TITLE : The House Of Styx (Venus Ascendant #1)

AUTHOR : Derek Künsken

GENRE : Science Fiction, Fantasy, Hard Sci-Fi, Space Opera, LGBT

FR RATING : ⭐⭐⭐⭐(Stars)

DATE OF PUBLISHING :   18 August 2020


DISCLAIMER : Thank you, Netgalley and Rebellion, Solaris for providing me with an ARC of this book. I am leaving this review voluntarily.

The House Of Styx by Derek Künsken is the first novel in the Venus Ascendant sci-fi series set in the churning clouds of Venus. Künsken creates a story of survival and family values. The atmospheric and visually detailed setting for this story is the highlight of this story. The harsh environment and unrelenting acidic rain in the atmosphere of Venus make for a challenging living environment for its inhabitants. While the rest of the world has taken over other planets in the solar system, the Québécois descendants have managed to inhabit Venus and make a new home. 

We follow the story of the D’Aquillon family, who lives in the lower levels of the atmosphere in their bio-engineered trawlers. Life at the lower levels is harsher, and they have been making their way through life on their own by scavenging, farming, mining, and then selling their supplies in the black market. The D’Aquillon patriarch George-Étienne holds onto his family and refuses to yield to the elites who rule over them. His decisions and discord with the governing parties have made them pariahs in their own society. Now, it is up to the family to come together and solve the issues that threaten the fragile stability they had established over the years.  

Pascal, Jean-Eudes, Alexis, Marthe, and Emile are all very much significant in their own way in this story. With the siblings coming together to bring forward a plan to ensure their freedom and wanting to keep their rightful homes from the greedy hands of the Banks that govern them, they realize that to move forward they will need to find like-minded individuals to help them. Their fight for justice, day-to-day struggles, and personal journey all make up for a heartfelt story.

While the story and the plot take their sweet time to progress, we get to learn more about the socio-economic conditions, lifestyle, community, and politics that envelop the colonies. There is a fair bit of adventure and action towards the end. The world Künsken has woven is utterly fascinating to explore and the vivid imagery he paints gives us the feel of what it’s like to live on Venus. You feel the acidic rains, constant winds, severe pressure, and extreme temperatures of the atmosphere as if you are living there and experiencing it first hand. The well-crafted world and relatable characters made this story a unique reading experience. 

I am not a huge fan of Science Fiction in general and I always have had a hard time comprehending the science and technology it involves. It often leaves me confused and a little lost because of the nature of the setting. While that was still the case when I started this book, things quickly turned around for me. The human aspect of the story pulled me in and took me through an emotionally and mentally taxing journey. I could feel the character’s frustrations, pain, strength, and their experiences made me feel connected to them.

The writing is heavy with details and technological aspects that provide the setup for the world. While this might be a bit much for a newbie Sci-Fi reader, the pros will find it easier to move forward with the story with barely any hiccups. Be patient and let the characters take you through an unforgettable journey. It will be worth it. Trust me. 

The House Of Styx is an exciting story that showcases the author’s sheer talent of excellent world-building and keen attention to detail on the technological and technical aspects. It is a must-read for any sci-fi fans out there. It is unique and innovative and I had a great time reading the story. I can’t wait to see what the author has in store for the rest of the series. The possibilities are endless. I gave the book 4 stars and I highly recommend everyone to check this book out.


The first in a ground breaking, action-packed and exciting new science fiction series from the best-selling author of The Quantum Magician.

Life can exist anywhere. And anywhere there is life, there is home.

In the swirling clouds of Venus, the families of la colonie live on floating plant-like trawlers, salvaging what they can in the fierce acid rain and crackling storms. Outside is dangerous, but humankind’s hold on the planet is fragile and they spend most of their days simply surviving.

But Venus carries its own secrets, too. In the depths, there is a wind that shouldn’t exist.

And the House of Styx wants to harness it.

Source : Goodreads


    • Fazila KP

      Same! Especially with the technical side of things, I am thinking, “English, please!” more times in my head than I would like. I guess the more you read a genre the more accessible it becomes. Fantasy, was similar for me and now, it’s getting easier, particularly adult fantasy.

  • Liz Dexter

    Well done for getting over the hurdle of this being very sci fi and probably bewildering at first – I say this as someone who really doesn’t read sci fi. It sounds like the author has really thought about what it would be like to live there and the human side as well as the sci fi / fantasy side of the arrangements of society, etc. Do you think you’ll read the rest of the series?

    • Fazila KP

      I am just happy to have completed the book. It was hard at first comprehension g the world and the technical aspects of it. I am not a Sci-Fi reader either, at least nit the hard Sc-Fi. I have read softer Sci-Fi, where sci-fi elements are there, but the story is more about the character or a particular quest that focuses on human aspects of it rather than the technicalities. This was totally out of my comfort zone, and yet I couldn’t put it down because of the human elements of the story and how easy it was to relate to their human struggles and understand them. I would love to read the rest and see where the story goes, because I am intrigued and curious to see how things will pan out. Hopefully the rest of the series won’t take too much time. ??

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