ARC Review: The Descent of the Drowned by Ana Lal Din

About the Book:

Title: The Descent of the Drowned

Author: Ana Lal Din

Series: The Descent of the Drowned #1

Page Length: 360

Publication Date: March 15, 2021

Publisher: White Tigress Press

Synopsis: She is bound to serve. He is meant to kill. Survival is their prison. Choice is their weapon.

As the sacred slave of a goddess, Roma is of a lower caste that serves patrons to sustain the balance between gods and men. What she wants is her freedom, but deserters are hunted and hanged, and Roma only knows how to survive in her village where women are vessels without a voice. When her younger brother is condemned to the same wretched fate as hers, Roma must choose between silence and rebellion.

Leviathan is the bastard son of an immortal tyrant. Raised in a military city where everyone knows of his blood relation to the persecuted clans, Leviathan is considered casteless. Lowest of the low. Graduating as one of the deadliest soldiers, he executes in his father’s name, displaying his worth. When he faces judgement from his mother’s people—the clans—Leviathan must confront his demons and forge his own path, if he ever hopes to reclaim his soul.

But in the struggle to protect the people they love and rebuild their identities, Roma’s and Leviathan’s destinies interlock as the tyrant hunts an ancient treasure that will doom humankind should it come into his possession—a living treasure to which Roma and Leviathan are the ultimate key.

Set in a colonised Indo-Persian world and inspired by pre-Islamic Arabian mythology, The Descent of the Drowned is a tale about power, identity, and redemption, and what it takes to hold on to one’s humanity in the face of devastation.

LINKS:     Goodreads    |      Amazon   

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My Review:

The Descent of the Drowned includes great imagery, immersive world building, and dynamically developed characters. Rich imagery and well-constructed descriptions reveal a cruel society based in a colonized Indo-Persian world. The author uses great imagery, especially early in the story to create a vivid and immersive world.

Like the world, the characters are well-layered. Roma’s story is tragic, but she is a survivor. I love that Roma doesn’t blindly accept the demands and expectations of society and instead questions the world she lives in and the inequities (and harsh treatment) she experiences. She is a brave person in a ruthless world who holds onto her goodness and sense of right and wrong. Levi, though of a higher caste, goes through his own trauma and struggles. It’s interesting to see how each character deals with the difficulties and dangers forced on them throughout the story. Both Roman and Levi have experienced the harsh and unforgiving cruelties of their society, yet their lives are totally different.

When your sins push you up to your knees, you crawl toward redemption, Levi. You don’t surrender.

As much as I appreciate the skilled world building and character development, I was not prepared for the graphic and horrifying events that occur in the story. Disturbing elements of the book include rape, self-harm, starvation, sex trafficking, abuse, kidnapping, and more. The story is brutal and raw and horrific, at times. What Roma went through is truly horrifying and heart-breaking, and it was tough to read. This is definitely a book that offers strong messages about important and relevant issues, but it should come with some major trigger warnings.

I enjoyed the author’s writing, though I did feel like the pacing was a bit off. The start of the story is slow and offers a lot of information at once. There are parts that feel a bit like an info dump, and I found myself rereading certain scenes for further understanding and clarification. At almost halfway through, the story really picks up and becomes a much more immersive read, but I wish the entire book had that feel. Overall, this was an okay story for me but a bit too dark for my tastes. Thanks so much to NetGalley and the author for a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review.


Favorite Parts:

  • The world-building.
  • The character development.

Favorite Lines:

Conviction is a powerful being, laboda. It builds and destroys in equal measure.

Safety is an illusion…and the nature of an illusion is to deceive.

Why should they remain in a prison when there was the possibility of freedom? Choice meant to write one’s own fate.


Be sure to read the trigger warnings before you begin this book!!

11 thoughts on “ARC Review: The Descent of the Drowned by Ana Lal Din

  1. Great review! I also didn’t realize how dark this book would be either.

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