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Zenith: The First Book of Ascension by Dirk…
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Zenith: The First Book of Ascension

by Dirk Strasser

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6110194,696 (3.73)None
  1. 00
    The Stone and the Flute by Hans Bemmann (BJ3568)
    BJ3568: Story in a similar style - also a series of misadventures
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Showing 1-5 of 9 (next | show all)
Man oh man I won this book in exchange for a review and I am so glad I did. Even though I wanted to kill the main character cos I personally thought him a pain in the rear, I enjoyed joining him on his adventure. Can't wait to read what's next. ( )
  thicks | Jun 8, 2015 |
Interesting premise! I very much enjoyed this book. Well written, thought out and kept you engaged. Dirk did well with this and I'm looking forward to reading the rest of the series.
  LesleyChildress | Feb 6, 2015 |
This book is about people living on a mountain. They order their lives around it and around a time in midsummer, that they call zenith. Every year, a pair of twins is sent up the mountain on different paths to reach the summit. This takes a year to complete. Some of those who make it join holy orders, others fail. Some die. It's a mystical journey.

I rather liked the journey myself, although I don't know that the spiritual message of the book makes sense. It seems to have been grabbed from different sources in history, Plato's cave, lama rituals for regulating the body, and so on. However, it was interesting and the ultimate revelation, while obvious, flowed beautifully.

It also happens to be a complete book, even though it's first in a series.

I received an electronic copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. ( )
  deshanya | Jan 16, 2015 |
You are about to embark upon a journey. Not just any journey, but an Ascension to the summit of The Mountain. Every set of male twins must undertake this journey beginning at the Zenith (Summer Solstice) of their 18th year. Each twin has one year to finish their journey, and must reach the summit of the mountain before the next summer Zenith.

We begin our journey with Atreu the Ascender. He and his twin are both taking the journey to the top of the mountain, but each must take their own journey. The trail and trials that each twin must face are unique to that twin. Atreu and his brother, Teyth begin their journey during the Zenith. They spend the first few days together, and then they each go their separate ways. They hope to meet once or twice over the year in cities where their path overlaps, but the chances are, they will not see each other again until the next year.

The mountain that the Ascenders must climb is tall, and it dominates life in and around the villages that lie in and on the mountain. Atreu will visit many of these villages, and learn many new customs, on his way up the mountain.

Throughout the course of his journey, Atreu will find many teachers. Some have been placed deliberately in his path by the holy orders. Some are unintentional teachers, who will teach him new ways of thinking and relating to the world around him.

However, there are unexpected challenges and dangers along the way. Unfortunately, war is brewing across the countryside. The Faemir are restless, and they will do whatever it takes to win. While the Maelir, who live around the base of the mountain revere the Ascenders and help them in every way possible, the Faemir are not above stopping the Ascenders and preventing them from reaching the summit.

The very land itself is distressed, as unexpected cracks and pillars of land suddenly appear out of nowhere to block the path of the traveler.

I enjoyed this book! I am intrigued by the thought of a great journey that must be faced - alone - at the age of 18. After all, isn't life a journey that we basically face, alone, with constant danger, snares, and entanglements along the way? We are fortunate to find good friends along the way who share our journey and help us to reach our goals along the way. ( )
  librarynut | Jan 15, 2015 |
After I finished reading this book, I was surprised to learn that it had originally been published in 1993 in Australia. Zenith is more of a journey book instead of a typical, action fantasy that most of us are used to.

The story begins with Atreu’s father running away from something with two infants (Teyth and Atreu) and instigating something for which he could suffer terrible consequences for. Later, when Atreu and his brother are grown, they are made to go on their Ascent, something that only twins are allowed, or able, to do. The book focuses on Ateu’s ascent. He starts off on his own, but makes afew friends along the way, or rather, he meets some strange characters and learns that the world is a strange place. Along the way, he witnesses attacks by the Faemir, a group of people who live on the outskirts and hate the Maelir, like him, and have always been the Maelir’s enemies. Forced to fight for his life at one point, he meets a girl named Verlinden, whom we later learn is also a twin, part of the Faelir, and on an Ascent of her own. Finally, the story concludes with Atreu reaching the end of his Ascent and having some weird dreams where he learns something about the world, something that no other Ascender was able to put together.

This isn’t a bad book, but it is a bit slow in its pace. I normally read books with a much faster pace, which is why it took me a while to get through this. There is not a lot of action in this book. There are some scenes where Atreu is caught in the middle of an attack by the invading Feamir, but much of the story is just his journey as he learns about his world. I found the narrative to be a bit overlong in some areas. The author painstakingly describes the scenery and the areas that Atreu travels through. Now, I realize that this is to explain his world, but it just slowed the story down for me to the point where I had to put it down for a while before picking it back up. However, even though I thought the pace was slow, it might be suitable for others.

Atreu meets a lot of strange people on his journey, but they disappear from the story so quick, that you are left wondering what happened to them. I realize that this is Atreu’s story, but I would have liked to have had some inkling of the fate of Cluric and Belzalel. Atreu travels with them for a good portion of the book, but they are suddenly ripped away from him and you’re left wondering what’s happened. But they aren’t the only ones. There are Fyrwick and Darian, whom he travels with for time, and they just disappear from the story. I would have liked a bit more certainty about the fate of those characters.

The dream sequences I found a bit confusing, partly because I didn’t realize that they were a dream sequence until I had finished reading them. I’m not sure if there was anything the author could have done to clearly mark them, but just beware that they are there, and pay special attention to them because they have a lot of bearing on the ending.

As for the ending, I liked it. I thought it was interesting how Atreu learns how the world is connected and discovers a “truth” that none of the other ascenders, or his teachers, learned. I won’t tell you what it is as it would spoil the ending, but I did finding it to be an intriguing, spiritual awakening type ending, and it fit the story.

Not a bad book, and if you love journey stories, you should check this one out.

Note: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. ( )
  JanetMcNulty | Sep 21, 2014 |
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Imagine A mountain so great it takes a year to travel from base to summit A sun so powerful it drives you into madness if you look at it An ascent so vital it determines the fate of the world A summit so precious it holds the key to the divine The world of the great Mountain is unstable. Giant pillars erupt from the surface and yawning chasms form unpredictably underfoot. Since the Maelir first stood on its slopes in the distant past, they have sought to still its anger and control its power. Each year, twin brothers are chosen to make a perilous journey to the summit. If they survive they will be witness to Zenith, and the secrets will be revealed to them. When Atreu and Teyth embark on their Ascent, their Talismans lead them onto conflicting paths that will ultimately set brother against brother. And this time the Ascent itself is in peril as unknown forces that have long craved the power of Zenith will stop at nothing to make it their own ? even if it means destroying the very thing that sustains all life - the Mountain itself.… (more)

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