Title: As I Descended
Author: Robin Talley
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Series: N/A, standalone
Star Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars
I borrowed this book from my local library and reviewed it.
Holy crap, Robin Talley. Holy crap. What have you done to me?! This book. This freaking book. There aren't enough words to describe just how much I loved this book. First off, the concept was killer for me. A Macbeth retelling, with two lesbians as the main characters? Ghosts, tons of gore, creepy, gorgeous, terrifying prose. Okay, so I'll be honest. It's not the most original--a Shakespeare retelling--but darn it if it didn't steal my heart anyway. This is my first book by Robin Talley, and it most definitely won't be my last. This book was one of my favorites of the autumn, if not the year. What a way to get in the spirit of Halloween!
As I Descended (plus, look at the cover! So sinister and creepy) opens with in-the-closet couple Maria and Lily, fooling around in their dorm room with their friends. Sounds pretty normal, right? But when Lily orders an Ouija board online, and it begins to speak to them, a sinister plan is hatched: They will eliminate everyone in their way, any way they must. When the girls act out their plan, things begin to go dangerously awry: Fellow students are dropping like flies, and the girls are beginning to see and hear things that aren't really there. The couple must decide what their dreams are really worth, or risk body count increasing...
What can I say? I loved this book--with my entire body and soul. This book made me fall in love with the horror genre all over again. It reminded me why I love it in the first place--I love getting the pants scared off of me! And this book had everything: old curses, ghosts, blood--it really did justice to the original play, even while it spun the story for a contemporary teenage audience. I love retellings, especially when they're done with such finesse!
The prose was easily one of my favorite parts of the book--it really did a good job of setting the creepy, macabre vibe of Acheron, and its students. The pacing was breakneck--I couldn't pull myself away from the book, even during the gory and frighening parts. I also really liked the characters, every single one of them, and the way Talley told each chapter from their different points of view. It only made the story better. It almost felt as if the school itself were a character in its own right, hiding secrets from the other characters as well as the reader. The bottom line: One of my favorite books of 2016, Talley delivers a homerun with her macabre, creepy retelling of the beloved Scottish Play--absolutely amazing! Next on deck: A Shadow Bright and Burning by Jessica Cluess!