Kirkus Reviews QR Code
THIS DARK DESCENT by Kalyn Josephson

THIS DARK DESCENT

by Kalyn Josephson

Pub Date: Sept. 26th, 2023
ISBN: 9781250812360
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press

In the complicated political fantasy landscape of Enderlain, Mikira Rusel and Arielle Kadar are strong young women forced into dire circumstances.

Ari uses banned Kinnish magic, based on the Jewish myth of the golem, to feed herself. Mikira is from a family who breeds magical horses. Early in the story, Ari is assaulted and robbed, while Mikira’s father, who is deeply in debt and using illegal enchantment to enhance his horses, is arrested. Using the girls’ desperation to their own advantage, Damien Adair and Rezek Kelbra, the sons of two warring noble houses, each devise plots to gain power to control the city. Damien enlists Ari and Mikira in a devious plan to win the Illinir, a series of dangerous horse races held once every decade: Mikira will be the jockey, and Ari will create a golem disguised as a horse. While this dual narrative told in the girls’ alternating points of view is original and engaging, the multiple storylines and numerous characters lead to plot holes that may confuse readers. The languid pace of most of the story leads up to an ending that comes too quickly and leaves many open storylines and unanswered questions. While it’s obvious that a sequel is in the works, the perplexing nature of this book might leave some readers feeling unfulfilled. The main characters have olive or light skin.

An elaborate yet convoluted high fantasy that references Jewish folklore.

(map, family trees) (Fantasy. 14-18)