by Rae Else3 out of 5
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.
Descendants is the first book in the Young Adult, Urban Fantasy trilogy: The Arete Series.
El has always lived in seclusion, knowing that she was different and dangerous to the people around her. After nearly killing a boy, she is about to find out exactly what her heritage involves.
I received a free copy in exchange for an honest review.
This story follows El, a descendant of those from Greek mythology. The Arete can trace their lines back to Perseus and the gorgons. They have spent the millennia living in secret alongside humans. Their inborn powers have allowed them to amass countless riches, and set themselves above and beyond the people.
Within the Arete, there is a ruling council, with the superior serpent families exerting control over the rest.
I really enjoyed the creative world built from familiar mythology. The powers of the Arete are imaginative, which each being able to control one of the elements.
Young Arete's have to battle it out to prove themselves worthy of joining the Council, and competition is fierce. Those that fight don't hold back.
El is new to this world, for seventeen years, her grandmother has kept her isolated from the rest of the Arete's. She gets dragged into a blur of conflict by her estranged mother, suddenly finding herself caught between the dodgy council, and the equally dodgy rebels.
I found the story swung from completely engaging, to confusing. We follow the naive El, as she trusts everyone too quickly, whilst questioning who to believe. Her uncertainty echoes in the narrative, and I was never really sure who the bad guys were, or what was happening in the plot.
One moment, she has to escape everything to do with the council and their battles; then she is training for it. Do the council know that El is going to turn up to fight? Are they still hunting for her whilst she trains with Dan?
The narrative, which perfectly describes the use of magic, and manipulation of elements; but didn't always make sense, nor transition smoothly between scenes. One minute El is training, because her grandmother's life depends on it; then she's on a 'date' with Dan; then she's at the arena, ready to battle. I had to go back and check what I'd missed.
El is a nice character, and I did like her, but she allows herself to be pulled along by other people's plans. When she gets to the arena, she does fight very well, proving herself adept and capable of standing up for herself; but the rest of the time, she's the puppet that brings the council and rebels into place.
I really liked where the story went in the end, that after setting El up to possess the ultimate power, it takes a different route.
Overall, I enjoyed the author's debut, and I look forward to reading more of Else's work.