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As I Descended

3.49  ·  Rating details ·  3,058 ratings  ·  723 reviews
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
Kindle Edition, 384 pages
Published September 6th 2016 by HarperTeen
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Robin They're actually a couple. :) And that's awesome, your readers are so lucky! In case you're on the lookout for other titles to consider, a few of my f…moreThey're actually a couple. :) And that's awesome, your readers are so lucky! In case you're on the lookout for other titles to consider, a few of my favorites are THE MISEDUCATION OF CAMERON POST by Emily Danforth, THE FIVE STAGES OF ANDREW BRAWLEY by Shaun David Hutchinson, LIZARD RADIO by Pat Schmatz, IF YOU COULD BE MINE by Sara Farizan, FAR FROM YOU by Tess Sharpe, and WHEN THE MOON WAS OURS by Anna-Marie McLemore. (less)
Jessica Yes, it is! It's meant to be a modern-day retelling.
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Average rating 3.49  · 
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Lesbian Macbeth?


UPDATE 8/28/16
So, apparently The Strand fucked up and I now have a copy of this book early. So here's my pre-publication opinion, which I smugly give because I never get to do this:

Short answer: If you like the tagline of this book, you will like this book. The tone was incredibly spooky, it had a great setting, the diversity was inclusive and refreshing, it definitely told the story in a new way.

Long answer: If you are a snobbish, nit-picky nerd like me, you will take some issu
This was so great! It was equal parts creepy and fun. I loved all the representation in it. Hispanic characters, f/f romance, m/m romance, disabled character. Also the inclusion of hispanic folklore was a pleasant surprise. The story of La Llorona is one I was told as a child, so it was cool to see that present in this book.

Highly recommend if you love Macbeth, or even if you haven't read it.
Elle (ellexamines)
There was nothing out there. Nothing up in the sky or below the dirt or walking beside them on the ground. There were just people. Good people, like her and Maria. Assholes, like the truck driver who'd slammed into the minivan and screwed up Lily's legs. And random people, like the other kids at Acheron, who she guessed were somewhere in between.

Well, I had a few problems, but guys: sapphic girl Macbeth. And really, really creepy. Definitely worth reading.

The primary strength of As I Descen
I have always enjoyed a good Shakespeare retelling, so imagine my excitement when I learned this was Macbeth.

First off, I was about 20% into the book and immediately knew I would love it and that I needed to slow down. It's so amazingly creepy that it left me feeling itchy when I was done with whatever section I was in. That creepy feeling never went away.

The cast of characters is small and large, if that even makes sense. The events of the book effects several people and how things start to unr
Trina (Between Chapters)
3.5 stars.

This started off so wonderfully that at only a few chapters in I was thinking this could possibly be one of my favorite books of the year. I loved the characters and the eeriness and how it got right into things. However, as the book went on it started to feel less focused. It was a very accurate MacBeth retelling, but by the end I felt like the characters were just puppets going through the motions. I lost any connection with them. Additionally, the plot with the spirits felt weak. I
Maja (The Nocturnal Library)
For someone who doesn’t enjoy retellings at all, it’s odd that I keep finding Shakespeare-inspired books that thrill me and make me rethink my position. After Cat Winters’ The Steep and Thorny Way, As I Descended shows us that classics are classics for a reason and that things like ambition and jealousy are inherently human, and therefore always interesting and relevant.

Like Macbeth, As I Descended is divided into five acts, each inspired by its counterpart. Bloody knives and burning candles are
Sarah Elizabeth
(Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to HarperCollins and Edelweiss.)

“The Kingsley Prize was half the reason Maria’s parents had sent her to Acheron instead of one of the day schools near their house in McLean.”

This was a YA paranormal story featuring ghosts.

The characters in this were okay, but I didn't really care what happened to them much. Maria was a bit spacey, whilst Lily came across as slightly homicidal, and the way she j
Korrina  (OwlCrate)
Really spooky book that had me up late reading. I loved the writing, the characters and the setting. Also the diversity! Highly recommend this for a book to read around Halloween.
charlotte, (½ of readsrainbow)
Galley provided by publisher

Rep: disabled lesbian mc, Latina bi mc, Latino gay side character, gay side character

I have mixed feelings about this book. On the one hand, it's actually a good book, and well-written, and I liked most of the characters. On the other hand, I might describe it as an exercise in how not to write an LGBT Shakespeare adaptation (if I'm being particularly harsh).

It took me a while to get properly into this book. I read the first chapter, then had the sudden (late) revelat
Dannii Elle
I received this book in exchange for an honest review from NetGalley. Thank you to the author, Robin Talley, and the publisher, HarperTeen, for this opportunity.

This is a tale than amalgamates time, genre and emotion into a cacophony of commotion! The contemporary setting, the YA genre tag and the synopsis concerning teen rivalries belied the horror and terror that ensued from the very first chapter. The unification of horror and contemporary has been unsuccessful in past experiences, but here t
Sep 20, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
it was spooky and i got goosebumps from time to time. i think the book had great diversity -- LGBT+ rep, a person living with a disability/chronic pain, a hispanic character and they weren't stereotypes or tokenized. they were written in an authentic way. unfortunately, i just didn't love the ending. it had a FANTASTIC beginning, intriguing middle, and then it was just done. i'm not sure what i wanted out of the ending but i was slightly disappointed. overall though, i enjoyed my reading experie ...more
“Man is not, by nature, deserving of all that he wants. When we think that we are automatically entitled to something, that is when we start walking all over others to get it.”

----Criss Jami

Robin Talley, an American author, has penned an enthralling and chilling young adult fantasy book, As I Descended that is based on Shakespeare's popular play, Macbeth and revolves around two teenage girls fighting for a prestigious scholarship in their posh private boarding school and to get their hands on
Nov 16, 2014 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
If you are not excited by this premise, you're probably living your life wrong.
This...was way more horror based than I anticipated. I mean, it's a retelling of Macbeth. It was never going to be the most lighthearted book on the planet. But I wasn't expecting the ghost side of things to be quite as prominent as it was. Don't get me wrong, it's not a bad thing - just an expected thing!


This book was creepy. But it was also incredibly compelling and wonderfully diverse. I sped through it because I was dying to know what was going to happen next. The four narrators - M
Sep 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Checkout my full review on my blog!! http://omgbooksandmorebooks.blogspot....

As I Descended is a Macbeth retelling featuring a diverse array of characters and a F/F relationship. Finally!!!! The lack of F/F relationships in YA honestly bugs the hell out of me. But Robin Talley wonderfully created Lily and Maria who will do anything for each other and continue their happiness after Acheron Academy, even calling a dark spirit that causes madness and death.

I loved the writing, a dark and gripping s
Jan 15, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2018

“’Tis time, ’tis time.
Round about the talking board,
Candles burn, the charm’s own chord.
Open, locks, whoever knocks.
We, the living, offer you the Vox.”

First book of the year picked up with my new random system, and let’s be honest I’m LOVING picking up books that I already own at random, it might turn into a surprise or a disappointment.
This is definitely a surprise!
I jumped into it without knowing much, and I even thought it was a contemporary… ups.
Even the short synopsis on the back
Oct 31, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Wow this is a totally unpopular opinion here. I initially went into this book with the idea that I would give it three stars but as I continued to read it it just slowly dropped to a one star. This book was getting a lot of hype during Diversathon mid September because of its diverse characters. I mean the story is a lesbian retelling of Macbeth which piqued my interest immediately. Unfortunately it just didn't hold my interest all the way through.

Let's start with the characters. Maria is the m
Whitley Birks
I DNF-ed this book about 2/3rds through, mostly because I had a huge problem with Lily.

Not with the core idea of her character, mind you. In fact, she was AWESOME at the idea level and I wanted to love her. As a still-closeted lesbian with a disability that limited her mobility, she resented people who overlooked her very real achievements and was willing to take somewhat extreme measures, in part because she was used to a harsh outlook of 'gotta look after me and my own because fuck the world s
The Candid Cover (Olivia & Lori)
Full Review on The Candid Cover

This book totally blew my mind. Since it is based off of Macbeth, I really should have seen everything coming, but Robin Talley still managed to surprise me. There is so much diversity in As I Descended, as well, and a main character who is in between a hero and a villain. This is definitely a must-read!

As I Descended is a Macbeth retelling, which I don't believe I've read before. Typically, when Shakespeare retellings are written, the story is based on Romeo and J
Quick review for a prolonged read (I had to recheck this book from the library several times because it kept getting holds placed on it, but I finally found a stretch to read it the whole way through). This is my second narrative experience from Robin Talley. "As I Descended" is touted as a retelling/reimaging of Macbeth, centered on two girls (Maria and Lily) at an elite school who enact upon a dastardly scheme to take a scholarship opportunity from a popular queen bee (Delilah), but their plan ...more
DNF at around 56%

Okay so I was super excited about this. A modern retelling of Macbeth? With a super diverse cast? Awesome!

Unfortunately, this book was so BORING. I was not interested in anything that happened. There were a few things here or there that picked the story up slightly, but for the most part I was just thoroughly bored by what was happening.

I couldn't connect with any of the characters. I hated the main couple, which was so disappointing because how often do you get to read about a
Bill Kupersmith
This book took me ages to read; needed an audible to carry me over the finish line. It’s also taken months to get round to writing a review & I’d probably not have bothered except a reader gave me a like on my nonexistent review so I felt guilty there was no review to accompany it. So here it is. To summarize: a Shakespearean pastiche as school story & a better pastiche than story.

Adaptations of Shakespeare are so in vogue these days, & generally they don’t appeal. Reworking an old plot, even Sh
Sep 05, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult
"What are you reading?"

"As I Descended."

"That tells me nothing."

"Lesbian boarding school Macbeth."

"That tells me everything."

It kind of does. If you like the sound of "lesbian boarding school Macbeth," you will like this; I did, and did.

Maria and Lily, roommates at Acheron, are also girlfriends. They keep their relationship a secret known only to a few, because Lily's parents are highly conservative, and she can't stand the thought of them pulling her out of school and separating her from Maria.
Danika at The Lesbrary
This was a 3.5 star read for me. It promised to be a lesbian boarding school Macbeth, and although it's not a direct retelling, it definitely brought that brooding atmosphere and theme of revenge, as well as enough nods to the story to fulfill the premise.

I enjoyed the broody beginning of the story, and how it starts off at a run (the first page has the characters contacting spirits with a ouija board). As the book continues, it gets darker, veering into horror territory. That I wasn't totally
This was as perfectly super-creepy and chilling and gay and Macbeth-y as I wanted it to be <3<3<3 ...more
Caidyn (he/him/his)
This review can also be found on my blog!

CW: ableism, drug use, drugging someone, outing, and death

Macbeth is my favorite of Shakespeare’s tragedies. While it’s not my absolute favorite play, I love how he wove the story and made it so entrancing even today. I’ve had this book on my radar for a while, but I never took the leap to try it until I saw it get recommended by Mackenzi Lee on her Instagram story.

It was great! Not perfect, but I thought it was very creative. Instead of medieval Scotland
Rebecca McNutt
As I Descended captures the day-to-day happenings of school perfectly, from the rivalry to the fight for popularity and belonging. It's a great fantasy retelling and really a book worth reading.
E.K. Johnston
Apr 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
AS I DESCENDED is a re-imagining of MACBETH, starring two queer girls in the Macbeth and Lady Macbeth roles. It is set at a southern boarding school, and, man, it is SUPER dark.

One of the hallmarks of Talley's works so far (I've not read her second book, but the two I have read have been consistent), is that she does not flinch when it comes to addressing the darker aspects of American history. In LIES WE TELL OURSELVES, desegregation was a lot of the plot, but in DESCENDED, Talley continues to
Oct 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Queer retelling of Macbeth with a f/f ship, a m/m ship, a disable character and Hispanic folklore?
yes please!!!

I read Macbeth a couple of months ago so I could fully appreciate the parallelisms between the original and this book.
It's obvious that Talley did a lot of research, and I particularly like how she incorporated ghosts instead of witches and the tale of La Llorona.
Also, the spanish was grammatically correct. HOW RARE IS THIS? GRACIAS ROBIN TALLEY! Al fin alguien que hace bien las cosas!

rin ( ̄ヘ ̄)	 read/watch mo dao zu shi
Well, it was pretty creepy sometimes, but overall just weird and mediocre. meh
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I live in Washington, D.C., with my wife, our baby daughter, an antisocial cat and a goofy hound dog. Whenever the baby's sleeping, I'm probably busy writing young adult fiction about queer characters, reading books, and having in-depth conversations with friends and family about things like whether Jasmine's character motivation was sufficiently established in Aladdin.

My website is at http://www.

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“Lily had lived with the same pain for so long it felt like a part of her. The worst days, though, were when the pain was different. When it came faster, or harsher, or fiercer than she was used to. When it prickled instead of throbbed. When it attacked her right ankle instead of her left knee. When it woke her up at night instead of aching dully first thing in the morning. On those days, her standard-issue pain was replaced by something different and frightening, something that took over her body and left her without the slightest clue of when, or even if, it would release her.

Those times, her pain wasn’t a part of her anymore. Those times, she was a part of it.”
“Between the atheism and the lesbian thing, Lily was a terrible Catholic. Even before she'd added murder to her list of sins.” 8 likes
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