Thursday, June 12, 2014 14:26

Review 265. Lisa Ann O’Kane – Essence.

18456082Title: Essence.
Author: Lisa Ann O’Kane.
Pages: 243.
Published: June 3rd by Strange Chemistry.
Sort: Stand-alone, Dystopia.
Source: Netgalley & Publisher.
Autumn escaped a cult, but now she realizes she's fallen into another. Growing up in San Francisco’s Centrist Movement, sixteen year-old Autumn Grace has always believed emotions—adrenaline, endorphins, even happiness—drain your Essence and lead to an early death. But her younger brother’s passing and a run-in with a group of Outsiders casts her faith into question. Ryder Stone, the sexy, rebellious leader of the Outsiders, claims Essence drain is nothing more than a Centrist scare tactic -- and he can prove it. Autumn follows Ryder to his Community of adrenaline junkies and free spirits in Yosemite National Park, and they introduce her to a life of adventure, romance, sex, drugs and freedom. But as she discovers dark secrets beneath the Community’s perfect exterior, she realizes the more she risks in search of the perfect rush, the further she has to fall.
Rating:

I wasn’t sure what to expect from this book when I started, but I have good experiences with other books published by Strange Chemistry – so I decided to give it a try when I saw it on Netgalley. I only knew I wasn’t expecting such a horrible story with annoying characters and a boring plot line.


The main character Autumn rubbed me the wrong way. She grew up in a cult where everyone has to think about his Essence. This is some sort of energy level and if it’s empty, you die. Her movement believes that you have to leave a neutral life to keep your level from draining quickly. When her brother dies and she’s not allowed to grief, Autumn gets stubborn and will be sent away to be re-educated. That was the plan, until she runs away with Ryder to his community, where people live on adrenaline and other emotions. His father is trying to prove that there is no such thing as losing Essence.

She goes with Ryder very easily. I can understand that she has her questions about Neutrality, but she grew up here and I don’t think anyone will throw away the life they know that easily.. I could overlook that part, but her personality is easily swayed by others. She uses alcohol and drugs like it’s nothing (and the book gives a wrong vibe with this) and she throws herself in dangerous situations. Not only that, she is so stupid it hurts.

Javi is another new member and from the moment he sees her, he fancies her. Okay, that is fine. Autumn is aware of his attraction to her, but is secretly admiring Ryder despite his bad reputations. I bet you can see where I am going here. When Ryder is talking to a girl, Autumn gets to jealous (because that is completely normal?) that she throws herself drunk on Javi. When Ryder finds the two of them she leaves Javi alone in the woods in order to be with Ryder. Such a classy girl.

That is not the worst part. It’s the incredibly insta-love and cheesiness. Ryder is a womanizer, but ‘she had his heart from the moment he laid eyes on her’ and ‘he doesn’t want anyone else but her’ Excuse me while I barf. He then continues to lie to her and she accepts it without too much problems. She on the other hand is naive and blind for what is going on. If I wasn’t so busy wishing them both dead, I would have felt sorry for them.

The whole Essence concept is a bit vague and never truly explored. We know that it is there, but not what it does and if it’s really playing a role in dying. I guess it only played a part to have two separate groups and a reason to make everyone behave like idiots. And what I really didn’t appreciate was how Ryder’s father uses him as his whore to complete his experiment. That is all I want to say about it, because I thought it was disgusting.

Nope. This story wasn’t for me and I still wonder how I was able to finish this book..
author image

Mel@thedailyprophecy

Mel is a microbiology technician who is obsessed with Disney, fairytale retellings and fantasy. If she's not reading or blogging, she's either busy with gaming, hanging out with family or watching a TV show. She loves summer and bright nail polish. One of her dreams is to travel the world. She has found her Prince Charming and they are together for 7+ years.

28 comments:

  1. Yikes! I don't think this story is for me either. I kind of like the concept of essence and adrenaline but I guess the author didn't do such a great job with it. Love triangles suck! Unless they are done well but the for the most part they suck. Great review.
    Bethzaida @ Bookittyblog

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  2. Like you, I've had a great experience with Strange Chemistry's books. And, like you, I also saw this on NetGalley. Unlike you, however, I didn't request it because the cover was not my cup of tea. I mean, Strange Chemistry's covers are usually so eye-catching but this was just off, for some reason. Insta-love + cheesiness? Just the thought alone makes me shudder!

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    1. The cover isn't my thing either, but I liked the concept. I guess this time it was good you based your thoughts on the cover, haha.

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  3. I don't think I was ever interested in this book because the cover itself put me off (looks kinda lame, haha, but that's just me judging a book by its cover as usual), but it does have such an interesting premise! Really a disappointment that you didn't like it at all, though I doubt I would have, too.

    Ugh, stupid characters are the bane of my existence. I mean, is it even possible for people to be that stupid? I guess the author dramatizes this slightly to make things more interesting, but still, creating stupid characters are strictly a no-no in my book! They just end up frustrating me rather than making the storyline more interesting.

    And the romance -- *cringe* Sounds like one of the common NA tropes where the bad boy who is known for sleeping around suddenly takes such a huge interest in one ordinary girl. But the worst part is how obviously bad the relationship and how the book is promoting it. GOSH. Girls are not as vulnerable or trustworthy as that! Seriously, literature needs to stop portraying us in this kind of light, it's annoying. Add that with instalove and cheesiness and no. Just no.

    All in all this book sounds terrible. Even though the premise is somewhat original the other things about it put me completely off. Thanks for such an informative review, Mel, and for taking the hit for us so we don't have to, haha.

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    1. Judging worked this time, haha. I wasn't a fan of the cover either, but it was Strange Chemistry & an interesting blurb. Stupid characters need to die, haha. If you are THAT stupid, you should not be allowed to breathe :')

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  4. Ugh yhis sounds terrible. But especially this "She uses alcohol and drugs like it’s nothing (and the book gives a wrong vibe with this) and she throws herself in dangerous situations. Not only that, she is so stupid it hurts." I wouldn't be able to put up with that. At all.

    Sorry this one didn't work for you :(

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    1. It was hard to put up with it. I guess I was hoping for something exciting.. but that didn't happen.

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  5. I was wondering the same thing when I finished this book - how and WHY did I just read this entire thing? I actually liked the whole Essence idea, but I wish that had been the focus rather than the romance. Ryder almost convinced me that he was an okay guy, but then the whole scene with the MDMA killed it for me.

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    1. For me too. I didn't like his personality at all.

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  6. "This is some sort of energy level, and if it's empty, you die." Um....no. No, thanks. Hah. This one would definitely not be for me, either.

    Btw, I tried clicking on your blog earlier this week but got a "this blog is private" message! Am I crazy, or did something happen?

    Wendy @ The Midnight Garden

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    1. I think I used the wrong link! I also have a Wordpress account as back-up and that is set on private :)

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  7. The characters, plot device, the drugs and danger can all be debated, because reader's tastes differ, of course. But, personally, I found the book well-written from a technical standpoint. And the premise is so original...I'm not surprised that interest is being shown in making this into a movie. Hollywood wants originality.

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    1. That is true :) But those things didn't work for me, so I had to point that out of course.

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  8. Well, damn. I'm so sorry you didn't like this book Mel. <3 But thank you for being honest :D And you are awesome for managing to finish it, lol. I have also read a few 1 star books this year :p Which is just all kinds of depressing, hih. Anyway. This cover was kind of pretty. Sigh. Sad when the book sucks. Oh, well :D

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    1. I've read too many of those books lately :(

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  9. Ewwww, cheesiness and insta-love. No thanks. It all sounds like a wreck, which is disappointing because the synopsis seems amazing. If only, huh? Thanks for reviewing this so that I know to stay away!

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  10. Wow. This book sounds absolutely ridiculous. And instalove? No way. I hadn't even heard of it until I read your book review, and I have no desire whatsoever to read this one. This essence thing sounds really weird, and not at all like something I'd want to read about. I'm sorry you didn't like it. Great review, Mel!

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  11. Oh dear, it does sound quite cheesy and unconvincing which is a shame. Strange Chemistry seems to be hit or miss, either producing AMAZING books or ones that aren't so good!

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  12. Nope. Staying far, far away from this one. I simply cannot handle heroines who ditch the nice guys for the bad boys. I have a strong hatred towards these kinds of books, haha! Lovely review, Mel. I hope you read something better soon!

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  13. Holy crap this sounds like a nightmare! After having a handful of not-so-great experiences with Strange Chemistry books, I don't feel the same way about them as I once did.

    I am so sorry to see you didn't enjoy this more. It definitely has an intriguing synopsis (CULTS???) and it really is a pity that it didn't work out as well as it could have.

    Fantastic review, Mel! :)

    Rashika @ The Social Potato

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  14. Oh lord..this one just seemed to go wrong in all fields :( Sorry to hear you didn't enjoy this one. It doesn't seem like the type of book I'd pick up, but if I did, I'm sure my thoughts would've been very similar. Great review though!

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  15. oh ugh.. i hate insta-love and cheese.. authors should atleast figure out that 80% of YA readers aren't big fans of insta-love.. Definitely won't be picking this one up. Great review, Mel.
    - Farah @MajiBookshelf

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  16. Phew, thanks for taking one for the team on this one. The characters themselves sound awful and combine that with insta-love and it's just bad all over. I can't get behind a romance when I dislike the characters.

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  17. I knew right away that this one would not be for me. The entire premise just sounds...preposterous. But with a character that is so stupid it hurts yeah I'm amazed too that you were even able to finish - I wouldn't have that's for sure.

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    1. Still proud and confused that I finished it, haha.

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