I am so excited to take part in the blog tour for Robin Talley's AS I DESCENDED. I get to share my review with you today but first, I wanted to make sure you're aware of all the other stops on the tour and tell you not to miss the giveaway after the review! You're going to want a copy of this for yourself!
Here is the full tour schedule in case you missed it. Be sure to stop by the other stops for more AS I DESCENDED awesomeness.
8/29: Fiction Fare - Review
Today also happens to be AS I DESCENDED's book birthday so Happy Book Birthday to Robin Talley and AS I DESCENDED.
Hopefully my review makes you want to run to the bookstore.
Release Date - September 6, 2016
Publisher Social Media - Twitter/Facebook/SavvyReader/Frenzy
Pages - 384 pages
My Rating - 4.5/5
**received from publisher for an honest review**
Maria Lyon and Lily Boiten are their school’s ultimate power couple—even if no one knows it but them.I am one of those people who love Shakespeare retellings. I especially enjoy when an author twists them in unexpected ways. As I Descended not only succeeds as a reimagining of Macbeth but it works as a creepy, boarding school set novel that will leave you unsettled.
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.
Atmospheric is definitely one of the words I would used to describe this book. Robin Talley nails the setting, and tone masterfully. She combines them to create a tense, unsettling feeling that resonates not just with the characters but the reader. Robin Talley's talent is in creating mood and setting and as a result she's created these perfect backdrop for her plot to unravel against.
Along with this being a retelling of a Shakespeare play that is not Romeo and Juliet, a widely diverse cast of characters makes this story feel fresh and new. The diversity extends to pretty much every character in some shape or form (not including the ghosts that haunt these pages) and it is such a natural part of the story. It shows how easily certain roles can be changes while the heart of the story, and its themes remain intact.
The mark of any good retelling is putting your own stamp on the item being used for inspiration. You are not just repeating the original. There has to be something that makes your twist on it unique. Robin Talley loosely takes the themes and pivotal moments of the play and weaves them into a compelling tale of guilt, regret and wasted potential. However, a bit of the darkness of that play is lost, along with a bit of its urgency, because the author stops just short of going full Macbeth with her versions of Lady Macbeth and Macbeth. Their hands may have blood on them, but not in the same way as the original and that dilutes the themes, even if just a little. It is still a worthy retelling, and one that has its brilliant moments, it is just one that is imperfect.
Lady Mabeth's infamous 'out, damned spot' scene, I feel, was brilliantly adapted into this retelling. It is a pivotal, unforgettable moment worthy of the original. This Lady Macbeth is just as compelling, just as haunted, just as trouble, and just as ambitious and persuasive as her counterpart. She is a force of nature, and was incredibly written and crafted. She, like the original, steals the show (so to speak) and her descent into madness is breathtaking.
Macbeth's story is always tinged with regret. There is so much wasted potential. Things would have been greatly different if he and Lady Macbeth had been happy with the accomplishments, titles, and status they had. This theme also runs through this version of Macbeth. There is a sense of regret of all the potential lost, and the notion of being thankful for what you do have. Consequences for our actions and being (metaphorically or literally) haunted by the things we've done is something that is the heartbeat of Macbeth's story and it is something that translates to a modern setting easily enough under Robin Talley's talented skills. I believed the guilt Maria and Lily felt for their actions as strongly as I believed their love for one another.
Bold choices, and interesting outcomes for plenty of the characters ensure that even Macbeth faithfuls will be surprised by what takes place at Acheron Academy. Plenty of the fates are given a modernized twist that do not lose much of their impact. Robin Talley is obviously a fan of the play, and I think it shows in the care and attention she put into this adaptation.
A creepy, spine-tingling take on Macbeth with a modern twist. If you're looking for something other than yet another Romeo and Juliet retelling this is the book for you. It is a perfect book to read in October with its ghosts and haunting atmosphere.
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Whenever the baby's sleeping, I'm probably busy writing young adult fiction about queer characters, reading books, and having in-depth conversations with friends and family about things like whether Jasmine's character motivation was sufficiently established in Aladdin.
My website is at http://www.robintalley.com, and I'm on Twitter and Tumblr.
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