The Descent of Monsters

August 22, 2018 at 6:00 pm (Reads) (, , )

decentThe Descent of Monsters by JY Yang


My first thought on starting this book (you know, after “Yay! Another book by Yang!”) was “UGH, another epistolary story!” It’s not that I feel the structure is overdone, and it’s not even like I’ve read so many of them lately that I’m sick of them; no, I just have issues with the technique overall. I think it’s because my own memory is terrible, and I have to believe that someone can remember conversations so well that they can jot them down, verbatim, long after they’ve taken place. Unless the author is trying to present an unreliable narrator, I have a hard time accepting it.

Yang takes it a step further by having one of their characters jot things down in a journal as things are happening. At one point, the narrator is writing things down in the back of a cart on the way to a confrontation, and even comments on how bumpy the ride is and how horrible the writing must be. They even have the character stop in the middle of a sentence. It felt unnatural and forced, which took me right out of the story.

The thing is, the rest of the story flowed so well that I didn’t even pay much attention to the epistolary structure. Yang alternates between sources, so we get two different perspectives on one event, and it helps keep the tension high and the story moving. It reminded me of the best pieces of the first two novellas in the series. Unlike the first two books, which supposedly can be read in either order, Descent should be read after those two, since it builds off of events presented in the earlier books.

Folks who read the first two books should definitely read this one, but if they did, then they probably already have. For anyone else, if you’re interested in Eastern fantasy stories with genderfluid characters, you should make your way back to the first book and get reading.

Started: August 11, 2018
Finished: August 11, 2018

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