As She Ascends is the second entry in The Fallen Isles Trilogy by Jodi Meadows.
The book picks up almost immediately where Before She Ignites left off, with Mira and her friends on the run from the prison guards on Khulan, and follows their escape and quest to track the dragon shipments across the Fallen Isles.
Pacing wise, As She Ascends is as fast as Before She Ignites was slow—a slightly abrupt, if not unwelcome, reversal. With all of the peril involved, the power Mira discovered in the first book develops quickly, if not her mastery of it. Her character continues the development started in the first book as well, as she learns to speak and stand for herself more confidently.
I had hoped that the other characters might get more development in this book as well. We do get more background on Aaru, which provides interesting insight to both his character and culture, but other than spending more time with the other supporting characters, we still only get bits and pieces on them outside of their relationship to Mira.
After the events of the first book, I was curious to see if Altan’s character arc would make him a more prominent antagonist or if he would perhaps go the antihero route in the sequel, but he really doesn’t get enough page time to make that determination. Most of the characters are still pretty adamantly against him (and rightfully so), but his goal still technically aligns with Mira’s, so it’s not out of the realm of possibility we could still wind up rooting for him, at least a little bit. He doesn’t get much opportunity for redemption in this book though, so he’ll have a lot of work to do in book three if that’s the case.
While most of the world-building details were provided in Before She Ignites, As She Ascends continues to demonstrate and explore the incredibly detailed cultures it established, which is one of the strengths of this series.
All in all, I give As She Ascends 3 stars, and I look forward to seeing how the series ends.