9 September 2016

As I Descended - Tour & Review

As I Descended
by Robin Talley

What they say: Amnesty Honour winner Robin Talley is back with a Shakespeare-inspired story of revenge and redemption, where fair is foul, and foul is fair.

Maria Lyon and Lily Boiten are their school’s ultimate power couple―but one thing stands between them and their perfect future: campus superstar Delilah Dufrey. Golden child Delilah is a legend at exclusive Acheron Academy, and the presumptive winner of the distinguished Cawdor Kingsley Prize. But Delilah doesn’t know that Lily and Maria are willing to do anything―absolutely anything―to unseat Delilah for the scholarship. After all, it would lock in Maria’s attendance at Stanford―and assure her and Lily four more years in a shared dorm room.
Together, Maria and Lily harness 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’s imagined, the girls must attempt to put a stop to the chilling series of events they’ve accidentally set in motion.

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I received a copy from the publisher (via NetGalley) in exchange for an honest review!

What I say: As I Descended (love the title) is a reimagined YA LGBT version of Macbeth. Instead of Scottish castles we get a female Macbeth, Maria, and her girlfriend Lady Macbeth aka Lily as they try to win the ultimate prize at their American boarding school.

I'm going to keep this as spoiler free as possible. Maria desperately wants to win the 'Prize' but only Delilah stands in her way. The story is dark for a YA retelling, like really dark, but this helps keep the Macbeth feel to the story. 

Robin Talley does a wonderful job tackling the competitive spirit of the girls and their classmates, but more importantly she really goes for it in terms of diversity. Diversity is something we don't always see enough of in YA stories. Not only do we see an honest look at a teenage lesbian relationship, Talley provides a close analysis of sexism, racism, homophobia and classicism.

Maria and Lily start off looking for a way to enhance Maria's chances of winning but end up in the realms of "that escalated quickly!" But baring in mind this is a retelling of Macbeth I wasn't exactly expecting the story to end well for everyone. I'll leave you to discover exactly what happens in this clever, spooky reimagining. I did question the motivation for events at times but it works in a Pretty Little Liars or Gossip Girl kinda way and serves as a warning against the pitfalls of jealousy and an overly completion environment for teens. 

4 Stars in my Sky!

Author Spotlight:

Robin Talley grew up in Roanoke, Virginia, writing terrible teen poetry and riding a desegregation bus to the school across town. Robin lives in Washington, D.C., with her fiancĂ©e, plus an antisocial cat and a goofy hound dog. When Robin’s not writing, she’s often planning communication strategies at organizations fighting for equal rights and social justice. You can find her on the web here or on Twitter.



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