Ascension – Book One in the Age of Shadow Saga
Marc R. Micciola
Centaury Lilium Publishing (2020)
Reviewed by Rachel Deeming for Reader Views (09/22)
Marc R. Micciola has accomplished much in his first book of his Age of Shadow saga, “Ascension”, creating a vividly described world of darkness and magic, as you would expect of the genre. Set in the mythical world of Midstad, the novel concerns itself with the kingdoms that make up Micciola’s fantasy world, the key people that inhabit them and the perceived external threat that is on the horizon, which may upset the precarious equilibrium that is currently established. In “Ascension”, this threat manifests itself as The Black Light, orchestrated by Otti, who is a magical being, who appears to all intents to be a goddess—incredible power; the ability to manipulate humans for her purpose; threatening behavior which displays her otherworldliness; shapeshifting; a single-minded motive for her own ends; and warped familial relationships.
The novel is told throughout in the first person, but the perspective is constantly shifting from chapter to chapter. The events of the narrative unfold for the reader through the eyes of many characters in the book, but focusing on key powerful individuals from the various kingdoms and warring factions. The fact that this constant shift did not interrupt the flow of my reading of the novel is testament to Micciola’s writing skill. All of the voices of his created characters were distinctive and the fact that each chapter was named after the character from whose perspective we followed the action meant that there was never any confusion. There were some characters who were more entertaining than others, but none of them were dull. Lively dialogue and discussion permeated the book, banter between characters being one of the key things that I like in good fantasy novels.
But this is not all light. There are dark scenes in the book where key characters are attacked and Micciola does not shirk from describing the violence in detail. It is not gratuitous, but it is descriptive. I especially liked a key fighting scene which I thought was evocative, the battlefield coming alive in the way that Micciola wove his words together.
The book leads to an ending which is a perfect cliffhanger for the first book in a series to keep fans of “Ascension” keen for the sequel. I certainly felt enticed to find out what will happen next in the saga in the way it ended.
All in all, “Ascension” by Marc R. Micciola is a good fantasy read which will appeal to readers who enjoy the genre.