The Ascension Machine

Shadow Dragon Pr. Sept. 2020. 308p. pap. $16.95. ISBN 9781951122089.
Gr 6-10–Grey was a misfit running from space station to space station when he met uber-rich Mirabor Gravane. Mirabor noticed Grey’s grifting and lying skills (and that he and Grey looked similar) and hired him to attend the Justice Academy, a school for superheroes, in his stead. Thinking it was a bit of fun, Grey agrees, a decision that will change him from a driftless wanderer to a true hero. He meets great people at the academy, but his lie is exposed when Mirabor’s mother comes to check on him. She then hires him to keep impersonating her son, who has mysteriously been kidnapped. Can Grey figure out who kidnapped Mirabor without letting his new friends find out he’s been lying to them? The book features a lot of British slang. Some of the prose can be a bit clunky sometimes, and the predictable story could flow better. All characters are various alien species and a few humans, who all have pale skin. The book also features a post-credits scene as a nod to superhero movies, and leaves room for a sequel.
VERDICT Like the movie Sky High in space. A decent addition for libraries where superhero and adventure books are popular.

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