The Descendant: A Caitlyn and Jason Beale Memoir # 1 by Ellie Hart
Publication Date: December 2013 / 165 pgs.
Genre: YA, Fantasy
An otherworldly war is raging and the descendants of Merlin must die.
Caitlyn “Cat” Beale doesn’t know it yet, but her life is in serious danger. Because Cat’s normal everyday world is about to collide with the treacherous, magical world of Fairies.
If only she’d heeded her visions…
After her family is killed in a tragic accident, Cat’s psychic abilities begin to slowly emerge. But she never would’ve guessed the truth…that a vengeful fairy wants to destroy everything she holds dear.
Now Cat must discover why she’s a target and a way to stop the killings. With the help of her friends and her enigmatic, best friend Joseph, Cat sets out to learn more about her dark heritage, which includes daring wizards, vengeful fairy queens, and horrible curses. Together they’ll enter a dark world of deception and peril…but not everyone will come out alive.
This is the first time I’ve read a novel that featured fairies as the main antagonists, and they are nothing like the sweet and saucy iconic Tinker Bell from Peter Pan. Queen Aine of Knockalne is an evil, vengeful fairy targeting Caitlyn “Cat” and Jason Beale’s family for some inexplicable reason. After a tragic accident, Cat’s psychic visions lead her to believe that her family’s deaths were intentional. Thus, she and her twin brother, Jason, enlist the help of their best friends, Anna and Joe, to investigate who is behind the death of their parents and older brother, Garry. Their search takes them into the dark and mystical world of sorcery and magic as described in Celtic folklore.
Cat is a great heroine for young adult readers. She’s smart, resilient, and resourceful. On the search for clues with a backpack filled with investigative gear, Cat’s sleuthing has a “Nancy Drewish” quality that I find appealing. Cat has grown up with a loving and supportive family and it’s clear that their influence has helped to mold her into the independent young woman she has become. Even when she’s afraid and in danger, Cat never becomes a weak and needy damsel in distress figure. Although her best friend, Joe wants to be her protector, Cat is also there to support and comfort him as well.
Cat and Joe have been close friends since childhood, but it is only after another teen boy begins to show interest in Cat that he begins to step up and reveal the depth of his feelings for her. The attraction and chemistry between them feels genuine, and I have a feeling their relationship will become an integral part of the plot in future installments.
Hart gently eases readers into the fantasy world she has created, and she offers an alternate depiction of Merlin the magician and Morgana the villain from the Arthurian legends readers may be familiar with. Although Hart doesn’t overload readers with fairy history and the curse of family bloodlines passed down from generations, at times I needed more details about Queen Aine’s backstory to help me better understand why she wants to destroy the Beale family. Several dangerous and suspenseful scenes building up to the climax grabbed my attention but they were resolved much too quickly for my satisfaction. Instead of really expanding these scenes and making readers feel they are caught up in the drama and action, I felt the author told me rather than really showed me what was happening.
As more teens in the area begin disappearing including Cat’s friends, she begins to discover just how far Queen Aine will go to rejuvenate so she can return to seek revenge.
With the aid of a mysterious black cat who keeps popping up unexpectedly and the guidance of her brother, Garry’s spirit, Cat presses forward in her quest to rescue her friends. The plot builds to a shocking climax that will turn everything you think you know about these characters and their motivations upside down. The climax and resolution follow closely together and the ending seemed a bit abrupt. The outcome of the events is so surprising, I needed the story to extend just a tad further so that all the story threads smoothly tied together.
All in all, a promising start to this new YA series.
Source: I received a complimentary ARC of this book to provide an honest review.
3.5 shining suns
Ellie Hart lives with her family at Cape Cod, Massachusetts. Her passion for writing came to life when her son was diagnosed with Autism. Her first Novel The Descendant brought part of her past to a whole new experience. She’s working on her second Novel The Call of the Siren.
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