Book Review: The Descent – Alma Katsu

The Descent coverTitle: The Descent
Author: Alma Katsu
ISBN: 9781451651829
Pages: 352
Release Date: January 7, 2014
Publisher: Gallery Books
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Source: Publisher
Rating: 4.5 out of 5


In this conclusion to The Taker trilogy, Lanore must sort out her feelings for Jonathan, Luke, and Adair once and for all, even if it means going to Adair, her mortal enemy, and asking for his help.

Snapshot Review:

Katsu’s finale to the unique The Taker trilogy is, quite simply, stunning. Katsu manages to tie up loose ends while delivering a scintillating story that surprises at every turn.

Full Review:

It’s difficult to review sequels, especially in a series such as a trilogy, when each books builds on the previous installment. It’s hard to not feel like you’re saying the same thing over and over again, merely repeating yourself because you don’t have much new to say. That’s not the case with Alma Katsu’s The Taker trilogy though. What’s so unexpected about these is how completely different they are from one another. Yes, they tell a connected story, and of course you should read them in order, but these are very different books. The Taker is a gothic novel, a historical fantasy/mystery with incredibly thick atmosphere. Its sequel, The Reckoning, is a redemption story, a novel about coming to terms with your past. And finally, The Descent? It’s a love story, plain and simple. It’s so refreshing to experience these books because they are so different, yet so connected.

The supernatural is everpresent in The Descent, as it was in previous books, but it’s very subtle. This isn’t a novel that has vampires or zombies popping up out of the woodwork for a cheap thrill. Katsu put a lot of thought into how to effectively employ this element in her novels, and it shows. The nuance in these books is incredible. Indeed, Katsu explores more of the darker side of the supernatural in this third book. While fantastical and creative, it’s also utterly believable. It’s so interesting to see where she takes it, especially in relation to the characters; it feels so right, which considering the surprising revelations, is absolutely a testament to Katsu’s skill.

At the center of the entire trilogy, and The Descent is no exception, is the character of Lanore. She’s older, wiser, and sadder in this novel; she doesn’t know what she has left anymore. It’s interesting to see how she tried to start over in The Taker, and where that has gotten her by The Descent (a heartbreaking revelation, to be sure). In the end, Lanny’s future is in her past. It always has been. Jonathan, Adair, and Lanny’s history; these things are central, but the conclusions Lanny comes to aren’t necessarily the ones she’s had previously. This character development is present in all three central characters, and it’s very well done.

I’ve written this review as a spoiler-free effort, in case you haven’t started this trilogy and are interested in doing so. This isn’t a vampire trilogy; it’s something entirely new. It’s smart, sophisticated, and utterly shocking; if you have delicate sensibilities, you may prefer not to pick up these books. But if you’re an adventurous reader and enjoy beautiful writing and characters you can’t even imagine, Katsu’s trilogy is an absolute must read.

Other books by Alma Katsu:

The Taker
The Reckoning

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  1. I really need to read this trilogy in 2014. I have the first two books, but just haven’t got around to it. Glad to hear it is a solid trilogy.

  2. I couldn’t agree more with everything you’ve said about this fantastic series and its conclusion. I loved what Katsu did with this book and how she resolved the story for these characters. They will stay with me for a long time.

  3. Okay, you guys are going to make me cry 🙂 In a good way. Thank you so much for your support. Where would I be without you guys? best, Alma

  4. I have to start this trilogy!

  5. Kristine K says:

    Alma, I absolutely love this series! I have read all 3 books plus the small in between books, not once, twice but three times!!!! Best series! I hope you write more similar to this. Thank you:)… Kristine K in Rochester, NY

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