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Ascendance: Dave vs. the Monsters (David…
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Ascendance: Dave vs. the Monsters (David Hooper Trilogy)

by John Birmingham

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: David Hooper (3)

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The final book in the trilogy and just like the previous two, after having borrowed the audio book from the library I purchased it for myself from audible.com.au.

In this final book, the fight comes to a climax. It is another action packed adventure. I continued to have a love/hate relationship with Dave Hooper. In this book he shows just how selfish he can be, but there are a number of moments when good Dave shines through. This story contines to have a lot of violence and gory details. However, I found I didn't know how to feel about the ending. I can see why the book ended the way it did, you'll have to read it to understand, but it still left me stunned.

Once again Sean Mangan does a great job narrating. He is one of the reasons why I opted to buy the audio version of the book. I may still get a physical copy, but Sean does such a great job in bringing the characters to life, that it really made listening to the story that much more interesting. Ultimately, this final book was a great ending to the trilogy. ( )
  FiLoMa | Oct 28, 2016 |
Received via NetGalley and Penguin Random House/Del Rey in exchange for an completely unbiased review.
Also posted on Silk & Serif

It took me awhile to get through book three of the Dave Hooper trilogy. I've never been much for military fiction so I think that perhaps the amount of fighting scenes in Ascendance might have slowed me down. It's not that Ascendance wasn't very good or that I disliked it, in fact I still loved it, but I found the beginning fighting scenes that take up a good 40% of the book were unnecessary for someone reading this series for the wit, sarcasm and fantasy elements. Birmingham is extremely well written and his action sequences are believable and inspiring.

I struggled mostly because it wasn't relevant to my interests. It doesn't mean I didn't appreciate the skillful writing or masterful plot development.

However, once we return to the main story line everything went along much quicker. There are more mysteries revealed! Mysteries that have me salivating for book four. Karin Varatschevsky is a Russian spy and fellow Champion who makes Dave look like the bumbling idiot he is. She also has some really neat powers that Dave doesn't have that come in handy during the battle of New York. The chemistry between these two is refreshingly not romantic (or sexual) and Karen's constant disdain for Dave is amusing. Best of all, Douchebag Dave is no longer in the picture and we get Good ol' Dave back. No more over the top man whoring or self-congratulations from Dave! Instead, we start to see Dave's character grow into his new role as human Champion..sort of..he still kind of sucks at it.

There is a crafty Lord of the Rings reference, lots of action, blood and huge plot developments that only make Dave vs The Monsters all the more legendary. A main character might die tragically and some fantastic character development may be on the horizon.

I think the majority of the satire is focused on our Monst'r element - Compt'n ur Threshrend. He's becoming a whole new creature who is becoming less Threshrend and more human by the minute. It's interesting to see how Compt'n's story is proceeding from low level lackey to Procounsul who is simultaneously developing a forbidden lust for a human creature (much to his chagrin) and a rise in disrespect for his lead Monster. Will Compt'n inevitably defect or take over the Monsters? Meanwhile, Guyuk has discovered the timeless beer-and-pork rinds meal combination. Seriously, he loves them.

The series of Dave vs The Monsters has been opened up to a confirmed fourth book to be published at a later date. The world of The Dave will continue to develop with another potential twelve heroes to make their entrance in the coming novels. I cannot wait for book four..I love where Birmingham is going with Dave and the wider world building he's developed in Ascendance. So, never fear fellow Dave readers, this is not the end of this amazing series!

This book will appeal to committed fantasy readers and action lovers. Almost as amazing as the first book of this series Dave vs The Monters: Emergence, Ascendance is a strong tale of human strength, an apocalyptic situation and a brand new set of fantastical creatures from the lower realm. A must read for those who enjoy the rise of the under dog, strong female leads and tons of gory action. ( )
  trigstarom | Jul 9, 2016 |
Dave has a problem with a angry wife, a demon invasion fronted by an expert on human warfare, and a russian spy with the same powers as he has combined with better training. A good fun read. ( )
  dswaddell | Mar 30, 2016 |
In Ascendence: Dave vs. the Monsters, the daemonum are learning more about the humans, and with the ingestion of Professor Compton’s knowledge via the little Thresh daemon, they are improving their battle tactics. At the same time, Dave meets up with Colonel Ekaterina “Karen” Varatchevsky, a Russian spy posing as an American art dealer, who has become a Champion like Dave by killing one of the Threshrend empath daemons. Dave and Karen fight together against the daemon invasion of Manhattan, but by watching Karen’s battle tactics and occasional disregard for human life, Dave starts to examine himself. Karen, being an empath, smacks Dave on the head with the truth of his own thinking, which challenges Dave’s world view.

Of the three Dave Hooper books, I enjoyed Ascendance the most. Dave seems to take things more seriously in this book. He is being intellectually and emotionally challenged by Karen and the daemon’s improved tactics, and he is forced to face the consequences of his own actions. This time, there is no distance, work, or substance abuse available to hide behind; the cost of his actions is bloody, visceral death all around him.

Through all three books, I have enjoyed the perspective of the daemons and the UnderRealm. It’s been very interesting learning about their culture, about their traditions, and seeing the human world through their eyes. The little Thresh daemon that serves as the bridge between worlds is my favorite character. In Ascendence, Threshy is starting to feel the strain of being a daemon with the thinkings of many humans in his brain. Not only are we learning about the demon world through Threshy’s perspective, we’re learning a lot about who Professor Compton was – before he was eaten. The conflict between daemon and human in Threshy – and sometimes where there is NO conflict between the daemon and the Compton personality – is very good storytelling.

I am sad we didn’t get to see any more of Professor Boylan. Boylan is a great character.

I was disappointed that there is no real ending; as with the first two books, the ending is “To Be Continued.” After the emotional and time investment of three books, I didn’t get the payoff I wanted in Book 3. I was hoping for some sort of satisfying closure, some sense of completeness.

Despite the non-ending, I’m happy Dave went after his family (though I would hate to be anywhere near Dave when he realizes Heath used his family as bait), and I’m intrigued by the introduction of two more Champions. According to the story, there will eventually be twelve, and now we’ve met four of them.

If you have a strong need for closure, I will say this series will frustrate you. But if you like action, snark, and fantasy, a hero that’s not very heroic, and can wait for a complete ending, you’re going to love this series.

Copy provided by author/publisher in exchange for an honest review. Review courtesy of onebooktwo.com | one book, two reviews. ( )
  InvestedIvana | Sep 2, 2015 |
Review copy

Sometimes it's OK to jump into a series without reading the books from the beginning, other times it not such a good idea. If you decide to check out Dave vs. the Monsters: Ascendance I strongly recommend starting at the beginning with Emergence and then reading Resistance. There were times, particularly at the beginning, where I had no idea what was happening. That I blame on myself for jumping in mid-steam.

Combine a Lovecraftian horror novel with an acid trip from the seventies and you might have some idea of the world created by novelist John Birmingham in his Dave vs. the Monsters series. The book certainly gets to the action quickly and barely lifts its foot from the accelerator until the very end.

Early on, I wanted to put this one down and move on to another book, but I really hate to do that. When I pick a new read it's always with a reason, a favorite author, interesting subject matter, a recommendation. In this case the following description for the book sold me...

"For fans of Jim Butcher and Kevin Hearne comes an exhilarating new urban fantasy series featuring monster-slayer Dave Hooper and his magical splitting maul.

Kids, there are no monsters under the bed. They’re in the front yard.

As a hardworking monster-slayer, Dave Hooper tries not to bring his work home with him. But nowadays it’s hard to keep them separate. Email, cellphones, empath daemons, they never let a guy rest.

The Horde has been raising hell and leveling cities from New York to Los Angeles, keeping Dave and his fellow monster-killer, Russian spy Karin Varatschevsky, very busy. But when the legions of hell invade the small seaside town his boys call home, Dave has to make a call. Save the world? Or save his family?

Not as easy a choice as you’d think, since Dave’s ex-wife expects to be saved too. And there’s no convincing her that the supersexy Russian spy isn’t his girlfriend. She’s just his sidekick—and an assassin."

Hell, I'm in. I'm not sure why I didn't like this as much as I wanted to. At times I found Dave vs. the Monsters: Ascendance very entertaining, laced with pop-culture and literary references, and ultra-violent. All things I like in my urban fantasy.

Dave vs. the Monsters: Ascendance will be available in paperback and e-book formats beginning June 30, 2015. Published by Del Rey Books, the Science Fiction & Fantasy imprint from Random House.

Recommended, but not for everyone. ( )
  FrankErrington | Jun 26, 2015 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
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Biel, ScottCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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When the Horde invades the seaside town where his sons live, monster-slayer Dave Hooper, with a female Russian assassin at his side, has to decide if he is going to continue to fight to save the major cities of the country or save his family.

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