Audiobook Review — Gears of War: Ascendance

The official prequel to the action video game Gears 5, beginning immediately after Gears of War 4 and leading directly into the new game, Gears of War: Ascendance is the sixth entry in the Gears of War novel series. I listened to the audiobook, available on Downpour, narrated by Nan McNamara, the voice actor who portrays Anya Stroud in the Gears of War games. Below is my review of this book. Enjoy!

In the action-packed world of Gears of War, Jason M. Hough’s Gears of War: Ascendance is an exceptional addition to the franchise. As a bridge between the events of Gears of War 4 and 5, Ascendance immerses the reader in the raw, gritty, and thrilling universe of Sera, where the Coalition of Ordered Governments (COG) struggles against the fierce Swarm threat. Hough masterfully weaves an engaging narrative that not only satiates the hunger of long-time fans but also provides an accessible entry point for newcomers to the series.

Hough’s writing style is both captivating and descriptive, allowing the reader to envision the heart-pounding action and intense emotional scenes with ease. The author remains true to the essence of the Gears of War universe, bringing to life its intricate lore and distinctive characters. By exploring the complex relationships between protagonists JD, Kait, Del, and Marcus, Hough adds depth and dimension to these beloved figures, elevating them beyond their roles as mere soldiers on the battlefield.

The pacing of Gears of War: Ascendance is one of its most commendable aspects. Hough expertly balances quieter, reflective moments with adrenaline-fueled encounters that will leave readers on the edge of their seats. As the story unfolds, the stakes escalate, and the characters find themselves in increasingly dire situations. This results in a tense, suspenseful atmosphere that keeps the reader engaged from beginning to end.

One of the most impressive aspects of Ascendance is the author’s ability to capture the essence of the Gears of War universe while expanding its lore. Hough introduces a variety of new locations, such as the abandoned, Swarm-infested city of Azura, providing a fresh backdrop for the characters’ trials and tribulations. He also delves into the political machinations within the COG, highlighting the moral ambiguity that permeates the world of Sera.

Gears of War: Ascendance by Jason M. Hough is an outstanding entry into the Gears of War canon. It skillfully blends action, character development, and world-building, offering new and returning readers a gripping and immersive experience. If you are a fan of the Gears of War franchise or simply looking for a fast-paced, well-written sci-fi adventure, Ascendance is a must-read.

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