cover image Ascendant


Rebecca Taylor. Ophelia House, $3.99 e-book (452p) ASIN B00VFDC0QS

After her alcoholic father is assigned to rehab, 16-year-old Charlotte Stevens goes to live with her enigmatic uncle in England, where she reconnects with people she hasn’t seen in almost a decade. There, while staying in her mother’s old room, she discovers a strange stone box and her mother’s old journals, drawing her into a mystery involving a family she’s barely known, which may answer the question of why her mother vanished years ago. As Charlotte attempts to get to the heart of the matter—which involves a conspiracy stretching back centuries, connected to dark magic and a ruthless group of powerful individuals—she navigates a perilous love triangle, a Gothic mystery, and various revelations. Taylor’s (The Exquisite and Immaculate Grace of Carmen Espinoza) premise is solid, setting up all of the ingredients for her Ascendant trilogy (the second book, Midheaven, is also available). Progress is slow, however, as the story meanders, and while multiple layers of misdirection keep the plot from getting stale, the stakes are underwhelming and nebulous. Ages 12–up. (BookLife)