Review #90 // Ascension (Tangled Axon #1) – Jacqueline Koyanagi

Ascension (Tangled Axon, #1)

On a whim, Alana Quick stows away on a ship that just so happens to be looking for her sister, a well known spirit guide. Alana doesn’t know what she’s getting into, but she certainly doesn’t expect falling for the captain, nor being accused of genocide.

Why this book?: Author Tristina Wright (of 27 Hours) was raving about this book, and all of the diversity. Polyamory? Chronic pain? Amputee? F/F couple? Black girl MC with locs? YES!


The strongest point of Ascension was probably the interconnecting relationships between the characters, as well as the character development between each separate character. Every character featured in Ascension were so well thought out, even if they were only minor to the actual plot. I felt pain when they felt pain, I felt love when they felt love. Ascension is primarily focused on the theme of love, and what one would do for it. Of the two intertwining plots that are revealed, both are for the sake of another, one showing what one would do with morals, and the other without morals.

Koyanagi spent a large portion of the novel developing the relationships between the crew, but I also couldn’t help but be a little concerned over the main couple. Alana and Tev meet under really strained terms. In fact, when they meet, Alana is under the assumption that she will be a prisoner of Tev’s. Tev also goes as far as assaulting Alana with a shock rod, as well as exploiting Alana’s illness to trick Nova, Alana’s sister, into helping them. Tev and Alana’s relationship obviously gets developed further than that, but the way they met and the way Tev treats Alana further on is very bothersome, and can be coded as abusive in some light.

Another weakness to Ascension goes hand in hand with the strong character development. Because the characters and their relationships are so well developed, the plot of Ascension is extremely underdeveloped, as well as the world building. You get the names of places, but so few species are ever mentioned. For a science fiction opera book, I felt really disappointed with only being introduced to one other species besides human. With the plot, all you get is the journey to save loved ones, although the troubles they go through to get there are interspersed with lots of character development. Koyanagi focused so much on developing the relationships and characters that the plot and world building were extremely lackluster, and I was ultimately disappointed in that area.

Final Rating: ★★★★☆


Because the lack of world building and plot was balanced out with strong characters, I wasn’t that disappointed that I would drop my rating. My biggest problem with the book was the possibly abusive relationship. Later on in the novel, it more or less grew on me, but I couldn’t help but still be uncomfortable with where it began.

Another point I’d like to make was where the polyamorous relationship came in. I’d never read a book with a poly relationship in it, but when Alana started feeling out the idea, I found myself thinking along side her. Koyanagi gives some amazing insight to polyamourous relationships, and it really hit home with some personal feelings.

Would I Recommend?

I think if you’re looking for a diverse and interesting sci-fi opera, than totally! Not only that, but Alana has chronic pain! Tev is an amputee! So much diversity that I was nearly drowning in it!!

Trigger warning for starvation/anorexia, mild violence, abusive relationship, and genocide (?).

Ascension (Tangled Axon, #1)

Additional Information:

Published: December 4th, 2013

Publisher: Masque Books

Page Count: 331

Genre: Science Fiction/Space Opera/Romance

Synopsis: via Goodreads

Alana Quick is the best damned sky surgeon in Heliodor City, but repairing starship engines barely pays the bills. When the desperate crew of a cargo vessel stops by her shipyard looking for her spiritually advanced sister Nova, Alana stows away. Maybe her boldness will land her a long-term gig on the crew. But the Tangled Axon proves to be more than star-watching and plasma coils. The chief engineer thinks he’s a wolf. The pilot fades in and out of existence. The captain is all blond hair, boots, and ego . . . and Alana can’t keep her eyes off her. But there’s little time for romance: Nova’s in danger and someone will do anything–even destroying planets–to get their hands on her.

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