Title: Ascension of the Whyte
Author: Karen Wrighton
Publication date: June 9, 2014
Publisher: Sleepless Psyche Publications
Genre/themes: Fantasy, Magic, Young Adult
Source: Won in a giveaway hosted by author
Series?: Yes, this is book 1 in the Afterland Chronicles
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Sara Carson did not believe in life after death, Heaven, Hell or even reincarnation. However, what she didn’t know was that some of us are special. For some of us, death is just the beginning of our next great adventure. Sara Carson was one of those special people, and her most incredible journey did not begin, until the day she died.
I was completely thrown off by the synopsis. I expected to get a story about life after death and how death is just the beginning of a journey. I expected bright lights and heaven, that sort of thing. What I did not expect, however, was to get a fantasy book. A good, solid fantasy book. That is my first big compliment. This synopsis intrigued me and still gave nothing away about the story. Maybe other publishers can start to do this is as well?
In the prologue we meet Sara Carson. Sara Carson is not the main character of this book. Well, she is and she isn’t. Sara Carson is hit by a truck and dies. That is where her story begins. This book takes place in the Afterlands. A place were certain people go after they die on earth. Living on earth is not really the main point for the people that go to the Afterlands. What takes place after death on earth is much more important. For centuries 4 casts have lived in Afterland, but a 1000 years ago one of the casts was destroyed. When Sara, now Rose, arrives in the Afterland through the awesome process of re-incarnation she is a the first Whyte to arrive in a century. She get’s the daunting task the unite the Afterlands.
I liked the setting immediately. The magical feeling I got reminded me a lot of Harry Potter. In a good way. I got the same: I want to go there and learn all the magic-type feeling. Rose was a really likeable character and although she seems sweet and shy at first, she is a kick ass woman who knows what she stand for. Her novice cell has suck likeable characters as well. Ash, Auriel and Lee all have distinct personalities and I hope that they get a more distinct role in the next book. Although I liked Rose a lot, I would have liked to get a little bit more of her thoughts. Because of the omniscient narration, you get a lot of information, but it therefore lacks a focus (in terms of emotions, feelings and thoughts) on person. The narration works for the novel but since I love the world and characters so much, I would have liked more thoughts.
I noticed that Karen Wrighton put a lot of research and thought into her world building. Nothing was left to improvisation. She had a really clear sense of what everything looked like and how things function in the Afterlands. Sometimes this led to somewhat elaborate descriptions that I skimmed over but overall it really helped me to get into the novel. So far I have not really noticed any things that don’t make sense. Everything in the book makes sense according to the rules of the Afterlands. One aspect I thought was particularly clever was the concept of re-incarnation Karen Wrighton used. The novices that arrive in the Afterlands are actually spirits/souls that have been in the Afterlands before. That means that all their knowledge and power is already somewhere in their conscious, which explains their rather rapid learning.
The biggest problem for me in this book was that there were still some editorial errors. Quotations often missed end punctuation and sometimes I missed words in sentences that didn’t really make sense without them. An extra run-through by an editor would not have been in vain. These minor errors are really a shame because at times they pulled me out the story. Overall, however, I really like this book. This is certainly a very good beginning of what is (hopefully!) going to be a very awesome series. Unfortunately, there is not indication of a release date for book 2, but I am keeping my eyes open. Can’t wait to see what happens next!