Book Review: Zenith (The First Book of Ascension) by Dirk Strasser

MOM030_Zenith_AWTitle: Zenith (The First Book of Ascension)

Author: Dirk Strasser

Genre: Fantasy

Age Group: Young Adult and up

Rating: 4 stars

Purchase: Momentum Books

Review copy provided by Enchanted Book Promotions in exchange for an honest review.

Can you see the story breathing?


A mountain so great it takes a year to travel from base to summit

A sun so powerful it drives you into madness if you look at it

An ascent so vital it determines the fate of the world

A summit so precious it holds the key to the divine

The world of the great Mountain is unstable. Giant pillars erupt from the surface and yawning chasms form unpredictably underfoot. Since the Maelir first stood on its slopes in the distant past, they have sought to still its anger and control its power. Each year, twin brothers are chosen to make a perilous journey to the summit. If they survive they will be witness to Zenith, and the secrets will be revealed to them.

When Atreu and Teyth embark on their Ascent, their Talismans lead them onto conflicting paths that will ultimately set brother against brother. And this time the Ascent itself is in peril as unknown forces that have long craved the power of Zenith will stop at nothing to make it their own even if it means destroying the very thing that sustains all life the Mountain itself.

This book was a little tough to get into, but once I got past the introductory scenes, and Atreu and Teyth set off on their journey, I couldn’t stay away from it. Atreu and Teyth are twins, which is rare, and which means they’re chosen to make a dangerous journey to the summit of the Mountain. If they survive, they’ll be witness to Zenith – and all secrets will be revealed to them. Until then, they must look down and avoid Zenith at all costs once that time of the day approaches, or soething terrible will happen. This journey is called the Ascent, and Atreu and Teyth each receive a talisman to lead them onto their path. But their paths lead them astray from the other, in opposite directions. In the mean time, a war is brewing in the land, and dark forces gather to steal the power of Zenith.

We follow Atreu for the most part, after he sets off on his solo-journey after saying goodbye to his brother. He’s a complex character to understand, and while not the most heroic of the two brothers, he has a strange form of courage in his heart, that may ultimately help him find his goal. Along the way, Atreu meets some individuals – some good, some bad, some helpful, some threatening – and learns a lot about life, the secrets of his world, and the secrets of his own heart.

Zenith is a mix of fantasy, mysticism, spiritualism, and action. It takes a while to get used to the pace, which seems to go slow at first, but picks up after Atreu starts his own solo-journey, and to the whole mysticism-vibe that lingers above the book. The writing is solid, and it’s a good set up for what’s to come next, in the sequel.


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