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Ascension (Water Trilogy, Book 1) Paperback – February 5, 2002


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 5 and up
  • Series: Water (HarperCollins) (Book 1)
  • Paperback: 235 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins; 1st Avon Ed edition (February 5, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0064408086
  • ISBN-13: 978-0064408080
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.5 x 7.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #851,012 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This imaginative debut book in the Water fantasy series stars an appealing, strong-willed 16-year-old who dreams of ascending to the Low Council that, conjointly with the High Council, rules Atlantis. Nia aspires to become an Avatar like her grandfather, one of 10 mermyds who pair off with a highly intelligent alien Farworlder to govern their underwater city. But Nia's Bluefin clan chooses Garun, her "hardly noticeable" cousin to represent them in the Trials, the contest to select a new council member. And Nia soon learns that her underwater city "is not quite the perfect and open place it seems." First, Nia discovers a secret prison holding an Avatar and his Farworlder, then she realizes that her grandfather is manipulating the trials in Garun's favor. Dalkey's intriguing marine world brims with descriptions of Atlantis and mermyd life, including details of the Trials and the ceremony joining Avatar and Farworlder not to mention the mystery surrounding Garun's likely ascension to the council. Some of the plotting, however, seems truncated next to all this exposition: for example, the alliance between Nia's boyfriend, Cephan, and the imprisoned Avatar could have been more clearly drawn, and readers never learn why Nia's family opposes her entering the Trials. Perhaps more will be revealed in the next installment, Reunion (due in April), but even given these vagaries, readers will relate to the heroine, from her jealousy of Garun to her excitement at seeing Cephan. There is enough intrigue right to the finish to keep this story afloat. Ages 12-up.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

Grades 6-9--In this first of a projected trilogy, Dalkey takes readers under the sea to Atlantis, where merfolk live in the shelter of the great city. Atlantean society functions via a caste system and a complicated set of rules, aided by the presence of the Farworlder Kings, who each bond with a mermyd, referred to as Avatars, to help rule. Nia, 16, hopes to be selected by their clan chief to participate in the trials to choose a new Avatar, but to her horror, her boring cousin is given the honor. To pass the time until the trials are complete, Nia continues her job guarding the baby Farworlders, who resemble squids, and flirts with a handsome mermyd from the wrong side of the filtration tunnels. In this book, Dalkey seems to have lost her ability to make the fantastic leap off the page and appear possible. While Nia comes across as a teen who doesn't communicate well with her parents, the rest of the characters are flat. Even Cephan, her love interest who is predictably treacherous, lacks oomph. The plotting is fairly straightforward, but the inclusion of the Farworlder Kings and the details of the initiation seem overly convoluted. To muddy the waters even further, Dalkey is so earnest in her explanation of how Atlantis functions that her descriptions read more like a textbook than a finely crafted story. Give Dalkey's Heavenward Path (1998) and Little Sister (1996, both Harcourt) to readers who crave a taste of truly magical fantasy.
Patricia A. Dollisch, DeKalb County Public Library, Decatur, GA
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

Customer Reviews

Every bit of the book was unlike anything I've ever read.
Katie
I highly recommend this book to teens who enjoy fantasy novels or who are interested in the legend of Atlantis.
Rebecca Herman
Sixteen-year-old Nia is a mermyd of the bluefin clan who dreams of becoming and Avatar like her grandfather.
Nancy E.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By R. M. Fisher TOP 500 REVIEWER on November 4, 2004
Format: Paperback
"Water: Ascension" is the first in a trilogy concerning sixteen-year old Nia, a mermyd of a prominent clan in the undersea realm of Atlantis. The City is ruled by squid-like Farworlders, and their Avatars - mermyds that undergo a special bonding ritual that allows them to communicate with the Farworlders and govern Atlantis wisely. To be an Avatar is the highest honour a mermyd can achieve, and it is Nia's dream. She believes she has a good chance at winning the position against other young candidates from other clans, but is devastated when her family instead chooses her cousin Garun instead of her.

The mystery deepens when Cephan, the young mermyd she likes, shows her a prisoner mermyd and a Farworlder that are kept as secret prisoners deep in the core of Atlantis. Nia is shocked at this, believing her city to be a purely benevolent citadel where things like dungeons and punishments are non-existent. The mystery deepens when Nia begins to suspect that her family is using magic to help Garun win the Seven Trials that each competitor must go through - and even her beloved grandfather Dyonis seems in on the conspiracy.

"Ascension" is followed by two more books; "Reunion" and "Transformation" and this is a beginning worthy enough to track them down, even though I am not a fan of authors/publishers that needlessly split their books into more than one volume. It will appeal most to readers between ten and twelve, as it is quite a slender book but there is quite a lot of exposition put in concerning how the bond between Avatar and Farworlders works, how the city runs and the layout of the Trials.

At times all of this is badly presented to the reader, often being too complicated or too contemporary (and with mentions of cloth existing underwater).
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By hiphopgirl_1000 on February 6, 2002
Format: Paperback
The legend of Atlantis comes alive in the 3 part Water Trilogy. We again can read about the exotic, beautiful, and peaceful undersea world. 16 year-old Nia has dreamed of nothing more that to become an Avatar in her home, the city of Atlantis. Avanters and the ancestor alien race called the Farworlders rule alongside one another in the undersea world. Nia, a mermyd of the aristocratic Bluefin clan, finally has her chance when a member of the Council steps down. Nia feels that she would definitely be chosen to represent her clan in the trials. body. Nia's dream is shattered however when her grandfather passes over her and chooses a cousin, Garun, to represent their clan in the trials. Her world further falls apart when the object of her affection, Cephan, is picked to represent his clan in the trials. However Nia learns that Atlantis has dark secrets too when Cephan shows her a person who should not exist at all and Nia finally begins to piece together things about herself. . . Can she find out all of the truth in time to save her beloved Atlantis? Nia's struggle with feelings of betrayal, disappointment, and budding romance are realistically depicted. I can't wait to read the next book in this Trilogy.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Nancy E. on April 1, 2002
Format: Paperback
If you like books about Atlantis and underwater creautres this is for you. Sixteen-year-old Nia is a mermyd of the bluefin clan who dreams of becoming and Avatar like her grandfather. She knows that even despite human-like features she is strong enough, fast enough, smart enough, and has enough magical ability to enter the trials, the Olympic games that will decide who will become the next Avatar. But when her cousin Garun who seems to be more boring and ordinary wins the place over her, Nia is crushed, and confused. After doing a bit of detective work she discovers that there's a force working behind Garun, a force that is going to make sure that he will win, not if Nia has anything to say about it. I really enjoyed this book. Nia is a likeable charecter who almost seems like a real person at time (outside of the fact that she's a mermyd). Like all 16 year old girls she has a crush (Cephan) and doesn't get along with her parents, but unlike most 16 year olds she's brave and willing to do what's right.
If you like supernatural series with a pinch of sci fi I reccomend this strongly.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By jaina_solo on February 27, 2002
Format: Paperback
Nia is a sixteen-year-old living in Atlantis. She loves her home and dreams of becoming one of the Avatars who help rule the city, alongside the Farworlders, an alien race. She also loves, although secretly, Cephan, who belongs to a lower clan. When Cephan shows Nia a shocking secret about Atlantis, it changes her world forever. This is a great book for preteens and teens who enjoy fantasy novels. I can't wait for the next two books in the trilogy.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Jennifer Mo VINE VOICE on July 9, 2002
Format: Paperback
The cover art is gorgeous. Well, it is. The most ecstatic of my praise for Ascension undoubtedly goes to the cover, although it doesn't quite match Kara Dalkey's description of Nia. The book itself is a fairly decent read, but at the risk of being facetious, about half a star of my rating goes to the designer and illustrator of the covers for the trilogy.
I imagine that it is exceedingly difficult to write a book about a culture completely submerged in water, and Kara Dalkey clearly puts some thought into the creation of this society, with attention to details in the type of houses, foods, materials, social classes, and schools. I particularly liked the pun inherent in the academy, where pupils swim after the instructor in a group, rather like a school of fish. Dalkey goes to considerable lengths to invent life in Atlantis, and many of the elements, such as the Farworlders and their Avatars, are intriguing and pleasingly exotic.
But for all that, it's still hard to, er, completely submerge oneself in Nia's watery realm. For one thing, I have never managed to hold coherent conversations underwater; even a single word usually comes out hopelessly garbled. There is no evidence that they speak any differently than humans-- if giggles result in a stream of bubbles, surely speech does too? But what is more jarring to any feeling of complete integration in Nia's world is not the occasional inconsistency, but the feeling that it is a carefully fabricated, intricately thought out work of imagination, a sensation that the best works of imagination never convey. I was never fully convinced in the existence of Kara Dalkey's Atlantis as I was in, say, Lloyd Alexander's Prydain or Paula Volsky's Vonahr.
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