If you have the time and patience, it pays to browse through the infinite sea of smut that is the new adult genre, because you just might find something as good as Melissa Wright’s Descendants Trilogy. It is imperative you do not judge the Descendants by its covers, two of which feature a couple straight out of the next CW network pilot, but instead, skip straight to the blurb. The Descendants is a paranormal thriller that sits comfortably between the young adult and new adult genre and I fell head over heels in love with it at first chapter.
Aern is descended from a long line of supernatural beings with the power of compulsion or sway. His brother, Morgan, by way a prophecy has gotten it into his head that he can be the ruler of world if he gets hold of Brianna, the chosen one. So of course Aern in an attempt to stop his brother and save the world in the process, hides Brianna. Aern then meets Emily, Brianna’s twin, in less than pleasant circumstances. Emily just wants to find her missing sister and initially believes Aern has kidnapped Brianna. Their unlikely team-up forms the crux of the first installment of the series, Bound by Prophecy. The 2nd book, Shifting Fate, follows Brianna journey as the chosen one as she teams up with Aern and Emily to thwart Morgan’s ongoing attempts at world domination. The third book, Reign of Shadows explores Brianna and Emily’s origins and their link with Aern’s world.
Firstly, Aern and Emily. Aern narrates Bound by Prophecy in first-person and Wright manages to convincingly write from a male point of view. To me, he came off as an understated version of Dean Winchester and Harry Dresden and shortly after I decided that, Jensen Ackles became the voice of the narrative. We only see Emily through Aern’s eyes. On the outset she is a strong warrior, wise beyond her years. However, quickly we see that she harbors the anxieties expected of a young and confused girl in her situation searching for her twin sister in a world she barely understands. I appreciated that while Aern was the one with superpowers and forethought, Emily was the physically stronger one. They had a weirdly sweet dynamic that I eventually came to adore. It was refreshingly subtle and far from the melodramatic relationships usually featured in this genre. Secondly, the length of the individual novels, I read a book a day to finish this trilogy and if I did not need to earn a living all three books could have easily been devoured in a day. Finally, the price for the books on Amazon Kindle is next to nothing. The audible counterparts are similarly priced and the whisper-sync feature makes for a great way to keep on reading while attending to the more mundane tasks of laundry and dish washing.
While I appreciated that Wright did not over do the supernatural lore or world building, her tendency to offer snippets or unfinished pieces of information about the prophecy and the characters’ roles in it was frustrating at times. It felt like I had missed a chapter, or prologue or a whole prequel! I did get a larger and fuller picture of world in the final book but a little more detail would not have been a miss. That being said, the lack of information did provide an incentive to keep reading so maybe Wright had me exactly where she wanted me. There is minimal dialogue, more so in the second and final books. As someone who likes a lot of dialogue in her novels, I found the second two books a tad bit tiresome. I missed Aern and Emily greatly in Shifting Fate and Reign of Shadows even though they are both present in the later books and Aern’s POV returns in third book. Brianna just was not as enigmatic as Emily. Further, Logan, the other male lead, barely appealed to me and Emily and Logan’s relationship was no where near as interesting as Aern and Emily’s.
The audiobook narrators leave much to be desired, especially Kirby Heybourne as Aern in Bound by Prophecy. His voice has the tone and depth of a digital answering machine to an offshore call centre with an emotional range of a teaspoon. Emily Rankin as Brianna in Shifting Fate was infinitely better than Heybourne while Katherine Hvam was strictly okay for the final book.
In conclusion, The Descendants was a quick and fun read. It plunges into the action from the first page of the first book and does not stop until the end of the last page of the final book. It can be annoying if you like to know every single thing about the world the characters in it, but other than that it makes for an enjoyable ride. Give it a go and let us know what you think.