The Ascent to Godhood: A powerful ending to a groundbreaking series

The Ascent to Godhood by JY Yang science fiction and fantasy book and audiobook reviewsThe Ascent to Godhood by JY Yang science fiction and fantasy book and audiobook reviewsThe Ascent to Godhood by JY Yang

The Ascent to Godhood (2019) is the fourth and final novella in JY Yang’s TENSORATE series. It’s a finalist for the Locus Award in the Novella category — something that doesn’t surprise me at all. This series is a rollercoaster of deeply emotional stories with a rich and varied setting.

As the final installment, The Ascent to Godhood had to somehow tie together the threads of the other stories. I think it delivers on this spectacularly by giving the reader another new format for the series that focuses on a compellingly unlikely protagonist whose life has bisected the story thus far in surprising ways.

I loved how this novella, through a narrative that stays very close to one key character, not so much reveals the missing piece of the puzzle but makes it clear there was a puzzle at all. Several things were set up in the preceding novellas, but The Ascent to Godhood goes beyond simply delivering on those promises and gives the reader new and engaging facets of the world to mull over.

Each installment in this series focuses on something or someone specific, but by the end of it all there is a vast setting with an emotional core of deep characters. What made this installment hit so hard – and what I really loved across the series — was the way it portrayed the depth of the world through the experiences of its protagonist. The Ascent to Godhood didn’t pull any punches, and I’m sure this is a series I will revisit.

~Skye WalkerJY Yang’s TENSORATE series.


The Ascent to Godhood by JY Yang science fiction and fantasy book and audiobook reviewsI love when an author’s work reveals and answers questions I didn’t even know I had, which is exactly what JY Yang’s The Ascent to Godhood did for me. Lady Han’s slow reveals of who she is, what her role and relationship to the Protectorate were, and how that changed into her current role within the resistance organized against the Protectorate, completely captivated me. As Skye said, it was a puzzle that I didn’t realize existed until I read this installment, and Yang’s superior storytelling abilities ensure that the TENSORATE series can be read in any order without confusion or complication.

I will gladly re-read this and its companion novellas many times in the future, and will cling to the hope that Yang returns to this world and continues to mine its rich depths.

~Jana Nyman

Published in 2019. Finalist for the 2020 Locus Award. The Protector is dead. For fifty years, the Protector ruled, reshaping her country in her image and driving her enemies to the corners of the map. For half a century the world turned around her as she built her armies, trained her Tensors, and grasped at the reins of fate itself. Now she is dead. Her followers will quiver, her enemies rejoice. But in one tavern, deep in rebel territory, her greatest enemy drowns her sorrows. Lady Han raised a movement that sought the Protector’s head, yet now she can only mourn her loss. She remembers how it all began, when the Protector was young, not yet crowned, and a desperate dancing girl dared to fall in love with her.

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SKYE WALKER, who has been on FanLit’s staff since September 2014 (after a brief time on staff as a YA reviewer in 2007-2008), is from Canada. Their HBA in Anthropology and Communications allowed them to write an Honours paper on podcasting as the modern oral tradition of storytelling: something they will talk about at any and all opportunities. Skye is a communications professional in the non-profit sector. These days their favourite authors include Ursula K Le Guin, Bo Bolander, and Chris Wooding. They can be found on social media @cskyewalker.

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JANA NYMAN, with us since January 2015, is a freelance copy-editor who has lived all over the United States, but now makes her home in Colorado with her dog and a Wookiee. Jana was exposed to science fiction and fantasy at an early age, watching Star Wars and Star Trek movie marathons with her family and reading works by Robert Heinlein and Ray Bradbury WAY before she was old enough to understand them; thus began a lifelong fascination with what it means to be human. Jana enjoys reading all kinds of books, but her particular favorites are fairy- and folktales (old and new), fantasy involving dragons or other mythological beasties, contemporary science fiction, and superhero fiction. Some of her favorite authors are James Tiptree, Jr., Madeleine L'Engle, Ann Leckie, N.K. Jemisin, and Seanan McGuire.

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