Monday, September 5, 2016

Review: As I Descended by Robin Talley

As I Descended by Robin Talley
Series: Standalone
Published: September 6th, 2016
Publisher: HarperTeen
384 pages (eARC)
Genre: Contemporary YA/LGBTQ (Shakespeare retelling)
Acquired this book: Via Edelweiss in exchange for honest consideration
Warning: May contain spoilers
{GoodReads || Buy this book: Amazon || Chapters/Indigo}

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.

I wasn’t completely sure what to expect when I started As I Descended. I knew two things: it was a retelling of Shakespeare’s Macbeth, and it featured queer characters. Honestly, that was enough to pique my interest. Within the first few pages, I realized it was a bad idea to be reading the book at night. I’m a total wuss when it comes to scary stuff, and let me tell you, As I Descended had a pretty terrifying beginning. That creep factor lasted all the way through the book, making for a dark, suspenseful, often disturbing story about revenge, jealousy, and the lengths people will go to for what they want.

It’s hard to say too much about the plot without getting into spoiler territory, but the book is set in an elite southern boarding school and starts out with what was intended as a fun, innocent game with a Ouija board between Maria, her girlfriend Lily, and Maria’s best friend Brandon. Maria grew up sensing spirits, and was aware of the school’s history of various hauntings, but had no idea that she would stir up something sinister and deadly. What started as an innocent game unraveled quickly into the entire school basically spiraling into madness with Maria and her group of friends at the forefront. This book was dark - really dark. On its own, I think I would have had some issues with it, but because it was a reimagining of Macbeth, it was obvious from the start that As I Descended wasn’t going to be sunshine and happy endings. The book’s darkness and creepiness were what made it so compelling. The events were so horrifying, it was hard to put the book down because I wanted to know what would happen next.  

With a diverse cast of characters and a setting that’s so vivid it’s almost like a character itself, As I Descended is a chilling, atmospheric story. If you like horror with a side of paranormal, and enjoy creative, well-written retellings, be sure to check out As I Descended

Have you read As I Descended? What did you think? If you haven't read it, do you plan to? Are you familiar with Macbeth? Have you read any other Shakespeare retellings?

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