Ah, Dave vs the Monsters, my old nemesis. Let us pray that this is the last time we meet as adversaries. You have been a thorn in my side for many a month, and now, with your third installment, I hope that we never do battle again.
Ascendance is the third novel in the Dave vs the Monsters series, and for my legions of fans that no doubt check for my updates every day and wail and gnash their teeth when there isn’t one, it is quite clear that I didn’t actually like the first two novels that much. Most of this was due to the viewpoint character Dave, who I found boorish and unfunny and unexciting to be inside the mind of.
Well, you’ll be happy to learn that Dave is still as unlikeable as ever, but a new addition to the plot has been made by constantly beating him down. Which is fun for a while but gets tedious after a while. Karen, a women who gains similar powers to Dave’s, is there throughout the majority of the novel, mostly to criticize and undermine Dave. At times this feels like a good level of self-awareness, at other times it feels like the author is aware of what’s annoying about Dave, but would rather point it out over and over again than do anything about it.
Putting this aside, Ascendance does have some moments that are good. The build-up of events from the previous two novels is good, and the continuity is handled well. The best chapters are again those few that are from a specific monster’s perspective. The stakes for the major action pieces are good at times.
Then the novel went and lost all my respect again by committing a cardinal sin. I said before that Dave vs the Monsters wants to be an action movie series too much, and its shown again in the conclusion, which isn’t really a conclusion at all, but rather a set up for even more books. Closure is not a bad thing. Don’t make your franchising so obvious.
Anyway, this book will be enjoyed by those who liked the first two books and disliked by those who disliked the first two books. At least it’s consistent.