Review: As I Descended by Robin Talley



“First, though, she had to go back out there and smile at everyone. Fake her way through the rest of the night and another three days. Pretend to still be normal.

When she was pretty sure she never had been.”

You guys know how much I enjoy a good retelling. This is a Macbeth retelling, featuring a private school, a lot of blood, a really creepy amount of ghosts, and drugs. Honestly, I had no idea what I was getting myself into when I picked this one up. Don’t read it before bed, because it will really freak you out. It is truly a very good ghost story.

My Rating: B+

Goodreads Synopsis: “Something wicked this way comes.”

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.

My Thoughts: Originally, I had no idea this was a retelling. Looking back it was pretty obvious, but all the same I thought it was a good take on a modern Macbeth. The setting is a creepy private school that used to be a plantation. All of the kids are very well-off, but each have their struggles. The private school setting normally doesn’t appeal to me, but it works very well in this case because it is a super creepy campus. it really just adds to the affect of the novel for me. And this private school behaves much like I am assuming that most do. Though I have never been to a private boarding school, I imagine that the drugs and alcohol part is all pretty realistic.

What I Liked: Diversity was great in this one. The characters really came from everywhere, all walks of life and the main power couple is two girls. I was really happy with that. As a retelling of Macbeth, this book makes much more sense. Looking back, I can’t help but match up all the character to see who is who. I won’t spoil that for you, but it is very obvious. The ghost story part of this novel is pretty scary. Normally with these novels its a battle between to little scary and too much to the point where it is over the top, As I Descended hit the good middle zone on that front.

What I Disliked: As it is in most horror novels involving teenagers, the adults in this one seemed so painfully oblivious as to what was going on. Gee, a few of our students have been an accidents on our groups, which are rumored to be extremely haunted. Maybe we should do something about it? Nope, not one adult steps in to intervene. While I do think it is a well-written horror. The writing style just didn’t spark with me. I thought it was good, but I wasn’t completely captivated by it.

Would I recommend it? Yes, particularly around Halloween. Don’t read this one before bed.

Is this book on your to-read list? Are you a Shakespeare fan? What is the creepiest book you’ve read?



2 thoughts on “Review: As I Descended by Robin Talley

  1. I think it’s clever to do a Shakespeare Macbeth retelling with two girls as the couple instead of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth. Very interesting premise. I am not into spooky books or thrillers so I’ll skip this one, but I have to give props to the concept! I know plenty of ppl who want to read this one.


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