Ascension by Nicholas Binge – Book Review (spoiler free)

Last week, I did a little teaser review of the 2023 releases I had already read – but thought each of the books deserved a bigger, stand-alone review. First up is Ascension by Nicholas Binge – which I swear you are going to see everywhere in a few months.

THE BLURB

A mind-bending speculative thriller in which the sudden appearance of a mountain in the middle of the Pacific Ocean leads a group of scientists to a series of jaw-dropping revelations that challenge the notion of what it means to be human.

An enormous snow-covered mountain has appeared in the Pacific Ocean. No one knows when exactly it showed up, precisely how big it might be, or how to explain its existence. When Harold Tunmore, a scientist of mysterious phenomena, is contacted by a shadowy organization to help investigate, he has no idea what he is getting into as he and his team set out for the mountain.

The higher Harold’s team ascends, the less things make sense. Time moves differently, turning minutes into hours, and hours into days. Amid the whipping cold of higher elevation, the climbers’ limbs numb and memories of their lives before the mountain begin to fade. Paranoia quickly turns to violence among the crew, and slithering, ancient creatures pursue them in the snow. Still, as the dangers increase, the mystery of the mountain compels them to its peak, where they are certain they will find their answers. Have they stumbled upon the greatest scientific discovery known to man or the seeds of their own demise?

Framed by the discovery of Harold Tunmore’s unsent letters to his family and the chilling and provocative story they tell, Ascension considers the limitations of science and faith and examines both the beautiful and the unsettling sides of human nature.

THOUGHTS

So this was my mini review from the previous blog 👇

This book will part of the bookish conversation next year, and not only within SFF. It’s a genre defying novel – part speculative, part sci-fi, part contemplation on the nature of humanity. Perhaps I’d even go as far to say that it could be this generations Life of Pi or Atonement.

As you can tell, I loved it. And for so many reasons.

A mystery. We all love them.

This book has the greatest mystery of them all. How has a mountain suddenly appeared in the middle of the Pacific Ocean? Where has it come from?

A group of scientists, each from a different specialist field, are sent up the mountain to answer this question.

But the mountain seems to have a mind of its own. Strange things start to happen. Time moves differently. People’s personalities change. Why is this?

The mystery intensifies with every page. I was absolutely drawn into the science, theories, conjecture and debate. But the real drama was contained within the mind of our protagonist, Harold Turnmore.

With a hard climb ahead of him and hours of solitude, Harold begins to think on his past, a past he has carefully locked away. However, while he tries to unlock the mountain’s secrets, his own secrets begin to spill out. What we find is a story of love, grief, tragedy, and a quest to belong – and this gives the story all its heart. Both Santi and Naoko have lived in my mind since finishing the book – and it is the relationship between Harold, Naoko and Santi that reveals the biggest questions of them all. What is it to love? What is it to forgive? What is it to endure?

I think people will love this book for different reasons. Some will be drawn to the science, some to the action, some to the internal thoughts of Harold. In that sense, it is a book that will fuel many a conversation – and I expect to see that discussion unfolding when the book is released. Some may find elements controversial, others may find parts pushing boundaries.

But isn’t that the point?

And more to think on…

Can a mountain really exist if no one knows it’s there?

What if we all already know the mountain is there… and have forgotten?

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