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Many thanks once again to Tara Ellis for gifting me this book! I was looking forward to finding out if Alex, Chris, Seth, and the rest of the gang were able to save civilization. Book #3 of the Forgotten Origins trilogy is a dark, intense, detailed and emotional story, quite different from the first two books. Alex undergoes some heavy soul searching throughout, as she debates with herself about being strong enough to fight RA and his henchmen. The changes that the Holocene Virus has caused are beginning to upset her, and she is wondering if her friends still see her the same way. As the group of young adults prepare for war, they must ALL come to terms with the fact that things have changed, and may never be the same.

The story picks up after the Nephilim ship arrived on Earth. Alex and Seth are heading back to Senator Zane’s ranch on a motorcycle when a blinding flash of light illuminates the sky above them, and the motorcycle’s engine immediately stalls. The aliens have sent an EMP (electromagnetic pulse) to disable all the electronics, rendering everyone back to the 1800’s…..no electric, no cellphones, no cars.  The group finds out the Senator has been moved to an Air Force base in Great Falls, Montana, and must make an arduous trek there.

Chris is butting heads with Seth along the way, with the tension intensified by the fact that Alex can get into Chris’ head, just as she can “sense” the Shiners. The relationship between all three of them ebbs and flows, with lasting results. However, they must put their differences aside and unite against the Mudameere. There is violence and bloodshed, all of which wreak havoc with Alex’s psyche. As the story progresses, she is reunited with her relatives in the biodome under the sea, is transported aboard the Nephilim ship, and tries to reason with RA and the Elders. Can she do it? Will they be able to overcome an army of Shiners and discover a cure for the Nephi2 virus? As the group fights for freedom, many answers to the questions posed in the first two novels become evident.

I especially enjoyed  the development of Alex, coming into her own as a leader and a strong girl. The description of their journeys on foot and on horseback capture very well the tension and fatigue the characters were feeling, and there were plenty of “oh, NO!” moments as injuries were sustained and emotions were bared. Descent is not a sweet YA novel, but a dystopian tale, gritty and full of tension. Author Tara Ellis also raises some moral questions about stem cells and their potential, as the plot thickens. Perhaps the events in the book are not possible,in real life,  but you will certainly be forced to think about an America fighting against a virus, without modern conveniences, against an enemy that you never knew existed. Pride of heritage runs deep in this book, and so there is a moral to the story: keep family and friends close, learn to rely on yourself, and never compromise your beliefs.

Want to join Alex and her friends? Complete your trilogy here.

Also, if you haven’t already, download the Kindle reading app here.