Reviewed by: Krista
Rating (out of 5): 4.5 stars
Note: While this review will be spoiler free, it does reference events from past books in the series. If you haven’t started yet, check VBC’s reviews for the previous books in the trilogy, The Taker and The Reckoning.
With The Descent comes the conclusion to the dark and twisted journey Alma Katsu tempted us down through The Taker trilogy. One of the aspects I surprisingly enjoyed about this series was how different each of the incarnations was. The trademark of the first two books, and carried on with The Descent, is that they read like decadently dark fairy tales. All are thought provoking, heart wrenching, and bewildering.
The Descent more than lived up to my expectation. It kicked it to the curb, to be long forgotten before I even finished the first few pages. Throw away everything that you thought you knew about this series. I don’t believe there is a reader who could have foreseen the culmination of this trilogy.
At the end of The Reckoning, Adair frees Lanore in hopes that she will one day return to him. Years later she returns, but only to get his help in freeing Jonathan from what she believes to be eternal torment. What Adair isn’t aware of is the fact that Lanore was already returning to his side, this only shortened the time it would have taken.
Before I read The Descent I was unsure if it was even possible for Lanore and Adair to reconcile. With Adair’s heinous history revealed in The Reckoning and his present actions, could he really ever earn Lanny’s heart? Not that Lanore is perfect; she is a probably as tragically flawed as Adair. But after closing The Descent for the final time I have to give kudos to Katsu for the journey I never saw coming.
Whereas in prior novels the characters spent a lot of time in reflection, this is a book of forward movement. The pacing was amazing; there is never a lull or moment when you could possibly drag yourself from the pages. I adored seeing Lanny attempting to reconcile who and what she wants against whom and what she believes she should want. The dichotomy of who she was and who she thought she was remains captivating. That being said any scene with Adair and Lanny in the same room were intense. Even when they were doing nothing more than reading but holy smokes the bedroom scenes, even though brief, are sublime. But it is the quiet affectionate moments that are so emotionally taut.
The entire time I was reading the first book I fell deeper and deeper in love with Adair, even though he was technically the villain. I couldn’t help but fall under his sensuous spell. That being said I wouldn’t say that he has become the hero or even the anti-hero. He is still selfish, vain, and uncaring for anyone other than himself or maybe Lanny. All the changes he has made in his life are an attempt to get to a point where Lanny may be able to accept him. I love the idea that for every person, there is that one person, thing or idea that they would give up anything for.
I loved The Descent and adored this series. It’s the kind of series you pass along to your friends whenever they are looking for something deeper. I could never have predicted the ending to this bewitching fairy tale, which is a testament to the author’s talent.
Sexual content: Graphic sex, references to rape