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Reviewed by Michelle Randall for Readers' Favorite
Dùsgadh is such an odd word to title a story, but then when you subtitle it Essence of Life, maybe it makes more sense. Ember has never felt like she fitted in. She loved her family, but they were taken from her in middle school and she was left with only her older sister. She has trouble making friends and, even worse, she sees ghosts. She is just fumbling along in life until one night when a party and a seance in the park bring up something more than Ember or anyone else was expecting. Margaret A. Daly sets this fantasy supernatural/paranormal story around a group of late teens, throwing in past lives and reincarnation along with some evil magic, power hungry kings and rebel forces bent on resistance. How it all comes together is the beginning of a series and this story is the start, the Awakening, or the memories of the past returning to Ember, allowing her to continue on her mission.
Dùsgadh: Essence of Life, The Awakening is a wonderful first book in a series. In fact I really thought it was a complete book until the very end when I realized there was still more to be told. By using the concept of awakening, Ember recovers her memories of the past and her past lives in this book, and her sister is there to explain things to her as well as her two guardians. Although author Margaret A. Daly uses this book to set the background and introduce you to characters and the whole concept of the story, it still has plenty of action, adventure and death to keep you on the edge of your seat as you are reading. There are even some people barely mentioned in this book that I have a sneaking feeling are going to show up in later books, only because I just can't see the author making a deal out of them in this book without them showing up again somewhere. This is a great read, and I am happy to say middle schoolers, teens, young adults and up would enjoy this story!