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Book Review: As I Descended by Robin Talley

* I am reviewing this book that I received from the author but this in no way affects my review *

Title: As I Descended
Authors: Robin Talley
Source: NetGalley
Publisher: HQ Stories
Rating: 4/5 stars

Book Summary:

“Something wicked this way comes.”

Maria Lyon and Lily Boiten are their school’s ultimate power couple—even if no one knows it but them.

Only one thing stands between them and their perfect future: campus superstar Delilah Dufrey.

Golden child Delilah is a legend at the exclusive Acheron Academy, and the presumptive winner of the distinguished Cawdor Kingsley Prize. She runs the school, and if she chose, she could blow up Maria and Lily’s whole world with a pointed look, or a carefully placed word.

But what Delilah doesn’t know is that Lily and Maria are willing to do anything—absolutely anything—to make their dreams come true. And the first step is unseating Delilah for the Kingsley Prize. The full scholarship, awarded to Maria, will lock in her attendance at Stanford―and four more years in a shared dorm room with Lily.

Maria and Lily will stop at nothing to ensure their victory—including harnessing the dark power long rumored to be present on the former plantation that houses their school.

But when feuds turn to fatalities, and madness begins to blur the distinction between what’s real and what is imagined, the girls must decide where they draw the line.

Book Review:

I started reading As I Descended a couple of years ago but I decided to put it down on a whim. Then less than a month ago I wanted to finish the story so picked it up again. It was this that changed my experience. By the end I was hooked. As I Descended is a haunting and creepy read that will get you through the Halloween season.

I think one of the reasons why I stopped reading As I Descended was because at the beginning I wasn't fully connecting with the characters and didn't really understand the story. This was probably to do with me as overall and by the end I did connect with Robin Talley's writing and it was definitely that which kept me invested in the story.

I think that there are three things that really kept me invested in the story. The first is that it is of course based on Macbeth by Shakespeare. By the end I was connecting the pieces to the Macbeth story that I quite enjoyed. I mean just the way that characters represented other characters in the original story was so well done. Robin Talley must have done some serious planning to get it right. She definitely did it right. Just so good.

I also really did connect with the setting which is a boarding school. I have seen in some reviews that people thought that this not used as much as they hoped, I do think that the way that it was used was so good. I always think of boarding schools as creepy and scary places and this book definitely confirmed that. I'm kind of happy that I don't have to go to schools anymore including the boarding school kind.

By far the best part of this book is the characters. In her books Robin Talley creates really diverse characters in terms of LGBTQIA+ characters but this book does include Hispanic (I think) representation and a disabled character. Even though they are seen throughout the story, the characters are not just their representation. I also feel hard for some of the main characters and it was really, really sad when they die. (If you know the story of Macbeth this is not really a spoiler.) I also think that the way that the characters were fleshed out was just so good and I loved them.

I did just really enjoy my time reading this book so this is a solid recommendation from me!

The Verdict:

As I Descended is a Macbeth retelling that is spooky, atmospheric and wonderfully entertaining. A Halloween must read!

Have you read As I Descended? Do you want to? Leave it in the comments below!


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