Ascension, Victor Dixen


What I want is glory and I know that I’m not going to get it here on Earth

Six girls, six boys. Each in the two separate bays of a single spaceship. They have six minutes each week to seduce and to make their choices, under the unblinking eye of the on-board cameras. They are the contenders in the Genesis programme, the world’s craziest speed-dating show ever, aimed at creating the first human colony on Mars.

* * * 
3 / 5

The premise of the book? Speed dating. In space. Dang, that’s almost as good as “nuns that are assassins” (Red Sisterfor reference). But there was a depressing lack of gossip and drama and more background space corporation/business conspiracy. Whilst good, Ascension wasn’t quite the light-hearted and overly dramatic book that I was expecting.

The first trip to colonise Mars is made by twelve teenagers: six boys and six girls in a speed dating show. Over the journey to Mars, the contestants in this insane but amazing show live in two separate compartments and have one opportunity a week to meet someone of the opposite sex for 3 minutes. When they arrive on Mars, they have to couple up and live in a pre-made house to begin to establish a colony on Mars. But there’s more going on behind the scenes ~

Our main character is Leonor. She’s not really up for love, but she is down for getting off of Earth and not coming back. She’s also got a secret that she’s determined to hide from her fellow women and potential man-dates – she’s got a huge burn scar across her back. Like most main characters that scorn love, a couple of the blokes definitely catch Leonor’s fancy (though I don’t think much of her taste!). But she’s also bold, strong-willed, determined, and she’s got her weak points. I did really like Leonor.

Life is complicated and it’s terribly short

What I wasn’t a massive fan is that somewhere between 1/3 and 1/2 of the book is taken up with secondary character viewpoints. Secondary characters that I didn’t really care about. These are all people back on Earth and surround the conspiracy around the company that has put these kids in space. I found this really detracted from what I really wanted, which was to really get to know the six girls of the Cupido and their male counterparts.

Ascension is actually a translation from French and it’s really well written despite that (translations can often ready very clunkily). But there’s a lot going on in Ascension beyond the speed dating premise, but I wish there was more time devoted to the relationships between the six girls.

My thanks to Netgalley, the publisher, and the author for an ARC of this book. 


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