The Ascension of Melanie Winters by Holly Stockport

She was a monster. But the worst kind of monster. One disguised as a living human.

Melanie Winters is struggling with university life just as much as everyone else. Exams, lectures, the power to move things with her mind, the usual worries. 

After a freak accident that she caused, Melanie is forced to return to her home in the Welsh countryside with her mother to start again.

But when strange events begin to occur upon her arrival, Melanie begins to realise that she, and the powers she fought so hard to keep hidden all these years, might be part of something a lot more sinister.

Rating: 3.5/5 stars

Publication Date: 19th February 2018

Page Count: 248 pages

Genre: Young Adult / Fantasy

The Ascension of Melanie Winters

‘She hadn’t meant to pull apart a building…’

The Ascension of Melanie Winters is a solid and intriguing debut novel by twenty-three-year-old South Wales blogger, Holly Stockport. As the title suggests, it focuses on the life of Melanie Winters, a university student struggling to maintain the normalcy of daily life. Deadlines are a struggle, but even more so is hiding her power from those closest to her.

In the opening pages, Melanie is nothing but relatable. She is busy with work and lectures, living in a flu-invested university accommodation. It is perhaps her “relate-ability” factor that engages readers, like myself, and reels us in. She is portrayed as a little socially anxious, maybe even odd, but her overall character is very likeable. Yet, as the book progresses, her unfamiliar qualities start to emerge; the ones which are completely alien to us. Melanie has the power to move things [or people] with her mind, which at times, especially during fits of emotion, are hard to control. Her power puts an inevitable wedge between herself and those around her, and this all comes to a head when an incident outside class plays out in front of everyone. And this is where Melanie’s adventure truly begins.

Stockport’s novel plays out incrementally and simplistically; it has an easy flow to it, no matter the situation. From university halls to the rural and local setting of Wales, Stockport is willing to manufacture an interesting story-line in places very familiar to her target audience and social media following. 

What is fascinating about Stockport’s portrayal of Melanie is that she is a character who flickers on the scale of good-girl to vigilante anti-hero very easily. She appears to be a girl who has a heart of gold, who will protect those in need, but she won’t think twice about causing damage to those who she feels have wronged her or someone around her [and there are some wild acts of violence on her part throughout the book].

Besides our protagonist, we are also introduced to her mother, Laurie, who finds its very easy to look over the bizarre events that Melanie causes as her power continues to grow out of control. We also find a potential love interest in the character of Nathan Taggart, a young boy who helps his father run a local corner shop. [Personally, my favourite character is Azumi, but I don’t want to give away any spoilers on why or how she is involved in Melanie’s life.]

If a sequel is, or will be, in the works, I very much hope to see further exploration into Melanie discovering her power for the first time, as well as a look at the backstory of characters, such as Azumi. More so, I am very intrigued to see how the relationship between Laurie, Melanie’s mother, and Heather plays out.

For those who love subtle science-fiction/fantasy, grounded in our reality, this is a perfect opportunity to delve into the life of the Winter’s family as they seek to discovers just who, and what, they are.

About the author

Holly Stockport is an author, Youtuber and blogger based in South Wales, UK. She dabbles in all genres, including science fiction and fantasy. 

Stockport’s website can be found here.

Her Twitter can be found here.

Her Instagram can be found here.

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