Either during or after reading this review of C. Jones’s Ascendance, you may be tempted to go to the Amazon link and avail yourself of the “Look Inside” feature.
This is a horrible book. There is literally nothing good about it. Every single aspect of Ascendance, from the cover to the formatting to the writing is awful beyond belief. It’s not worth your time, even as a curiosity piece.
If you’re still interested, you need to learn what awaits you within the virtual pages of this electronic offense against letters:
· The ineptly-described torture and murder of a ten-year-old boy by his parents, who have kept him in a feces-heaped dog cage since age three.
· The ineptly-described beating, torture, and burning to death of a six-year-old girl by her mother, who has kept her in a feces-heaped dog cage since babyhood.
· The ineptly-described beating and murder of a six-month-old baby by his parents.
· The ineptly-described shotgun-fucking death of the child-murdering mother.
The value of graphic content in a piece of writing is usually too subjective to be worth discussing as a matter of quality. Some people have a problem with animal cruelty but not human cruelty, others can’t deal with blood but love hardcore sexual content, etc. Violence against children in any fictional context can be troubling, especially when described in detail. To justify this, Jones writes in the erroneously-titled “Acknowledgments” section:
“I am angered, sickened and saddened by so many cases of child abuse in the world today. There are so many innocent souls that are violently taken from us too early….This novel is inspired by all of the children whose lives have been stolen from us and for men and women who have suffered violence by the hands of loved ones. I hope the suffering of the guilty in this book brings some comfort to you, as writing is the only safe release for the anger I feel on this issue.”
This is a band-aid over an arterial wound. It doesn’t cover it. As adults, we need to be judged not by our intentions, but by our actions. Jones wrote this as a form of therapy, clearly. And she’s very angry about child abuse. These are not good enough reasons to write what she wrote as poorly as she wrote it. Who doesn’t get angry about child abuse?
When the novel doesn’t descend into gleefully disgusting portrayals of violence against children, it veers sharply into maudlin, treacly sentiment. The main character, murdered ten-year-old Landon, is apparently trapped in Purgatory while The Dark One (Lucifer, presumably) and an angelic figure named Ramiel fight for possession of his soul through the kind of rhetoric Jack Chick would find clumsy and unpersuasive. If he can just find it in himself to forgive his evil, torturing, murdering parents, Landon would ascend to Heaven to be with his sweet younger sister and baby brother. How Landon, who has been abused and given no love or parental attention since he was eight months old, has the language skills to communicate with anyone is not described.
The revolting icing on this sickening cake is if The Dark One can sway poor, sweet Landon into denouncing his horrible, abusive brute of a father, then all Creation will be overthrown and The Dark One will rule the universe. So the stakes have never been higher. While it’s impossible to spoil something that’s already rotten, it’s fairly obvious how the story turns out.
Do you really want to know how bad the grammar is? How the abusive mother in this novel was described as having “plump, mouthwatering” breasts? How the tense goes from past to present to past again, sometimes in the same sentence?
No. It’s enough already.
Ascendance probably shouldn’t have been written, definitely shouldn’t have been published, and should never have been sent anywhere for review. I read it all: every word. It’s too late for me.