As the synopsis tells us, Essenced is the story of the fight between good & evil…. Centuries ago there was an epic battle in which many supernaturals banded together to force demons into a portal and a different realm, it was the only way to defeat them… however, the last demon ripped a tear in the portal and the evil would forever leak into the earth, getting bigger & bigger over time until the demons would escape and cause havoc again. The supernaturals with magic realised that they must act now rather than later so they stored their magical essences, latent in certain bloodlines until the time came and the rift was due to be breeched. Then the magic would be reawakened….
AJ is a normal 16 yr old girl going about her business until strange things start happening to her, she gets good at sports, launches her friend across a corridor with the slightest touch… things are getting weird, even moreso when a hot guy turns up in the parking lot telling her she’s ‘special’…. Yeah right! Stalker alert!! But then things start to happen, not just to AJ but those around her and she is forced to face facts, something big is going on and the hot guy seems to be the only one with answers, so she leaves with him to stop her loved ones from becoming victims….but this is only the beginning, does she want to be some magical chosen warrior? Does she want to put her life on the line? And why does this guy-Julius-infuriate her so much?
I enjoyed Essenced and thought it was a good introduction to ‘The Division Chronicles’. I liked the premise of the book – who doesn’t love good versus evil plots?- and I thought the idea was quite original in the use of a portal in which demons were held and how the other supernaturals involved in that battle gave their lives to protect & store the magical essence of each species & I liked how it lay latent in certain bloodlines until the time came for it to be reawakened. I liked all of the characters ( and there are a few) and enjoyed getting to know them and what species their magic made them into, there are a few quirks to having a certain essence and that was fun too giving them habits & such which added to the feel of the character. I really liked AJ & Julius’s love/hate relationship, I like when people bicker and fight against their feelings or even simply not recognise them for what they are, it definitely made them stand out from the crowd and pull you into their relationship. A lot of the book is about the discovery of their magic, each have been forced to leave their lives behind and train, basically giving up their cushy home lives for bootcamp and they are all in for a shock because the regime is brutal. As I said, I enjoyed learning about all of the supernatural species, their power, their quirks etc but it was definitely bogged down by the training element and the true action only really came at the end which is a shame because that bit was awesome. Don’t get me wrong, I knew it needed to be in the book but it slowed the pacing down for me but I suppose it was a plus in another respect because that is when we truly got to meet the other characters in depth and start to see relationships forming and all of them bonding. I especially liked when they all had ‘party night’, it was fun and showed how their lives should be if it wasn’t weighed down by the burden of responsibility, it’s easy to forget that these are just 16-18 year olds with the fate of the world on their shoulders. For a first book, it was good, it was a lot of ‘getting to know you’, learning the story behind the predicament and training for the inevitable, it shows potential & I would read a sequel to see what happens next because now all of the training & such is out of the way, I’ll be curious to see where it all goes now.