Jeffrey Levin’s Descendant is a YA sci-fi story, set in the 24th century and centred around Michael Eisenstein, the youngest member of a family employed and cosseted by the US government for generations due to their ability to develop bigger, better, and more lethal toys.

Structurally, the story appears to follow Michael’s train of thought, with a tight, first-person focus, and a conversational style of prose. While the ambling, random track the story takes is an effective representation of the average person’s stream of consciousness and idiosyncratic observational skills, I found that as a reader it made the story a little incoherent in some areas. Because of those personal asides and sometimes abrupt switches from minute detail to broad description, staying absorbed in the book was a challenge for me. Major plot items also enter and exit the story’s stage with a seeming lack of announcement, with important figures introduced three-quarters of the way in and key antagonists removed from the field with very little fanfare or input from our hero.

I felt that the book had a number of strong points in its basic plot, and the underlying idea promises an interesting story, but it needed a little more work on breaking out the story elements, refining the track of the plot and the pacing,, and eliminating some of the unnecessary pieces to allow those strengths to be recognised.

Reviewed for Knockin’ Books.

Descendant cover

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