December Book Review

descent-full-size

Used with permission from SGD Singh

Descent: The Infernal Guard Book 2

By SGD Singh

Summary Grade 9 and up: The Infernal Guard: Descent rejoins our heroes eight months after the events of Emergence. Asha and her fellow trainees gather at Central Headquarters, located in North America’s western desert, to celebrate their graduation and receive their postings as full-fledged Infernal Guard members. But the time for celebrations are cut short when Asha confirms her long-held suspicion: The Prophecy, which foretold the birth of a Seer with the power to bring lasting peace to our realm, never meant her. She is not The One The Guard have been waiting for so many years. While hunting Underworlders in Las Vegas, Asha and her team come across a homeless civilian named Jax. Asha immediately realizes the mysterious girl is critical to their survival, and insists Jax accompany them despite her team’s protests and the civilian’s terror. Now, as the forces of darkness unite to capture their foretold Savior, Asha must lead a rescue team of her beloved friends into the Underworld on the mission of their lives. Because if they fail, hope dies with them. (via Amazon.com)

Pros

Strong Start: The first few chapters of this book are different than I anticipated, because rather than begin with the characters and conflict we were familiar with from the first book, we are thrust into a completely new setting, with a cast we’ve never met. Ordinarily, I would say this start would not be ideal for the continuation of a series, but i think it works well here because we are immediately drawn into the action. Though I was left wondering where Asha and the gang were at first, it was easy to root for the new heroine, with her no nonsense  attitude, snark, and street smarts. She was a real highlight of this book for me.

Lots of Action:  There was never a shortage of goings-on. While the first novel focused on the characters and development of each member of the guard as they trained, Descent chooses to focus on life after graduation, which, understandably, gets a lot more hectic as they cross realms.

Smaller Cast: I’m not sure if this is actually true, but this book seemed to have a smaller cast of characters to keep track of, which was a large plus for me. Mind you, I still got confused because the cast went from 20 something, to about 12 something. Still, it was a nice change.

Cons

Character Development: Like Emergence, Singh has taught me yet another valuable lesson about myself through reading this book. While I enjoy plot driven novels, I prefer the focus to be split equally between exciting twists and softer moments between characters. This book is heavy on the plot side of things, thus the tone was  slightly more serious than the first book because the main cast was integrated further into situations with higher stakes. This in turn though, made the shift to scenes designed for character or relationship development sickout a little too much. Dialogue and scenes that could have been heartfelt if placed in a slightly less intense situation instead came off as forced or out of place to me.

I understand what the author was trying to do here, adding humor and bits of romance so that the readers and the characters would not be overwhelmed by angst.  It’s a good strategy, but would have had more emotional impact on me as a reader if some scenes were reorganized so there were slower and more even build ups to the emotional moments.

Subplots: The beginning gave us a really intriguing introduction to the new characters, but as the story went on and the cast separated to complete their missions, the points that made me excited to see where the story was going faded into the background. The plots that took center stage were still interesting enough to keep me reading, but I wanted more from the new heroine.

Overall Rating:  ⅗ stars. Recommended for fans of Emergence or Action/Adventure books with a mythological backdrop.

Recommendation of the Month: Hidden Magic: An Ancient Magic Novel by Stephany Wallace

Summary: How would you feel if you discovered magic was real, and the kind of powers that until now you’ve only read about are actually part of this world?

 

Cynwrig “Cyn” Bressall is a Celtic warrior with the unique ability to harness and wield Druid magic in a way never before seen. Making him the only Druid Warrior to ever exist. After surviving a horrible night that began the extinction of his race, Cyn has spent the last two thousand years searching for the only man that can lead the Order of the Druids and mend the scars marring his soul. Instead, his quest leads him to a woman whose essence is unlike anything he’s ever felt.

Orphaned as a baby and raised by her loving but over protective grandfather, twenty-three year old Briana “Bri” Anwell has led an isolated life. Friendless and stuck in a job with no prospect, the self proclaimed flower child finds solace in her only friends. Books. And imagines an adventurous life in a magical world where anything is possible.

So when a sexy stranger suddenly appears in her world as though he stepped out of her favorite story, she dismisses him as a figment of her imagination. But soon she realizes he’s so much more than he seems.
He signifies everything she’s fantasized about, but is there a place for her in his extraordinary world? (via Amazon)

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