Review of Ascent (Return of the Elves #7) by Bethany Adams

A lost prince
Between years surviving on the streets and an ill-advised stint with Kien’s group of half-blood fae, Fen has seen his fair share of darkness. Sure, he helped capture Kien and put an end to the trouble he caused, but his actions contributed to one of the greatest upheavals of all—the return of magic to Earth. Now Fen’s mother has named him the heir to the Unseelie throne, and he has discovered he has two mates he is unworthy to claim.

A deadly healer
The daughter of a Seelie artisan and a human woman, Maddy can’t find anyone among her father’s people willing to teach her to heal without causing harm. But finally, she has hope—a healer on Moranaia has agreed to help her. The problem? Maddy will have to travel to their world, leaving her girlfriend Anna unprotected on Earth. For the return of magic has awakened Anna’s latent water abilities, and the temptation of the nearby river could prove too much without Maddy near.

A canny enemy
When a slip of the tongue reveals that Fen could share a mate bond with both Maddy and Anna, all three must come to terms with their insecurities—and quickly. The poison they believed eradicated has appeared again, and Meren, the traitorous Seelie noble who had once worked with Kien, has returned from hiding. Together, Anna, Fen, and Maddy might be able to defeat the rising threat. But first, they must conquer their pasts.

Ascent has been a book that I have been really looking forward to, Fen finally gets his turn in the spotlight and considering his journey up to this point there was certainly a lot to love. We find out more about Fen’s life before, and during his time with Kien which really served to endear him even more to me.  The main thing that struck me about Ascent was that it had a such a different feel to earlier books, more of the action takes place on Earth which led to a bit more of a contemporary vibe, it also had a more relaxed story giving the characters a much needed breather from the huge battle of Awakening. As heavily indicated from previous books, Fen has the potential to be bonded with both Maddy and Anna, and this is dealt with in a quite beautiful way. As I mentioned before, the book has a more relaxed feel and this is mainly down to this coupling and the time taken to get it right. The way they take the time to communicate, give each other space to consider and consent was fantastic. This is a real testament to Bethany Adam’s writing skill as this Polyamory coupling could have been awkward and clumsy.

Aside from this element though there is still plenty going on and actually thinking back on it there are a number of new threads within Ascent which pave the way for future books. There are a some new characters introduced from Maddy and Anna’s families, and also we get to meet some of those impacted by the release of magic on Earth – they all have great potential and also assist with back story, I’m interested to see where new discoveries take us, mainly in relation to Anna and the new elemental introduction of those who have an affinity with water.

Fen though really is the shining star, he embraces his naming of heir with brilliant awkwardness and more than a little Earth inspired attitude. His time in the Unseelie court is wonderful fantasy though, his interactions with his mother and the pomp of court life are both serious and snarky, but the trio settle in well. I really loved how their coupling really complimented their powers and their situation with Meren forced them to be creative with how they used them – I can’t say much more about that though.

I really enjoyed this return to the world and the series continues to be consistently amazing, I think Fen may have over taken Kai in my affections though!

5*

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