Elemia is a distant land under the power of a strange force called the Ruin. Cities like Metropia that once brimmed with the hustle and bustle of urban life now stand mostly silent.
Though Metropia still exists with its magnificent glass and steel buildings jutting into the sky, it does so as a vacant and cold place. Even stranger, due to the power of the Ruin, the city does not decay, it simply stands still. After some ten thousand years of such a reality, a powerful being known as Indra seeks to challenge such a bleak state of affairs.
Indra may be a powerful being known as a Celestial however she cannot hope to accomplish such an arduous task alone. Back on Earth Kyle, an unassuming 11th grader, is walking home from school with his best friend Karin. After a sudden explosion Kyle finds himself in Elemia. Kyle, it turns out, is not a mere unassuming 11th grader, he actually belongs on Elemia even if he cannot remember this fact. As Kyle sets out with the help of two elite warriors who have witnessed his arrival, a complicated quest both begins and becomes yet more complicated. Karin, it turns out, is also a native Elemia habitant although her whereabouts are a mystery to the still stunned, albeit now sword toting, Kyle.
Imaginative in structure though also highly complicated, it is easy for the reader to get lost in a swarm of characters that continue to grow as the story progresses. While there is nothing inherently wrong with a large cast, characters do not always manage to differentiate themselves from each other with much in the way of personality. This has the effect of working against both a deeper understanding of the intricate plot and a deeper interest in the book. Should we root for Kyle or the forces against him? What about Reiko, Rin, Judgement, Karin, and a host of others that populate this dismal world? Though there are many to choose from, few characters make themselves worth rooting for as they engage in constant clashes of weaponry and magic without leaving much in the way of three dimensional development.
Full of action and geographical surprises, the story does strike memorable chords as heroes journey through spookily vacant trains that still run on time and catacombs that bear little resemblance to the catacombs of popular imagination. Attempts to explain the epic storyline often fall flat however as new elements are continually added before old ones can be fully appreciated. The same can be said for details. The story goes so far as to dip into science fiction standbys such as computer hacking and laser rifles which manage to sit rather uneasily with earlier scenes involving swords and cross bows.
While the imaginative plot of a world cursed by a mysterious presence makes for an enticing storyline, its execution into a worthwhile epic in this case is not always successful.
Reviewed by Collin Marchando for IndieReader
Ascension (Legacy of Ruin)