I received a free ARC through NetGalley, and my review is honest and with only my opinions and thoughts.
Descendants is a story of Urban Fantasy, about the descendants of Mythic Figures. However, unlike every other story, they are not of the heroes. They are of the cursed, the hated, the maligned.
The story follows El, a 17 year old, with an ancient power as she overcomes obstacles, and has to deal with the shadowy Order, while meeting other aretes (those who are descendants of the cursed figures) and dealing with the problems before her.
I truly wanted to enjoy this novel, with its fresh idea and interesting take on history and powerful individuals descended from myths, but I just couldn’t like it that much once we got into the love triangle and everything that came after was a bit predictable. But, I did force myself to finish it.
I will leave the spoilers of the story below a Read More, to allow for spoilers to be chosen, and for triggering topics to be kept safe.
So, this novel begins with main character El accidentally causing a man to damage a priceless artefact and then jump off a balcony, all while thinking about her power going amuck, so I was very intrigued from the first pages.
Then, we get her worrying about ever seeing her friend, fear that her grandmother will keep her locked away, which is overridden by the woman from the Order showing up, and we get the tidbit that makes me think that she is Medusa get (edit: We learn in the following few chapters that she is actually Perseus’s get after he is either cursed with Medusa’s power or takes it for his own).
We learn that there are names for serpents (arete like El and her mother and grandmother) who control each element, with fire being drakon, hydra for water, typhon for air, and landon for earth. We also learn that most arete, other than arachnids, control one element and that it isn’t predicted by parental element, as far as we have seen.
As we progress and see evidence of the Order and the Rebellion, we never see either side being shown as the obvious “Good Side” as both are very murdery for many of the same reasons.
I am reading this novel, and keep wondering one thing: “WHY THE EVERLOVING HECK DO WE HAVE TO DEAL WITH UNNECESSARY HETEROSEXUAL ROMANCE?” Like, El is trying to find a place in this new world, and yet her life and issues keep getting side-tracked by Luke and then Dan and then both of them, like El doesn’t need to fall in love with these boys while trying to not die. But, I am a hypocrite because if she was showing interest in girls, I would be fully behind that.
The Olympia, which we hear about periodically, is a giant kerykion, which explains why no one can find it without being vetted and given blood ahead of time. But, that seems both brilliant and horribly ill-advised, as it has the side-effect of causing those not incorporated into it to go insane if they ever get out.
The novel suffers from “Chosen One Syndrome”, due to how there is a prophecy (even a false one) about El being the next to have “The Full Power”, how everyone is instantly intrigued by her, and how she wins nearly every fight she is put into in the Olympia after a single week of training, while everyone else trains for months.