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Welcome to the Justice Academy – the galaxy’s best superhero college! Teen grifter Grey arrives at the school carrying a lie: he isn’t really tech heir Mirabor Gravane. At the first opportunity Grey plans to leave the Academy. That is until he makes the mistake of starting to like his fellow students. The Justice Academy promises to “equip you with the skills to be the hero the galaxy needs” and Grey is beginning to believe the hype. But as he takes more risks to protect his secret, events spiral out of his control. When the real Gravane is kidnapped, Grey and his new friends must come together to mount a rescue and defend a city from an attack by hostile super-powered aliens. If he is to succeed, or even survive, Grey must decide who he is, and does he want to be a superhero?
About the Author
Rob Edwards is a British born writer and podcaster, currently living in Finland. He was brought up on classic sci fi and comic books, JRR Tolkien, and games. His podcast, StorycastRob, features readings from his short stories and extracts from longer works. His stories can also be found in anthologies from Inklings Press, the Sci-fi Roundtable, the superhero anthology Somebody, Save Me!, and in the Word Count Podcast.
"What begins as a short-term space con spirals into a galaxywide adventure. While hustling a few credits for his next meal, an unnamed 17-year-old narrator is offered a deal: briefly impersonate Mirabor Gravane so he can live free of his famous family’s restrictive expectations. Newly dubbed Grey, the narrator arrives planetside at Justice Academy and embarks on a curriculum of superhero classes, gathering a motley crew of multispecies friends: Seventhirtyfour, a four-armed Brontom; Pilvi, a human plant expert; tech genius Gadget Dude; reptilian Dez; and winged Avrim. Trust, friendship, and having a place to belong are discussed even as Grey hides the truth of his identity from his new friends. During convoluted, risky missions, what makes a superhero truly a hero: powers, technology or just the right knowledge for the situation? The skills Grey brings as a charismatic human who lacks superpowers but excels at strategic thinking are depicted plainly and directly. One major reveal will likely be spotted by readers well in advance and only Grey, Seventhirtyfour, and Pilvi receive much character development; action sequences, mysterious capers, and somewhat cinematic battles take the forefront. The human characters seem to be white by default; the rest of the main cast is alien. An entertaining and action-packed journey that will appeal to Marvel and DC comics fans." —Kirkus Reviews
"The Ascension Machine is a fun and very enjoyable book. Edwards clearly had fun writing it. The characters are engaging, the story doesn’t get too bogged down in jargon or plot, and it’s just a fun read that leaves you with a smile on your face." —Alex C. Telander, Manhattan Book Review