never find her.
I’m sixteen now and she has never been found, alive or dead.
I’m not the girl I should have been.

When Charlotte Stevens, bright but failing, is sent to stay at her mother’s childhood home in Somerset England her life is changed forever. While exploring the lavish family manor, Gaersum Aern, Charlotte discovers a stone puzzle box that contains a pentagram necklace and a note from her mother—clues to her family’s strange past and her mother’s disappearance. Charlotte must try to solve the puzzle box, decipher her mother’s old journals, and figure out who is working to derail her efforts—and why. The family manor contains many secrets and hidden histories, keys to the elegant mystery Charlotte called mom and hopefully, a trail to finding her.


I received this book from the author. This will in no way affect the review, it will always be based on my own opinions.

This review contains some spoilers.

This book is a good YA debut of author Rebecca Taylor. It has some flaws, but overall it's an entertaining read.

The book is about Charlotte, who has to go live with her uncle in England because of her father's alchol problems. Her mother has been missing for quite a few years. In the house also live Caleb, her childhood crush who still has a crush on her, and Sophie, his sister. Charlotte discovers her mother's diaries in a closet and with that stumbles upon clues that could lead to her mother. It has all to do with the Wriothesley family, whose son Hayden now has developed a crush on Charlotte, but she can't stand him. But this family is very powerful and messing with them is dangerous. But Charlotte wants to solve the mystery, at all costs, even if it means dating Hayden.

I really loved the mystery and the way it was developed. It started with Charlotte's mother's diaries and slowly there came more questions. This built up the tension and made me excited to read along. In the last part most of these questions were answered, some were left for the sequel. There was no information dump and everything was gradually explained, this was well-done. I won't spoil anything, but the explanation of the mystery was pretty unexpected and most things I had not predicted at all, which is a good thing of course.
I also liked the symbology part of the mystery. You can see the writer has spent time researching symbols, all symbols used are well incorporated in the story.

The writing was good most of the time, but you could still see it was written by an author with not much experience. The writing sometimes felt unnatural to me and there were several spelling mistakes in the book, but the last could be helped by good editing. This was mainly in the beginning though, it improved throughout the book. 

I was pretty disappointed by both love interests of Charlotte. At the end of the book none of them are very likeable and I don't root for any of them being with Charlotte.

Caleb seemed sweet at first. He was Charlotte's childhood crush when she was in England one vacation. He was kind to her and helped her with the mystery of her mom. But he also seemed a bit overly attached, they had spent a summer together as children and he acted like she was his soulmate who he had been waiting for since that summer. And when he turned out to be a liar too, I was kind of done with him. I never really understood their relationship, it seemed one-sided, I can't remember Charlotte saying once she was attracted to him..

Hayden was just a massive jerk. He was mean, controlling and a player. I know Charlotte only started dating him to find out more about his family and the mystery, but she still felt attracted to him. I never like YA protagonists who fall for the mean, but hot guy, they make it seem like appearance is more important than character. 

Luckily Charlotte did not spend the majority of her time deciding between the two boys, like it is the case in some YA novels.. She was a pretty strong protagonist, she was willing to do anything to get her mother back and solve her mystery. She was smart and liked to read, which for me are always good traits in characters:)

The fantasy part of the book was almost non-existent. Yes, Charlotte's mother was in a witch order and the Wriothesley family still is. Charlotte's father also turned out to be an indepent 'sorcerer', not member of an order. But those were also references to magic, just like all the symbols in the book. I would have really liked to see some real magic, or let Charlotte find out her own magic. I hope this will be the case in the next book.

So, a little less romance and a little more magic would have been better.

I would still recommend this book. The mystery part of the book is very well written and really made me excited to finish the book. This debut is promising and I can't wait to read the next book in the series!

Stars: 3.5 out of 5

You can win this book now on Goodreads, enter here.

About the author:

Rebecca Taylor lives in Denver Colorado with her husband and two children. When she's not reading, writing, or procrastinating on the Internet, she works as a school psychologist.
As for writing, Ascendant (Crescent Moon Press, June 2013) is her first YA novel.

You can find her on:
Twitter: @RebeccaTaylorYA  


  1. This sounds like a pretty good read, maybe I will win the goodreads giveaway for it :) And I like strong protagonists...

    Emily @ Counting in Bookcases

  2. Following your blog.

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