Book Review: The Descent of Monsters by Neon Yang (Tensorate #3)

The Descent of Monsters

Genre : Fantasy

Publisher : TorDotCom

Length : 176 pages

Format : Ebook

Rating : 4 stars

Publication Date : July 31st 2018 


You are reading this because I am dead.

Something terrible happened at the Rewar Teng Institute of Experimental Methods. When the Tensorate’s investigators arrived, they found a sea of blood and bones as far as the eye could see. One of the institute’s experiments got loose, and its rage left no survivors. The investigators returned to the capital with few clues and two prisoners: the terrorist leader Sanao Akeha and a companion known only as Rider.

Investigator Chuwan faces a puzzle. What really happened at the institute? What drew the Machinists there? What are her superiors trying to cover up? And why does she feel as if her strange dreams are forcing her down a narrowing path she cannot escape?


The Descent of Monsters is the third installment in Neon Yang’s Tensorate. Set after the events of The Red Threads of Fortune, this novella follows Investigator Chuwan as she tries to find out who is responsible for the series of murders that were committed at the Rewar Teng Institute of Experimental Methods.

When investigators reached the scene of the incident, they only found blood, mutilated corpses and two people: Sanao Akeha and their companion Rider, both members of the rebel group fighting against the Protectorate.

Inspector Chuwan is affected to the case but she quickly realizes that her superiors want her to put the blame on the two suspects, Akeha and Rider. After all, not only are they both enemies of the Protectorate, they were also the only people present at the Institute after the murders. Of course, Chuwan decides to investigate regardless and soon discovers that the Institute is not at all what it seems…

I am a huge fan of the Tensorate novellas. I love the world, the characters and how queer it is. I also love the fact that each novella has its own style. The Black Tides of Heaven is an epic tale that spans decades and follows the coming-of-age story of the royal twins Akeha and Mokoya. The sequel, The Red Threads of Fortune, is a quieter character study of Mokoya and how she deals with the events of the previous novella. The Descent of Monsters is again completely different, it’s a darker story verging on horror and it introduces a new character Chuwar. It also told in a new format since the story is only composed of letters, diary entries, reports and transcripts. This installment manages to expand the world even more by introducing new fascinating elements such as the Institute and the scientific research led by the Protectorate there.

I was very happy to see some of my favorite characters again, especially Akeha since they are my favorite in the series. At first, I was surprised to see that their pronouns had changed, they used to use he/his pronouns and not they/them but, the change makes a lot of sense considering they only chose a gender because they had to in The Black Tide of Heavens. I also loved learning more about Rider and their backstory (and of course it involves twins because Neon Yang loves twins!). Finally, I thought Yang did an amazing job at creating an eerie atmosphere that suited the darker tone of the story well.

At this point, I have read all of the four novellas currently out (sadly, I don’t know if there will be more in the future or not) and I have to say that The Descent of Monsters is probably my least favorite. However, it’s still a solid four star-read and I liked it a lot so… yes, this series is great (and I want more stories in this world, please!!!).

Rating: 4 out of 5.

7 thoughts on “Book Review: The Descent of Monsters by Neon Yang (Tensorate #3)

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