There are lots of stories about the children of gods. But what about those cursed by the gods, and their descendants…

El, a seventeen-year-old has inherited an ancient and deadly power. She loses control of it, causing a horrific accident, and becomes the prey of a secret organisation, knows as the Order.

Forced from her family and home, she hides in plain sight amidst the crowds of London, and is thrust into a world she never knew existed; one full of arete: beings with extraordinary powers like hers. 

Arete are beings that can trace their lineage and powers from ancient Greece. They do not claim their inheritance comes from the gods, rather legend says they are descended from cursed beings, such as Medusa. 

At the heart of their world is the kerykeion, the symbol that protects them from the humans and the humans from them. El is trapped between two factions, one that has built an empire around the kerykeion and another that is determined to bring it down.

As she is drawn deeper into the conflict, the only way to find the truth is to take matters into her own hands, and the line between friend and foe becomes dangerously blurred. 

Descendants is the first book in the Young Adult, Urban Fantasy trilogy: The Arete Series.

I felt compelled to check this out because my kids are huge fans of Rick Riordan’s books and I was curious to see what a more ‘grown up’ version of the Greek mythology would read like.

 Similar to Riordan, Else has set her mythos in a modern world that is incredibly detailed and her vivid writing will engage your senses in her version of what can happen if the Greek gods came to life. An excellent story line provides a thoroughly immersive experience through exposition to teach the reader more about this world and its characters but not so heavy you get dragged down in the details. The author throws in enough suspenseful action scenes to keep your attention which adds the much needed counter balance so you’ll enjoy the first book enough to continue deeper into the series.

 This fast paced and thrilling tale is easy to recommend as the idea of inheriting powers from people who were cursed is intriguing. We have a strong and powerful female character who will sweep you into her story as she fights for control over her unique gifts. She has dealt with a lifetime of knowing she’s not like everyone else and now after being kept isolated in some ways from the world at large she’s dropped into the deep end to learn how to survive. Through El we are able to see how the author is able to flex her talent in character deconstruction by providing complex psychosocial development embedded against the backdrop of this interesting page turner that you will want to read all the way through to the end.

 You can’t help but feel empathy with El’s struggles from being hit face first with incredibly shocking new information, having to process it on the fly and adapt to a world so different from the one she thought she knew. The other characters surrounding her added to the story with their own plot twists so you should quickly learn to take nothing at face value particularly as Else continued her thought-provoking view of human psychology by allowing the varied abilities to shape each characters personality.

 I only found a few negatives. I felt that even with what the author wrote there was still some room to expound upon the characters motivations and provide a deeper connection to them. I wanted the book to be at least as twice as long so it could have easily accommodated the extra details. I felt it needed a bit more tightening on the editing as there were times it seemed to duplicate itself by giving the reader information such as what the character may be thinking then having the character immediately say it. Getting rid of either the dialogue or the narrative would have made it more palpable. There were a few plot inconsistencies as well with character actions.

 I still felt the positives outweighed the negatives and because it’s so short you could easily read it during commercials and get it finished during a couple of prime time episodes. I’m very curious to see where the series is going to go from here especially if the author expands her future books into something bigger and more thorough.

 Thank you to Netgalley and Rae Else for allowing me to review this book.

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