Review: Descendants


Book #1 of the Arete Series

by Rae Else

Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars

Source: NetGalley – This in no way affects my review. I still provide an honest opinion


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 one I picked out because I really liked the sound of being Medusa’s descendant. I thought it could have some really cool tricks up its sleeve. Unfortunately, for me it just didn’t work out quite as well as I hoped.

Things I liked:

  • I enjoyed the world building. In parts, it could have been described better, but you could tell the author had a deep and thorough world built.
  • I liked El’s grandma, though I wish we would have got to know her better.
  • The idea of having powers of control over people is the basis for a really cool thought. Just wish it had been explored more.

Things I didn’t like:

  • The start is rather abrupt. It would have benefited from some introduction to the world. And as the story progressed, the more I wanted that little bit of introduction at the beginning to tie things together. There were parts of the story that she looked back on that if we would have seen in the first place, would have really made it a lot cooler.
  • When El is introduced to the world, she doesn’t ask any questions. We go through two long drives without her saying anything. Sometimes she thinks a question, but she doesn’t say it aloud.
  • I wish El was stronger. I’m good with tears, but she had a lot of tears. I wanted to see her become a kick butt character. To have her grow through the story, but there wasn’t much of that. Just a lot of crying when things went bad.
  • I didn’t like the good guys or the bad guys. No one in this story was someone I would want to side with. I like that they weren’t perfect, but it’s like they didn’t care that they weren’t perfect. They didn’t want to try and be better. One scene in particular with the “good” guys had me wondering what was wrong with them
  • The characters didn’t have much depth. There were a few twists and turns, but without real depth, it was hard to care about them.
  • The romance was almost non exsitant. What was there was an almost love triangle. I don’t know it was hard to tell because there wasn’t a lot of details which brings me to…
  • The whole book was lacking in details. We jumped from one thing to the next that there was hardly time to feel anything.

Overall, this book just need more time in the cooker I think. I doubt I will read more in the series, but I would be willing to give the author another chance once she’s gotten more books under her belt. I think she has a lot of potential with her world building and basic story idea. I would recommend this book for someone who like YA urban fantasy, and who wants a quick read without all the details explained.


6 thoughts on “Review: Descendants

  1. I’m sorry this book didn’t work for you. The main character doesn’t sound so good and when I read, “They didn’t want to try and be better.” — what is with this even? I like my characters being developed well. This sucks. Thanks for the detailed review.

    Liked by 1 person

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