Review: As I Descended by Robin Talley

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May 22, 2017 by Zoë

Maria wants to be awarded the Cawdor Kingsley Prize, but Delilah is standing in her way. In As I Descended by Robin Talley, Maria and Lily conspire to bring Delilah down. Unfortunately, their plans spiral out of control and soon they find themselves dealing with spirits and madness.

The Good
I was initially very suspect when I heard about the concept of this book, but honestly, it worked. There were diverse characters in terms of sexuality, race, and ability, and they all played into the book without it feeling forced.

The overall plot arc of Macbeth also worked well. The story was recognizable without feeling like a direct copy. The integration of ghosts and the characters’ backstories was very smooth. Basically, this is exactly what I want out of a retelling: new, interesting ideas bout the original story while still being based on the original

The Bad
I didn’t feel very connected to any of the characters. I didn’t really sympathize with anyone; all the characters were pretty petty and did pretty deplorable things. This isn’t necessarily a problem–I enjoyed the book greatly despite not liking any of the characters–but I think I was supposed to feel some sympathy and I really didn’t.

The Verdict
This was a well-done retelling of Macbeth with an eye for representing diversity and lots of creepy atmosphere. I enjoyed it!

“The spirits had helped her with Delilah. They’d helped her with Brandon. Now they were giving her this dagger so she could help herself.”

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