The Descent Series books 1-3 By S.M. Reine Reviews

Demon slaying is a dangerous business...

Title: Death’s Hand

Death's Hand Cover

Author: S M Reine

Star rating: 3.5/5

So what’s it about?

Elise Kavanagh is a Kopis, a demon slaying warrior against the forces of hell. But Elise is not just any kopis, despite her age she is known as the greatest of the Kopides and her name is whispered fearfully amongst both angels and demons alike. Where Elise is the sword, James Faulkner is her shield, and aspis; A high priest and seriously dangerous man of magical mystery.  In a desperate fight with the creatures of hell, the pair engage in a series of battles to save the world from the merciless demon goddess known as Death’s Hand.

Love it or hate it?

I liked this book. It was fast paced and filled to the brim with action. There is barely room for Elise to breathe between ass-kickings: whether her own or otherwise. The characters are well developed and the storyline intriguing. Reine deliberately slips backwards and forwards chronologically, in order to teasingly reveal events to us. The result is that the reader is kept on their toes right up until the end and even then we find a few mysteries are still awaiting resolution in the next installment of the series.

So why didn’t I rate it higher you might be asking? Well two things really; firstly I found some of the main plot predictable – I figured out the big bad and the main minion sooner than I think I was supposed to and secondly I found the chronological shifts a little difficult to follow and found myself flicking back to chapter headings to be sure of the dates given. More than once I caught myself asking “what the hell?” when I’d landed bumpily in the past without more warning… a reader’s foible? – Sure, but it affected my personal enjoyment nonetheless.

On the plus side – I now have the hang of it and am really looking forward to the next installment which is lined up on my kindle for later!

Read this if…

  • You like lots of action.
  • You don’t mind a bit of blood and gore.
  • You like translating Latin for a hobby (okay, I’m joking, there isn’t that much really)!
  • You like a good bit of mystery and intrigue.


Favourite quote:

TWO DEMONS WERE discussing the end of the world over crispy fish tacos. They sat in a shady corner of the patio to conceal their strange faces, and spoke Latin to prevent humans from overhearing.

Reine, SM (2012-12-31). Death's Hand, Red Iris Books. Kindle Edition.


Reviewer: Hagnut (16/05/2013)

More fast paced fun with Elise and James.

Title: The darkest gate (The Descent Series Book 2)Darkest gate

Author: S M Reine.

Star rating: 4/5

So what’s it about?

This is the second book in The Descent series and follows the story of Elise and James; fighters in the war between Heaven and Hell.

The story picks up after the showdown in the previous book ‘Death’s Hand’ and continues revealing the past and present struggles that Elise and James have experienced. Elise’s desperate actions to save James, have alerted all kinds of trouble of their presence in Reno. Now, an old enemy has come back to reap his revenge upon the Kopis and Aspis that left him for dead…

In a bid to keep those she loves safe Elise signs herself over to the Night Hag. Branded as a servant of darkness and under constant attack Elise has her hands full…


Love it or hate it?

I enjoyed this even more than the first book in the series. Having gotten the hang of the time-leaps in the last book I found this much easier to get into and actually started to really like the characters: especially Elise. In the first book I found her a little too distant to connect with but following her in this book I really felt that the audience was able to get inside her head.

The storyline in this second book is just as faced paced and action packed as the first but it also is somehow deeper. You feel Elise’s struggle and fear for her…Especially when she comes so close to HIM.

The introduction of a few new faces also helped…I couldn’t help falling for the fearsome and inexplicable Thom. I absolutely want to see more of him… he is more than he seems…

Favourite quote:

… “I need to see a—an obstetrician.”

He almost choked. “Are you pregnant?” “No. Mr. Black said girl kopides are unusual, and I was thinking…” Elise was so stiff that she might have acquired spontaneous rigor mortis. “I’ve never had a…” She stuttered. Stopped. Tried again. “I’ve never had a period.” A knot inside of him relaxed.

“Ah. In that case, you want a—uh, a gynecologist, not an obstetrician….

Reine, SM (2012-12-31). The Descent Series, Books 1-3: Death's Hand, The Darkest Gate

Reviewer: Hagnut

Death and disaster in the desert...

Title: Dark Union (The Descent Series Book 3)Dark union

Author: S M Reine.

Star rating: 4.5/5

So what’s it about?

This is the third book in The Descent series and follows the story of Elise and James; fighters in the war between Heaven and Hell.

So far they have tangled with a variety of demons, angels, giant spiders, the night hag, witches, God, and James’ very pissed of girlfriend… So when Elise is called to help out at The Summit on behalf of an old kopides friend, you kind of wonder how much trouble she could get into… The correct answer is A LOT.

Right from the get go Elise is thrown into the thick of it. With Anthony at her side and James halfway across the country Elise really has her hands full once again…

Love it or hate it?

Ooh Yeah…really falling for the series now. Elise’s character is totally engaging. Her struggles to cope with her feelings for Anthony and the loss of her friend, along with the transformed and fractured relationship she now has with James really gives Elise a new edge as a protagonist – only it has also affected her edge as a Kopis. She is softening and in her line of work that can’t be a good sign.

Another great read and if you aren’t scrambling for the next in the series then I will be very surprised. Oh and the best news… SM Reine has just completed the series so there is no excuse not to read them all… Yay.

Favourite quote:

“This sound system is totally sick!” her son enthused.

“We installed it for use in a mass exorcism,” Elise told him, leaning her elbows on the door. Anthony groaned. It was the truth, but nobody would ever believe her.

Reine, SM (2012-12-31). The Descent Series, Dark Union

Reviewer: Hagnut

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