Author: Robin Talley
Pages: 370 (Hardcover)
Release Date: September 6, 2016
Purchase: Amazon•TBD (affiliate link)
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.
I knew I shouldn’t have read As I Descended, but I couldn’t resist. I don’t like ghost stories, but I’ve been devouring all the LGBTQ+ YA that I can get my hands on. Sadly, even awesome diversity can’t make me interested in murderous ghosts. When it opens, Maria, Lily, and Brandon are attempting to communicate with the spirits using a Ouija board. It gets cold, the candles flicker, the panchette spells out ominous messages in Spanish, then the chandelier falls before the girls can say goodbye. Cue the not-so-creepy creepy happenings.
As I Descended was just not creepy or suspenseful at all. Which is saying a lot, since I am a huge baby. The Ouija board opening scene was cliche and dull which did not bode well for the rest of the book. Maria knows all about spirits and believes the one that visited is her dead grandmother. Then weird things start happening and Maria gets caught up in the power of having ghosts behind her to get what she wants. That’s really it. Nothing jumpy. Nothing that kept me at the edge of my seat. Just ghosts doing stuff and Maria freaking out about it.
I also never believed Maria’s motivation in doing anything that she did. Her girlfriend Lily convinced her to give another girl drugs so that she’d fail her drug test and get suspended or whatever. Then that would put Maria in first place for this scholarship. Well…okay, but that isn’t the only scholarship in existence right? I mean, Maria is #2 in their class. That’s nothing to scoff at. She has great grades, is on the soccer team, and her mom is a senator. She can definitely get another scholarship, so why result to drugging other students and then asking ghosts to harm others? It made no sense.
As I Descended just disappointed me, but I suppose a lot of that was my fault. I knew going into it that I didn’t like ghosts, and I’m not familiar with Macbeth so I couldn’t comment on how it does as a retelling. Really the only thing that it had going for it to me was the diversity. All of the main characters are queer, two are Hispanic, and one is disabled.