Violina and Lux come alive through the pages of Inevitable Ascension. The world McAllister has created feels mostly original and the characters certainly step off of the stage (some in all their odd-glory). Her world is one-part steampunk-Judge Dread and one part Mad Max with just a note of Dan Brown as the girls encounter the Kza conspiracy. There is much to like in the story (it arguably gets better as you read—the first couple chapters felt as if it embraced a few too many tropes, but the characters really into their own by chapter five).
If I have any gripes at all it would be that it could have used a little more world-building. Like, not much, just a couple sentences more in the first few chapters to help set the stage. Most writers (often including myself) overdo the scenery and descriptions, and McAllister does a masterful job—but little things bugged me (it seemed low-tech at first with hand-crossbows but then there are pistols and lasers later… it’s not that you can’t have both, and her world certainly does. I really didn’t care for the cover, either, but whatever that’s just me. None of those very minor and specific gripes detract from the content of the story itself and it still deserves all 5 stars.
I enjoy a good story with strong female leads, especially sci-fi stories (typically they are weighted slightly male-heavy for a variety of reasons) except when those stories are intentionally pushing a strong feminist agenda. Sometimes a strong woman is just a strong woman (no need to turn them into a propaganda machine). Lux and Violina have a certain rebellious spirit as they hop from one plight to another and Inevitable Ascension is a worthy read.