Review: Descendants by Rae Else || Plus Interview!

Title: Descendants
Author: Rae Else
Series: The Arete series, book 1
Genre: Fantasy, Romance, [Young-Adult]
Heat Rating: Cool
Page Count and Format: 226 pages, Ebook
Expected Publication: April 12th 2017 by Rae Else
Source: I received an eARC of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.
My Rating:

Blurb (from Goodreads):

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, known 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.


This book was interesting, there were definitely ups and downs but overall, I enjoyed it.

El can always manipulate people when she focuses too much on anybody. That’s why her grandmother didn’t let her out much but when one incident goes horribly wrong, her long lost mother resurfaces to take her with her. She is bewildered to learn the truth about herself and how she has to hide from the people known as the order but when someone from the other side says the opposite thing, she doesn’t know which one to believe. When things get out of control, it’s up to El to decide is she wants to fight back or run.

The plot was pretty unique and interesting. El has the power to control people with her one look but she tries her best not to use her power at all but one incident changes everything. I liked El from the very start, she reacted just as any person would when she learns about the truth of her heritage and I have to say, the backstory was one of the most interesting things I’ve ever read, descendants of Medusa? I was hooked. It has so much potential, I so hope we get to know more about it in the next book.

I enjoyed how the plot was executed but the first half of the book was way more engaging than the second half and I wanted more, more info about everything which made the world-building a bit lacking. El was genuinely confused whether to believe her mother who suddenly appeared in her life for the first time ever or the guy she befriended, Luke who said he knew the Order were the good guys as his father was one of them and he aspired to belong to that too. And then there was Dan, I liked both the guys but I am still not sure which ship I want to board yet and I sense a love-triangle building up. I was so right about the Order and I wish everything was explained a bit more but I do hope we get see a bit more of everything in book 2.

Overall, Descendants was a good read. The plot was executed neatly and I liked the characters but I had difficulty in connecting with them. I enjoyed the writing, it was smooth and easy to read and it was fast-paced.

Recommend it?

Yes.

I also had the opportunity to interview the author, I hope you guys enjoy it!


Interview:

Hey there! I’m so glad to have you on my little blog today!

Thanks so much for having me. Sooo – here it goes!

1. Describe your book in 140 characters.

It’s a Young Adult, Urban Fantasy about the descendants of beings cursed by ancient gods. Set in the modern world and narrated by El, our 17-year-old heroine.

2. What is the thing that you love the most about El, the lead protagonist of this book?

I love that she’s naive – she wears her heart on her sleeve and is a very vulnerable character throughout the story. She’s been kept from the outside world, away from most other people and she has very little awareness of other people’s motives.

3. How do you develop your plot and characters?

I’d say I get a vivid picture of character and setting. I then might ask what if questions. What if that happened? I let the idea character, setting percolate) and then start sketching out plot. At the early stages of sketching out a plan I’ve found it useful to interview/talk to characters. Write down how they would say something, what language they would use (or wouldn’t), creating character bios full of info that won’t go into the novel but is useful as the author to get to know them – their strengths, weaknesses, fears and hopes. After that comes the sketching out of the plot as I know the kind of things they would and wouldn’t do to remain authentic to themselves.

4. Give us an interesting fact about this book.

The panels that El is talking about in the opening scene and getting weirded out about were inspired by the Hawstead Panels at Christchurch Mansion which is in Ipswich. I spent a lovely evening there with my sister going on a historical/ghost story visit and this little inspiration of the panels that have strange little pictures and mottos (in Latin) about sight and concealment are real. And they found their way into El’s story.

5. What was the hardest thing to write in Descendants?

I’d say the plot twists – keeping information from El and the reader but saying enough so that the story flows well. (As this is my debut novel I’m still working on improving this area and have had some excellent, constructive feedback from a few advance readers and reviewers. I know that it will really help me make the final version that comes out this month the best it can be.)

6. If you could spend your time with any one of the characters from Descendants, who would you choose and why?

No offence to El and Dan, who I love dearly (lol) but I would have to choose Janos, the graeae. Because of his powers to look into the past and future. I’d love to have long chats with him late into the night over wine (not that I don’t anyway!) But I’d talk to him about all the things he’s seen over the course of his long lifetime, (300 years).

7. How do you overcome writer’s block?

Sometimes it’s a question of powering through – writing something down and being routine about the time you sit down and write or forcing yourself to write a set number of words or get to the end of a chapter, etc. Other times I might need a bit of change of scene so go work in a cafe or if I need some inspiration – take some time to go write in the London British Museum (my favourite museum) or perhaps the National Portrait Gallery or Natural History Museum. Sometimes writing outside in the park is really refreshing and the fresh air unlocks something.

8. What is your advice for aspiring writers?

Firstly to write. Then to redraft and then write…and redraft…and continue that cycle. To persevere in other words. I think that the path for each writer is different but that it’s important that whichever one they believe is right – to stick to it. Whether it’s self-publishing, publishing with indie presses or seeking an agent and publishing traditionally – it’s important they choose what’s right for them. And mostly to never lose sight of why they’re writing in the first place – for the characters, for the story they feel they must tell. If you keep that in mind and at the heart of your writing, you’ll keep writing. (And, of course, it’s a lovely bonus when wonderful readers and reviewers connect and see the thing that you love in your characters and story) 🙂

It was great having you on my blog today! Thank you so much and I wish you much success in the future.

Thanks so much, Poulami – was so lovely to chat to you and look forward to connecting with you in the blogosphere soon.


So guys, what are your thoughts on this book? Are you interested in reading it?

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