Ascension by Victor Dixen is something like The Selection taking place in space: The first trip to colonise Mars is made by twelve teenagers as contestants in speed dating show. Six boys and six girls are sent to Mars in separate compartments, but during the journey they meet up for live broadcasted speed dating session for 3 minutes a week, in order to find their future spouse. The idea is that when they arrive on Mars, they should all have coupled up to begin to establish a colony on Mars. So, even though this story takes place in space, it’s more romance than sci fi though.
Starting to read this book, I expected a light-hearted, cute and fun read, but there was a lot going on beyond the speed dating premise. In addition to the space parts, there was a part focusing on the business conspiracy on Earth involving the company behind the show and their leader with a secret mission to run for president. There was also a bit too much of unnatural explanations, and the speed dating parts were kind of rushed over. I wish there was more time devoted to the space travelers and their relationships (both the relationships between the six girls and the romance-buildings with the boys). I also missed out on representation, there were no same sex relations or queer characters at all. I feel like this book could have been really unique and mesmerizing, but the execution didn’t live up to the full potential.
But I did enjoy the book nevertheless, and it was full of suspense and with a main character, Leonor, that I couldn’t help root for. She’s a bold and strong-willed survivor of abuse and negligence, who doesn’t believe in love, but seizes the opportunity to create a better future for herself.
“What I want is glory and I know that I’m not going to get it here on Earth.”
I really want to know what will happen to her and the other contestants. Also, this book ended in a cliffhanger that makes me excited for the sequels. So, all in all, a solid three star read, but it had the potential to be so much more.
Find out more about the book and the author here: Victor Dixen