Book Review: The Descent

descentSigh. This is the review that I wish I didn’t have to write. After falling head over heels in love with both The Taker and The Reckoning by Alma Katsu, I had been waiting on pins and needles for over a year to find out what would happen to Lanny, Adair, and Jonathan in the final book of the trilogy. Unfortunately, The Descent left me disappointed and deflated.

Now to be fair, it’s rare for me to ever be completely satisfied in the final book of any series that I love, but the entire direction and feel of The Descent was so different from the first two books, that it just didn’t seem like it belonged at all. Although there were hints given in The Reckoning that the final book would somehow deal with the underworld, the shift of the book from the human world to that of the gods just felt a little too farfetched to me. I know I’m probably being ridiculous (after all the first two books were about dark magic giving people immortality, so why not throw in some gods as well?), but it just didn’t match the direction that I personally saw the story arch going.

I also found myself conflicted over the ending. Considering how dark and gothic the first two novels in the series were, I found myself surprised by how happily things work out in the end for most of the characters. A happy ending after everything that happened to Adair, Lanny, and Jonathan? As much as I love a happy ending to most of my books, it didn’t seem to completely fit this dark-hearted tale.

Putting the plot aside, however, the thing that disappointed me the most about The Descent was it’s depiction of Adair. Oh Adair! How I loved to hate him! He was one of the most complex and interesting characters I had ever read! Despite being a cruel and murderous villain, I couldn’t help but like him a bit! In The Descent, however, Adair’s character was flat and uninteresting. Torn apart by his love for Lanny, Adair has promised that he would change for her and become a better man. While I admire his dedication to Lanny, I found it impossible to believe that this dark and merciless villain would have a complete personality change in only four short years.

What happened to the Adair who would snap at the slightest provocation? Or the Adair who struck complete terror in the hearts of his followers? Instead, the Adair in The Descent is like a lovesick puppy. I kept waiting for him to snap, or to see a glimpse of the old Adair I had come to know, but besides one instance of rage (in an understandable situation) the villainous Adair fails to make an appearance, and I found myself missing him.

Despite my crushing disappointment in The Descent, my love for the first two books has not diminished in any way. I’ll still continue to recommend this series to my friends and family, and cherish the Adair that I came to love in The Taker and The Reckoning. I’ll just have to imagine my own ending to the story in order to satisfy my picky self!

Rating: 2.5 Stars

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5 thoughts on “Book Review: The Descent

  1. Great review Natalie!! Even thought you only gave it 2.5 stars it still has me wanting to read the first two books like you’ve suggested! I can see where you’re coming from though. When the first two seem to be going in a certain direction and then the third is right out of left field it leaves you feeling a little lost and empty in a sense; maybe even disappointed more so cause you were so excited in the first place.

    I definitely understand where you’re coming from in regards to a character body swap! Adair sounds like a character you’d love to hate because of his evilness but then doing a complete 180 and changing into something he isn’t really (at least compared to the first two books) would have me REELING in disappointment!

    Nevertheless fabulous review! Handled with things you liked and things you didn’t; incredibly helpful when it comes to reading a complete series in my opinion! Now I know I may be disappointed when it comes to the ending (:

  2. You worded this perfectly! I was so disappointed with the end :(. I’ll still keep recommending it just like you mentioned, but I’ll tell people to maybe just leave out the last one. I think Adair was the worst part. I loved his evil side! His struggle with who he was and who he wanted to be. Gah.. he was the best villain! And then.. what the heck!?
    You were much more eloquent than that little rant, but I felt the same!

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