Red Ascent — REVIEW

I recently read the science fiction novel Red Ascent by Dillon Foley, and found myself pretty captivated…

I was commissioned to read and review the following book. All opinions are honest and my own.

A book review of Red Ascent a science fiction novel by Dillon Foley

Excellent story. Fantastic intensity. Relevant to our times and an interesting examination of our current society and the ongoing, often internal, war on religion and the acceptance of all people.

It’s clear the author is attuned to the mindset of present day America and what often feels like the core of humanity’s motivations. While the focus of this story often shifts to God and Christianity, it was refreshing to see it discussed from a perspective of love and equality. A science-fiction work would be expected to rehash the God vs. Science argument, but Foley takes a surprising approach and instead argues love vs. class division. It was an inspiring stance that had this reviewer often agreeing with the protagonist.

Chelsea Shaw is an under appreciated aide for a prominent, and disgustingly corrupt senator. When she learns the leaders of America are covering up a doomsday event, and planning an escape to Mars taking with them only the wealthiest, and most elite, her only choice is to leak the story and find a way to save everyone else they intend to leave behind.

After many dangers and tragedies, Chelsea finds herself the leader of an operation that will lead the human race to Mars. Racing against both the clock and the corrupt leaders of America, her coalition is one built on everyone’s right to life.

With a vast array of characters (some loveable, some despicable, all flawed in their own way) Chelsea builds a community and a family. But everything is against them. World leaders. Science. Technology. Faith. They have an impossible amount of work to do to get everyone on Mars. And time is running out.

While this book does approach amateurish in its use of cliches and semi-predictable dialogue, the bones of this story keep you going.

There are some impossible instances, and a few “that would never actually happen” plot moments, but this reviewer forgave them because of the emotion drawn out of the reader. Identifying with the characters isn’t difficult, so it was easy to become engrossed with their story. I rooted for Chelsea the entire book.

Foley has a wonderful way with action sequences. More than once I found myself holding my breath, sighing with relief, cheering out loud, or gasping in suspense. The way tense scenes were told was exhilarating and sometimes emotionally exhausting.

There were times, in between those high intensity moments, of big, chunky dialogue, and it often felt like a sermon. Thankfully, love, equality, and the importance of accepting people were the messages being delivered. There was also an organic quality to it, that made the borderline preaching easier to swallow.

Overall, I really enjoyed the story. Many times Red Ascent led me to contemplating the decisions I’d make if in Chelsea, or any of the other character’s, situation. Where would I go? Who would I follow? What would I base those decisions on? It left me shaking my head at the greed and dishonorable choices governments make in the real world, but also hopeful that not all is lost if one finds themselves in that scenario.

Relevant. Hopeful. Exciting. Thought-provoking. While there are whiffs of “new writer” throughout, I didn’t care. The story was captivating. Socially provocative, in an incredibly positive way.

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