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As I Descended by Robin Talley - Review

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Where did I get it? From Netgalley, thank you so much to Harlequin UK Children's. This is out on September 6th. I'm three for three on Robin's books now, she is definitely one of my current favourite authors. 

What's it about? This is a modern retelling of Macbeth set in a private boarding school in Virginia. Maria and Lily are a couple in their last year of school. They want to go to Standford University together, but Maria needs to win the prestigious Kingsley Prize in order for that to happen. The thing standing in her way is Queen Bee Delilah, who gets high at the weekend. So Maria decides to sabotage her by drugging her the day before a drug test. 
The novel begins with Maria, Lily, and Maria's best friend Brandon using a ouija board. The spirits start to talk to Maria and the whole thing is incredibly creepy and atmospheric. There's loads of rumours about horrible things that have happened at the school and about the spirits that surround the place. Brandon begins to become
suspicious about Maria's involvement in what happened to Delilah and confides in his boyfriend Mateo. 
The novel changes perspective quite often which I liked because it meant the reader got lots of information that the others didn't know. I liked Maria, even though she's the "baddie" of the novel; she's Macbeth. I really liked Mateo, who's perspective we only get towards the end. A really tense, atmospheric, and cleverly done novel. 
What age range is it for? 15+.
Are any main characters LGBTQ+? Yes. I'll trigger warning for some homophobia, but mainly the queer characters are treated very well.
Are any main characters people of colour? Maria and Mateo are both Hispanic; it's mentioned a lot and is used as part of the narrative. I liked it. 
Are any main characters disabled either mentally or physically? Yes, Lily is disabled from an accident when she was younger and again it's mentioned a lot and is definitely part of her story. 
Is there any sex stuff? No, just some kissing and sharing of beds. 
Are drugs mentioned or used? Yes, we see Delilah use oxycontin and then see her high when Maria drugs her. 
Is there any talk of death? Yes, it's sort of a central tenet. Some of it is quite gory. 
Are there swear words? Not many 
Would I recommend the book? Yes, totally. Robin has such a way with words and where her previous novels have been very realistic, this proves that she can move into the world of fantasy quite easily. I loved the setting and the main characters. 
How many stars? Eight out of ten, it's really good. 

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