Thank you, NetGalley for the chance to read this ebook for free in exchange for an honest review.
Ascension is the first book in the Phobos series by Victor Dixen. I had no idea that it had been originally written in Dutch and translated into English. I absolutely loved the sound of this book from the synopsis alone as it sounded like such a fun and relatively light-hearted read. I absolutely love the idea; speed-dating in space on a one-way ride to Mars, fighting for each other's affections, while the whole world watches (Yes, I love programs like Unreal). I love that the characters are in a confined spaceship in space I think it adds an extra element that only being trapped with no real escape that helps the drama develops. I have already added the next book to my ever-growing TBR list (I hope it is translated and published relatively soon).
I’m going to nab a little of the synopsis for this post (thanks Goodreads)
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 onboard 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.
Among the crew of the Genesis program, the protagonist, Leonor, was an orphan who survived a fire that left her with a horrific scar (that she calls 'the Salamander'), which also manifests as a voice of self-doubt in her head. I know some people might not like to see a character hate her physical appearance in such a way, but to me, aspects of her relationship with her burn marks felt relatively authentic and easily relatable. I have scars from my keyhole appendectomy and the scar near my bellybutton has a nickname (personal but true).
The novel is split into different plotlines each designated by a different cinematographic term. I thought that this was a brilliant added detail that has been added I am a lover of the small intricate details that tie things together.
• 'Shot' follows Leo's story aboard the Cupido
• 'Genesis Channel' is a transcript of the speed-dating sessions.
• 'Reverse Shot' follows the by the executives of the Genesis Program
• 'Out Of Frame' follows Andrew Fisher's investigation
I love how this gives the story an interesting contrast between the characters on the surface and the people they are underneath, and it is certainly an interesting and effective method of storytelling.
It is quite clear that Dixen has done his research in terms of the science which adds another beautiful layer to this book. The Cupido (the Martian colony ship) is powered by a Nuclear Thermal Rocket and uses centripetal force to generate Mars-level artificial gravity, even the signal delay is taken into account, with some chapters even noting exactly how long the delay is. The book is also full of technical diagrams of the spacecraft, the habitat modules and the journey to and from Mars, which is a very nice touch.
I honestly loved this book and I think it is worth a read for anyone who enjoys science fiction books or anyone looking for a light-hearted read.