Science Fiction and Fantasy Association of New Zealand

Ascendants Rite Ascendant's Rite
by David Hair
Jo Fletcher Books

Supplied for review by Hachette New Zealand

Reviewed By: Simon Litten

Ascendant’s Rite is the fourth and final volume in David Hair’s Moontide quartet and is an excellent end to the adventures that the quartet encompasses. However, at nearly 800 pages this is not a quick once over lightly goodbye to characters that we have come to know and appreciate.

Like the other books in the series the different viewpoint characters get chapters to advance their stories. But now the stories become more closely entwined as the key players get physically closer together in Antiopa/Ahmedassa as the moontide starts to wane and the need to return across the bridge develops a certain urgency (the alternative is being trapped on the wrong side of the bridge).

As for the principal players: Alaron and Ramita are searching for Andervarion Malevorn who bargained for the Scytale of Corineus using Ramita’s twin sons as coin – and kept one of them. Andervarion is trying to raise an army of soul-drinkers to ascendant status with the scytale. Ramon is still trying to salvage the remnant army from south Ahmedassa while simultaneously avoiding the Sultan’s army. And Elena and Gurvon Gyle are continuing to wage their very personal war of attrition and changing allies.

The wonderful thing about this volume was that the author didn’t simply wind the story up with pat solutions to seemingly intractable problems. Each character had to go through his or her own ordeal, often at high personal cost as the situations became more desperate for the contestants. The ending was not a resolution where justice prevailed and the duplicitous ruined as their schemes unravelled. There were losses along the way and enough loose ends and unresolved situations left that if the author wished a further visit to this universe be unveiled at some point. Ascendant’s Rite is a worthy conclusion to a remarkable series.

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