Descend- First Steps is the debut novel of one David Burke or else the new pen name of an existing author. In the world of writing we never know for sure. It starts off novel (teehee) and fresh, reminiscent of that initial tutorial zone from within Primeverse. Descend quickly spins off into its own realm, though. As I read it I found myself bouncing back and forth between the realization of what I felt they needed to do versus the idea of what I would actually do in such a place, lacking the information that I had as a reader.
I can honestly say that, when I finished with the book I had a hard time finding the words with which to accurately review it and give it justice. Trying to find comparatives ended up being a losing proposition because it felt quite unique and original. So, sitting here and ruminating upon all that happened and the feelings that it inspired within me, maybe the best way to assess it is to think about what it is and what it isn’t.
First, what it isn’t is your normal set of quests traipsing through the musty confines of cellars or lost cities. Nor is it easily defined as either fantasy or science fiction. It could be seen as a nuggets of fantasy with an outer wrapping of sci-fi. The characters end up in a situation that none of them asked for and yet is probably part hormone driven dream and part horror show. Which is all to say that it, like an onion, is a story with many layers.
There is the initial feeling of being stranded on an island with a bunch of hot ladies. It is almost an episode of Survivor, except that the environment seems to be coming at them with a vengeance, and you absolutely want to see them all naked. Then it becomes a bit like the X-men as each of the characters start to display psionic abilities which manifest as everything from enhanced physical traits to pyrokinesis to emotional manipulation. From there it turns a bit more X-files as you learn about just why they are here. Throughout it all the characters are learning and getting fleshed out.
Oh, and those hot ladies I mentioned earlier? They aren’t cardboard cut-outs solely there to stroke the MC’s ego. They each have their own distinct personalities and motivations.
A fair warning though – this book is not suitable for children. There is an element of harem in this book and I can honestly say that those scenes are hella hot.
In the end, many questions are answered but those last few scenes inundate you with many more, leaving you with a wry grin and an eager desire to shake the author and force him to write out the second book of the series.
In conclusion, I’m not going to give stars or numbers. I’m just going to say that this is a damn entertaining book. Some of the characters you thought you would hate, you end up loving. Others that you thought were going to be heroes end up with a ton of question marks about them. The author keeps you guessing and leaves you wanting more.
Check out Descent: First Step here