I can finally review these since the last one is out. (Which is sad, because I wanted more of them.)
The Ascendance Trilogy by Jennifer A. Nielsen.
These are the fantasy adventure books I was waiting my whole life for but never knew it. Now that is over I sometimes wonder if there is a point to reading because I don't think I will ever find anything as good as these books. (At least in new coming out books.)
The stories are told from the point of view of Sage - something which impressed me. I hate first person view points usually. It is very rare I will even read a first person point of view. Another thing that was a first, at least a first for a long time, was that I read the summary of these books. I never read covers, or hardly ever. They have to be really interesting to get my attention. I often skip them and just try the book out or read on someone's recommendation.
And another thing which was rare for me, this is one of the few, if only series, where my favourite book is the middle one.
The biggest thing I loved about this series were the characters. Sage had his annoying moments, but there was something endearing about him which one cannot help but love. I think by the end of the series I realized a lot of it had to do with his blunt honesty and how he was always willing to suffer for the sake of others. It didn't matter who, he just didn't want to see people hurting and would do everything he could to stop it. How many characters have moments were they feel bad for their enemies? Also, he has a lot of pluck and he never gives up. By the last book I was on the edge of my seat, worried about him.
Then there are all the side characters. Mott, Roden, Tobias. Imogen, Amarinda. I didn't think it was possible to love so many side characters and be so worried about them.
Then there is the added bonus that this is more of a friendship story than a romance. There is a little romance in it, but it is natural and sweet. It made me happy and not where I wanted to blush and close the book. (In fact, there are two sweet romances in it and one of them had me jumping up and down cheering.
Highlight for spoilers.
How often does the book worm get the princess?! That was one of the best parts in the whole series.
As I said though, the romance wasn't the pain point. It was friendship. It was Sage learning how to be a friend and, more importantly, how to accept friendships. It was he learning he didn't have to be on his own anymore and that people liked him. It ranks to the top high in friendship stories for me.
Then there is the plot. I am still in awe of the plot. Especially in the first book. It was amazing and almost beyond words. The most obvious thing in the book and I didn't see it coming. When it did happen I had to close the book and sit and think over it for the rest of the day before it sank in that it was real.
In short, this is a series I recommend to everyone. It is fun, exciting, lighthearted, edge of your seat, and just really well done.
(I've heard it compared - a lot - to The Thief. I've read both and I think both are unique and different and Sage shouldn't be compared to Gen at all. And no one should not read it because of that.)
Read it and love it, the ending is perfect.