Monday, December 17, 2018

Random Review: Ascendent by Tal Bauer #Review #Giveaway

Author: Tal Bauer
Title: Ascendent
Series: Executive Power #1
Self Published
Publication Date: August 23, 2018
Length: 280 pages 

Reviewed by Jenn


Sasha Andreyev grew up on the wrong side of nowhere, dreaming of starlight as he strangled a secret. He fled, enlisting in the Russian Army, and worked his way up the ranks. Years later, after surviving a beating and being left for dead, he found a new life in Moscow, working with President Sergey Puchkov.

And then, he fell in love.

Desperate to avoid his runaway heart, crippled with a shame that infected his soul, and ravaged by demons haunting his memories, Sasha ran.

But he could never escape Sergey, or the gravitational pull of their love.

Nightmares trail behind his every step and weary ghosts live in the hollow chambers of his soul. He’s spent a lifetime brutally eviscerating the parts of himself he despises, and he’s an empty, shattered shell, struggling to be the man worthy of Sergey’s love.

The pieces of his soul he cut out are the very ones he needs in order to become the man he yearns to be. He’ll need to face himself, and his past, on a journey into the frozen heart of Russia, and into the midnight depths of the dead lands.

Only then can he ascend from the darkness, and be the man Sergey needs at his side.


The readers of Tal Bauer’s Executive Office series will recognize Russian President Sergey Puchkov and Sasha Andreyev. For those who haven’t read the Executive Office, don’t walk and read them!! You will not regret them! Okay, sorry, but that had to be said!

Ascendent is the first book in the new Executive Power series and we pick up with Sergey and Sasha. I’m so happy to be back in this world and back with these two men. I’m going to start by saying that Sasha is a polarizing character, I’ve read back in the EO series that people had issues with him. I’ve never felt anything but sympathy and love towards this character. Not everyone’s journey has a quick fix and growing up as a gay man in Russia leaves scars. With Tal Bauer’s penchant for research, I have no doubt he dug deep into this side of Sasha. I look at Sasha and see a scared boy, a brave pilot, a patriot, a friend and a lover. I also see someone who sees none of these qualities in himself. I love the path of self discovery in this book, Sasha’s need to be more. One thing Sasha cannot run from is his endless love for Sergey. I could go on, but the demons in this man need to be experienced for yourself. 

Sergey is the President of Russia and has helped do the save the world AND made a best friend in an American President. He now finds himself in the position of weeding out the bad seeds, making his country stronger. He wants to do that with his love beside him, but things aren’t going to be easy on that front either. The growth in Sergey from when we first meet him to the end of this book is so endearing to me. I want nothing but happiness for these two men, men who have risked it all. We can’t forget that they risked their very lives for a world that dictates how they live those lives. The opportunity to ride off into the sunset is still a ways off for this couple. I’m reminded both how far we’ve come and how far there is to go. This is true in any and all worlds, although in this fictional world, it allows me to appreciate the journey all the more.

In all of Tal Bauer’s books, I always find myself blown away by the amount of research that goes into each book. I love that he stays true to these characters even though he has to know Sasha will catch some heat. I say “bring it”, to do otherwise undermines the struggle and pain in this man’s life. I cannot wait to meet up with Sasha and Sergey in the next book, I am a true fan of these two. I am reminded of them almost each night when I look to the stars, they have left their mark on my heart.

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