New reviews for Dismal Tide, Population of Loss

We received yet another positive review of our introductory book of superhero and Victorian post-apocalyptic short stories, “Population of Loss.” In the Ascension Epoch universe, the War of the Worlds actually happened and it changed the world permanently.

Here’s what the reviewer has to say:

Great concept, well executed

I first stumbled across the “Ascension Epoch” universe while searching for info on public domain comic book characters; this shared universe features such characters combined with original creations in a world molded by literary events (the most important being the invasion from HG Well’s War of the World). I picked up this book for free to learn more about the project, and (when I eventually had time to read it) was glad I did. The book features 4 short stories set during the Martian Invasion, introducing several of the concepts and character that (presumably) will play a larger part in the later stories. The weaving of old and new works well, and the writing style is solid and engaging. Basically, the book was free to whet the appetite of the reader for more stories of this world. In my case, it worked; I look forward to reading more of the Ascension Epoch.

We also received a second four star review from noted author Richard Rohlin, a man who knows superhero and adventure tales. His verdict?

The Best Ascension Epoch Story Yet
In my opinion, “Dismal Tide” represents the strongest work by far from the Ascension Epoch team. It is a definite sequel to “After Dark” which you will need to read both to get a handle on the plot and characters as well as the larger world (which as other reviewers have noted is quite different from our own).

As with the previous East End Irregulars book, there is a strong emphasis on the “teen romance” part of the story. Although I am admittedly not really the target demographic for that, it is nice to see the main character (Sebastian/Torrent) progressing in emotional maturity as the story goes on. His caustic personality was something which struck me rather strongly in the first book, but I don’t mind it so much as there seems to be a clear plan to mature him over the course of the series. I rather suspect the DiBaggios are playing the long game when it comes to character development.

As with After Dark, Dismal Tide is written as a series of vignettes, each of which is its own story (these switch back and forth between a traditional third-person narrative and a first-person narrative from Sebastian/Torrent’s perspective), but each of which is designed to fit into a larger whole. In Dismal Tide, these episodes seemed less disjointed and more coherent, and while the book has its own crisis-resolution-aftermath arc, you can also see how it might be building to something bigger as the series progresses. As far as narrative pacing goes, I feel as though this is M. DiBaggio’s strongest effort yet.

If I had to take issue with anything about the book, it could be that I wish more attention had been paid to the character perspectives in some of the scenes. There are moments where there are things which the character clearly shouldn’t know (like the callsign of another hero who hasn’t picked hers out yet) and yet the narrative from that character’s point of view already uses the new callsign. For a reader, perspectives are tricky to keep straight in an ensemble book, and I would have liked to see a little more attention paid to maintaining a consistent point of view for each scene–or possibly some kind of hints given in the layout of the book to indicate that the point of view had changed.

All in all, “Dismal Tide” is a really enjoyable book, and includes some really deep and interesting discussions about faith, God, and the nature of the supernatural in addition to the teen romance and supheroic elements. A solid four stars.

Intrigued yet? Lucky for you, all of our Kindle books are on sale for $0.99 until end of day Tuesday. Pick one up now.

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