Book Reviews

Review: As I Descended

Review: As I DescendedAs I Descended by Robin Talley
Published by Mira Ink on September 6th 2016
Genres: Horror & Ghost Stories, LGBTQ, Paranormal, Retelling
Pages: 370
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley

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.
From acclaimed author Robin Talley comes a Shakespeare-inspired story of revenge and redemption, where fair is foul, and foul is fair.

When I read it…

This was a one day read on August 25th!

What I’d heard before I read it:

I’d heard a lot of enthusiasm for the blurb but I hadn’t actually read any reviews before I picked this up.

What worked for me:

  • The creepiness: I don’t read a lot of spooky stories, but I was strangely in the mood for something a bit scary when I picked this up, and As I Descended definitely delivered – part of the reason I finished this in a day is because I stayed up until some crazy time in the morning because I was too freaked to comfortably go to bed!
  • The pacing: I was hooked on this pretty early on, and I read the whole thing in a day, because the fast pacing (combined with the creepiness) meant I just didn’t want to put it down.
  • The diversity: I’m always on the lookout for more F/F relationships (especially in speculative fiction since I’m not much of a contemporary fan), and Talley has given us a great diverse cast, which was one of the elements I liked most about As I Descended.

What didn’t quite work for me:

  • The ending: I don’t really know what I expected from the ending, but I just found it ultimately unsatisfying.
  • The characters: The characters just didn’t really work for me because their motivations and their actions just never seemed to match up very well.  Characters seemed to change their opinions a bit too rapidly for me to feel they were truly believable, and I wanted more depth, more substance, for each of the characters.

I enjoyed As I Descended, just not as much as I’d hoped to.  While the premise sounded amazing, I think I just had expectations that were too high.  A few months after reading, I’m left with sadly very little impression of As I Descended, just a vague impression of spookiness and a diverse set of characters. An enjoyable enough read, but definitely not the favourite I was hoping it’d become.

Other reviews of As I Descended: Pretty Deadly Reviews | The Young Folks | That’s What She Read

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