Get Your Free Audiobook

Ascendant: Book 1

Narrated by: Tim Gerard Reynolds
Series: Ascendant, Book 1
Length: 17 hrs and 23 mins
4.6 out of 5 stars (339 ratings)

Non-member price: $51.25

After 30 days, Audible is $16.45/mo. Cancel anytime.

Publisher's Summary

The Wizard's Council of Tarador was supposed to tell young Koren Bladewell that he is a wizard. They were supposed to tell everyone that he is not a jinx, that all the bad things that happen around him are because he can't control the power inside him, power he doesn't know about. The people of his village, even his parents, are afraid of him, afraid he is cursed. That he is a dangerous, evil jinx. The Wizard's Council didn't tell young Koren, because they know what is best for him. Even after their silent deception destroys his life.

Crown Princess Ariana Trehayme will become queen of Tarador on her 16th birthday, if her weak, indecisive mother the Regent hasn't allowed their ancient enemy to conquer Tarador before then. Ariana wants her royal army to strike at the enemy, but her mother knows what is best for her, and the realm.Together, Ariana and Koren can save Tarador, if the adults, who know best, will get out of their way.

©2016 Craig Alanson (P)2017 Podium Publishing

What listeners say about Ascendant: Book 1

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    252
  • 4 Stars
    53
  • 3 Stars
    23
  • 2 Stars
    8
  • 1 Stars
    3
Performance
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    252
  • 4 Stars
    44
  • 3 Stars
    12
  • 2 Stars
    2
  • 1 Stars
    2
Story
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    211
  • 4 Stars
    61
  • 3 Stars
    26
  • 2 Stars
    10
  • 1 Stars
    2

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Frustrating

I liked it until the amount of crap that piled up on Corrin is beyond credible belief. It just gets ridiculous. Seriously Craig??? It just pissed me off.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Generic

Misunderstood teenager gets embroiled in an adventure. The storyline is fine if a bit slow. An easy listen.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Teenage book

A book for young teenagers and not for adults. Wish I knew this before I bought it.

7 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

loved it

what a wonderful adventure and the narrative voice I could listen to for hours thank you

6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Colour by Numbers

Ascendant starts off with the typical trope of a boy with undiscovered powers which just so happen to be the key to the worlds survival. It's narrator does a good job but the book itself just keeps hitting the same beats that have been done elsewhere and done much better. It introduces some interesting background but never really expands on it and has it just drop away.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

This is Magician

This is Magician. You're stock standard fantasy that may be best for beginners, but hey great Narrator at least.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Loved every part of this book

I could not stop listening, I loved every part, would even sit in the car listening after I got to my destination, it’s descriptive and detailed and I love a good British accent

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

When's the next one

1st one down can't wait for the next one. wondering how many are in the series

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Orthodox and Average Teenage Fantasy

Sorry Craig, but I much prefer your Ex-Force series to this stock standard fantasy. Its not that it is bad, but neither does it offer anything fresh and exciting to the genre either. I am happy to conceed that I am not the target audience for this book. I am 4 hours into this book and have very little interest in continuing with it.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Simple and brilliant

The story is a casual walk in the park with little ups and downs to move the story along its relaxing and interesting I listen to dozens of audio books every year and rarely do I find characters as interesting and engaging as ones found in this book a fantastic read and I can’t wait to start the next book.

4 people found this helpful

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Matthew M Ferguson
  • Matthew M Ferguson
  • 26-07-2019

If you love being angry - this book is for you!

This book is a lesson in frustration. I listened until the last hour and I had to drop it - I don't think my car could handle the shouting (from me yelling at the characters). I love a good intrigue book where characters are hiding information from one another - but they have the worst possible reasons in this one. It's particularly frustrating because the narrator is awesome, the characters are so likable, and the writing is actually really good. I listened to all of the EF novels and so I picked this up hoping for a good listen. Most of the book is fun to listen to with a really weird plot line where everyone decides to lie and withhold information from the main character for poorly thought out reasons. The world isn't anything special - pretty standard for the genre - and so the only thing the book has going for it is the characters and the writing. Overall, if you like listening to fantasies, you like the farm-boy-turned-hero story, and you don't get bothered by characters doing really stupid things for really stupid reasons, then this book is for you. However, if you do get attached to characters and it really gets to you when they make idiotic choices, then avoid this one. I will not be reading books 2 and 3 - but I would like to know what happens. I suppose I will look up a wiki - because I can't take the stress of listening to it.

33 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Adam S. Walter
  • Adam S. Walter
  • 03-05-2019

Lazy Repetitive Writing

For context, I love expeditionary force and Alanson changed my mind about military style sci-fi. I also love fantasy. Outside of "new moon" and book 10 of wheel of time...I have loved everything I have read on a variety of scales. So when I say lazy writing, it isn't because the characters lacked depth or the story wasn't there but I am almost done with the book and he keeps re-asserting the back story. He keeps coming up with new ways to beat the main character down and through the book there has been 0 character development of any kind. The only other time I have seen a main character this abused in a series is Robin Hobbs "Assassin's apprentice" series. At least there was character development in those books. They cant tell the main character he is important because he is too important, Yet the princess gets the exact opposite treatment? She is a figurehead, easily assassinated by the enemy but is paraded around with very little guards but our intrepid hero cant get 1 ounce of recognition because he is too important? Laaaaaaazzzzzzzyyyyyy. Repetitive: It is almost like extra words were required by the editor so every few chapters Alanson made sure to re-iterate the back story. 13 hours so far of the same story...over and over...with no plot development, character development or anything. The only thing that keeps me going is that there is no way a book can be written this poorly. There has to be a punchline somewhere I imagine some big reveal will happen at the end. Because right now every adult character is so shallow I am detached from them. Decisions are completely unbelievable. Hey I have an idea...lets steal all credit from a teenager, give him 0 recognition or a future just so he doesn't know he is useful. For extra measure throw him to the politics and ensure taht no matter what he does, he gets it ingrained that he is worthless. Do you know what this kind of parenting makes? Sociopaths. Improvement to story. Compare and contrast the princess and wizard storyline. What happens to the two as they grow, wizard who has nothing and has everything taken from him while princess has everything given to her and moves forward. How do the two develop? You can do better than read this book. Like go stare at some grass, maybe feed a duck.

51 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for David M
  • David M
  • 22-11-2017

A skeptic entertained

Honestly, I am not a passionate fan of the sword and sorcery fantasy genre. I am a huge fan of the Expeditionary Force series and RC Bray's narrating. So it was with quite some hesitation that I purchased this book after listening to what I felt was a lackluster uninteresting preview. I wasn't convinced the story or narrator would be a worthy investment of my time and money. I preface this review with my doubts not to troll the author or the narrator but to give context for my review. First, after having completed this book I can't imagine a better suited narrator for this story. The narrator quickly dissolves away into the story and there are only a wide variety of characters and adept accents left. Production value was very good. There were no noticiable splicing of vocals, popping, lisping crackling "ssss", or sharp audible inhalations from the narrator that are still far too commonplace in audio production these days. The story is a well tested, well worn one but the relateable and developed characters make it easy for the listener to be absorbed into the environment as an observer. I am pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed this story and can't wait to listen to book two.

516 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for James Morris
  • James Morris
  • 23-07-2019

Oh! It’s a misunderstanding!

I love the characters and would probably love the book but I had to quit listening. I lost count of “misunderstandings” and misconceptions and oh hell its just one unfortunate and unbelievable coincidence after another. Just made me irritable. Sadly other than that it has everything I love in a book and as always Tim was great. I might give it another go and skip past the very predictable unfortunate misunderstandings. So..... I did go back! I’m glad I did, it was frustrating at first, it was hard to get past the blatant use of coincidence. However, after finishing book two I was quite excited for book 3! I will further update my review after I think on it a bit.

32 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for T. A. Widman
  • T. A. Widman
  • 26-08-2019

Frustrating in the extreme

I started this book with the desire and wish to find a new series and author that I could continue listening to across many books. I end relieved for it to be over. In truth there are three reason I managed to finish this book: 1. I kept hoping it would turn a corner and improve. 2. As an audio book it was much easier to continue rather than pick another. 3. There's a quality to it akin to rubbernecking. This book is absolutely infuriating, as its primary theme is miscommunication, misinformation, and assumption making. It is a common trope to have someone overhear a conversation and hear only the most damaging piece and thereby leap to the worst possible conclusion. In this book, for Koren Bladewell, this is an everyday occurrence and is the main driver of the plot. Because of this need to ensure that Koren believes he is a jinx and persecuted by all others, characters are constantly reacting in the worst possible way to all plot points...even when this completely contradicts elements of their character. This is seen particularly in the characters of the Regent and Lord Salva. The book becomes constant telling, as each character assumes Koren's a jinx, or too young to bear the truth, or a coward, or traitor, or assassin...the list is endless and ever more surreal. These assumptions break the story, as it so often shows that the characters (besides perhaps Koren and Ariana alone) are little more than echo chambers for Koren's persecution complex. The narrator is generally OK for this book, however there are many cases throughout wherein he pauses awkwardly where it does not make sense...even mid-sentence. Overall the general story follows your typical stereotypical fantasy fare, with a couple of ideas which were genuinely interesting. There is potential in the story. The writing does not live up to it.

11 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Or
  • Or
  • 25-07-2018

Hard to believe the same person created Joe Bishop

I am writing this review for the trilogy. No spoilers. I have to say that I am shocked that the same author who created Expeditionary Force, which I thought were very good and well written, created this really bad trilogy. I don't usually write reviews, especially negative ones, but I feel compelled to warn people not to buy this particular trilogy. The story is entirely predictable, uninteresting and has no point to it. It's as if the author decided he wanted to write a book about wizards and then just made an outline and and wrote several chapters combining silly fairy tale concepts with characters who he calls wizards. Nothing interesting happens in the entire series. The characters are constantly expecting to meet their deaths or some other bad outcome and, lo and behold, everything works out great. Save your money/credits. Hopefully this horrible writing does not affect the next Expeditionary Force book.

9 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Brett
  • Brett
  • 13-11-2017

A great coming of age fantasy tale

I have to say this isn't like Craig's other books. Instead of aliens this is a deep rooted world of magic, wars and outlaws. I guess it just goes to show the imagination of the author is quite wide. The book is entertaining and I found it enjoyable. However it could due with a bit more humor. But then again i'm a Skippy fan.

AUDIBLE 20 REVIEW SWEEPSTAKES ENTRY

173 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Christopher
  • Christopher
  • 02-11-2017

Loved it with one constant reservation

This was a really well written first book in a series. It's definitely at the high end of the quality spectrum from the writing and story-telling angle.

My reservation... I have read or listened to quite a few books whose major plot points are repeatedly driven by misunderstandings, characters accidentally over-hearing the exact wrong information at the exact wrong time, and characters inexplicably not revealing pertinent information that otherwise would bring resolution instead of conflict. In other books this usually happens "because reasons" or with no explanation whatsoever. With a book where this happens over and over, I usually make it about 4 hours in and then return it with prejudice. It's almost always lazy story-telling and so frustrating that I find myself wanting to choke the author for wasting what would otherwise be a good book.

In the case of Ascendant, the author manages to make it work (most of the time). These coincidence fails are overtly portrayed and mostly adequately explained. As a result I was able to enjoy the book and was only really in a choking mood a couple times... That said, if the inexplicable repetition of unfortunate coincidences continues through book 2 as the only device to move the plot then I'm pretty sure I won't be able to hang in for book 3.

My fingers are crossed because I really did enjoy this book.

138 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Scott O'Bryan
  • Scott O'Bryan
  • 28-05-2019

Frustrating book

This book was entertaining and the reader did a great job, but it suffers from some of the issues I have with Craig Alanson as an author. In an effort to sell more books he has a tenancy to not complete a story and to leave the story mid-stride for his next book. This whole book seemed like it was a set up for the next book. Additionally Craig Alanson has the tenancy to stick with a single theme. While the interaction of Bishop and Skippy in Expeditionary Force is entertaining, the theme of misunderstanding in this book got annoying and burdensome. We all know that a simple misunderstanding can lead to some epic things, but this book contained so many that the misunderstandings became predictable. Craig is great with the written word. His characters are believable, but sometimes his plot or theme seems flat and his ending a book mid-story is annoying. I’m really struggling with whether I can endure book 2 in order to see what happens or if I should cut my losses.

31 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for John Hammon
  • John Hammon
  • 04-05-2019

Had to try it a second time.

The narrator took a little getting used to. I actually returned this book once. I bought it based on the Craig Alanson ExForce series. Anyway, when I tried it the second time I really got into it. I"m giving it 5 stars because it really pulled me in. The perspective and detail of the story really gave me a unique experience on the adventure. I was constantly amazed at how the author gave me some detail that was surprising but interesting and relative.l Anyway, I really liked this series. Seems like a simple 3 and done series, but still really cool.

9 people found this helpful

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Mike
  • Mike
  • 18-01-2018

Really good

The story was interesting but straight forward hence 4 out of 5 stars but kept me listening. Finished the booked in a few days. Well written and performed. Hope book 2 progresses the characters on alot more, although to be fair this book only covers events over a year.

6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for ben
  • ben
  • 10-07-2018

Forgettable and deeply boaring!

It a cheap knock off over ever fantasy novel, (Lord of rings etc) but nothing happen. Book spends hour set in i tower with nothing happening. Slow. I t,he characters are cheap and have no depth. Ok if he about 7.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Paul J.
  • Paul J.
  • 16-12-2017

I liked the authors other book series

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

No, the story around the main character didn't progress and each time another character made a decision in 'his best interest' or to 'keep him safe' it was like those poor horror films where the scantily dress teenage girl answers the door just past midnight. You know what is going to happen, in fact there was very little mystery.

Would you recommend Ascendant: Book 1 to your friends? Why or why not?

Please see above.

What didn’t you like about Tim Gerard Reynolds’s performance?

Slow and I felt I was listening to someone trying to make the story sound interesting. First time I accelerated the reading just to get through the book. Also maybe I got spoilt by other readers who are so flexible with their voices, you forget it is a single person reading the book.

Did Ascendant: Book 1 inspire you to do anything?

No

Any additional comments?

The story had hooks and I am interested in progressing with the next one, but I expect to play it at x2 or 3 just to get through faster. There are such big hints about dangers, the enemy, powerful wizards etc. all the stuff I like, but nothing really happened in this book. Just got book 2, wish me luck.

11 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for 匿名
  • 匿名
  • 22-04-2019

Fantasy without imagination

A mostly generic fantasy story. After listening to both Ascendant and Transcendent I will not continue this story, there must be more interesting stories out there. The lack of anything unique in this story is its biggest flaw. The story is cast from the same mold and many of the modern fantasy classics (D. Eddings, R. E. Feist, Robert Jordan, ) of the young wizard and a kingdom on the brink of war. Alanson does not however add anything unique or interesting to the story, the characters or the world but just copies the basic formula making this a watered down work at best. Feels like this series was was written just to write a fantasy story, not because the author had a story to tell.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Kenneth Flint
  • Kenneth Flint
  • 26-07-2018

Way too slow and too much repetition

The story moves forward at a frustratingly slow pace and I found it hard to believe the outstanding gullible niaevity of the main character. The repetition is also annoying. Finally the over enunciation by the narrator is cringeworthy. could be a good story with a lot of editing.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Amazon Customer
  • Amazon Customer
  • 26-03-2018

Even Tim Gerard Reynolds narration can't save it

I did not like the storytelling of the author. The language was simplistic and the characters two-dimensional. Felt like a children's book.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for MK
  • MK
  • 17-02-2020

Needs some motivations in the characters

Endless misunderstandings between various people does not a plot make. Really having someone motivated to do stuff would really be a huge improvement instead it's just misunderstandings untill book 3 where the mc defeats the big villian in a way he could have done in this book. Tldr: dont bother reading/listening to this

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Stanley Hughes
  • Stanley Hughes
  • 16-10-2018

Anticlimax

If I had to describe the trilogy in one word it would be 'anticlimax'. I felt the first two books and much of the third were constructing an interesting story, and nearing the end of the 3rd book I was wondering what the next book would bring. But then, in a few chapters, the story suddenly came to an end in an utterly disappointing way, almost as if the author couldn't be bothered to continue the story. I read other reviews on the first and second book and saw some people described them (especially the second one) as page fillers. At the time, however, I thought the author was creating an extensive world and story. I was wrong. When I finished the final book, I realised most of the first and third book as well as the entire second book, are completely irrelevant to the overall story arch. I endured what I thought to be minor imperfections in the first and second book (mistakes, needless repetition, slow pace, derivative naming of places and characters) because I felt the story had potential, instead I should have realised they where symptoms of something more problematic, an author who only half heartedly threw together a fantasy story. *SPOILERS* It takes two books for Koren to realise he is a wizard and he receives no training at all during the third book, and then suddenly it comes to an end in a way that also could have happened exactly the same way at the end of book 1.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Brian
  • Brian
  • 09-07-2018

Dreadful story with poor narration

There was the potential for a good story in this book but as it lumbered on it was clear a one book story was going to be stretched into a series. This author over explains insignificant details to expand his narrative and drags out everything to the point of tedium. The language is childlike with the constant use of "evil", foul and vile making an appearance in every chapter. Tim Gerard Reynolds reads it like he was speaking to a child. Not the book it could have been if the author had chosen substance over the chance to create 3 books. You could skip a chapter here and there and still follow the story without missing the main narrative. Not worth the time it took to listen to it!

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Amazon Customer
  • Amazon Customer
  • 28-06-2020

all three books are great but

the ascendant series is a very good fantasy series with a few minor things that let it down. like lack of imagination in place names and the end of the story is wrapped up really quickly there could have or should have been another book if time was spent properly but as I assume he was writing these along side with the ex-force series (WITCH IS AWESOME) he may not have had time to finish as well as we would all like but overall I thoroughly enjoyed these books and would recommend to anyone who loves fantasy