Book Review: As I Descended by Robin Talley

as i descended

As I Descended

Release date: September 6th 2016

3 stars

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 knew going in that this was a modern take on Macbeth and I was excited for it. I did find that I had a hard time getting into it. The modern boarding school setting, the teens with a Ouija board, the taking down the mean girl plot, it all seemed so familiar and I kept waiting for something to draw me in. I was having a hard time connecting with a lot of the characters as well.

The main character was Maria but the story was told in other characters’ POVs as well. Maria was the one with the most POVs and most of the plot centered on her. She was someone was worked very hard to get where she was, top grades, spot on the soccer team, in the running for the elite Kingsley scholarship, but it seemed like all she could focus on was the one girl who kept beating her. She was together with her roommate Lily, and for some reason they both viewed the Kingsley prize as the only way they could be together after high school because the prize was so elite the recipient pretty much got their choice of college and Lily was going to Stanford so Maria needed to go to Stanford. I didn’t really feel a love connection between them so it made it difficult for me to care if Maria got the prize.

We also see the POVs of Lily, of Maria’s best friend Brandon, his boyfriend Mateo. I did find myself liking Brandon and Mateo. Their relationship felt like they had a developing connection that had the potential to grow into something special.

The book started off with a Ouija board scene and got progressively creepier and darker. Robin Talley did a good job at bringing the chills down your spine at a page’s turn. She also did a great job addressing a lot of issues: sexuality, racism, privilege being among them and making them fit into the plot without overcrowding it or taking away from the horror aspect.

I think if I had connected more to Maria and Lily I would have enjoyed this book a lot more. I liked the creepy factor and it almost read like an old urban legend warning tale.

*I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.



Filed under book-related, books, reviews, talking books, ya books

4 responses to “Book Review: As I Descended by Robin Talley

  1. I love books that give off a creepy vibe so I have a feeling I’m going to love this one. It really is a bummer when you find yourself not able to connect to the characters as much as you would like, when they are such a big part of the story. It can really take a lot away from the reading experience!

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