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Gifted and Charming

By Hejin57, author of Music Masters

Nov 24, 2018: The YA genre, I feel, has always been a bit oversaturated and full of the same tropes. Good-looking, cool protagonists who are either prodigies or chosen ones with little definable effort. Villains who are either never able to go the distance with their villainy or simply fall into either black or white categories, and even magic systems that either get too complicated or not complicated enough.

But this particular story, Impulsive: Descendants of the Gifted, is a good example of handing often-seen tropes in a charming, accessible and very readable way.

Getting the bad off my chest first, let me start off by saying the story doesn’t have the greatest start. It’s a bit generic, somewhat melodramatic, and the anime-inspired vibes are everywhere.

That being said, there’s enough charm in the writing that once you get past the first few paragraphs, you find yourself wanting to know at least a little bit more about the characters. Then as you finish and move on, a little bit more, and then a little bit more, and so on. That, I think, is the first mark of a good story.

To summarise without spoilers, the story revolves around five teenagers named Sam, Zac, Dylan, Eddy and Rebecca. They lead mostly average school lives, until one day the inadvertantly reveal to each other that they each possess control over one of the five elements; fire, wind, earth, lightning and water. What follows is the revelation that these five children are among a chosen few, destined to save the world of Krymenos from great evil. Mentored by the time-altering wizard Xene, they’re transported to this new fantasy world in effort to stave off the coming disaster.

As far as adventure stories go, especially where magic is involved, I wouldn’t necessairly say Impulsive does anything particularly different or crazy unique.

Not that’s not bad per say. The story isn’t trying to reinvent the wheel, and I think that’s part of its strengths. It presents a good story with aspects you might have seen before, but just because it’s familiar doesn’t take away from its merits. There’s definitely a great sense of camaraderie and fun within the main group, with lots of love-hate vibes abound between characters like Zac and Samantha. You find yourself thinking "ugh" and then realize it’s actually entertaining.

I had some minor gripes with Zac in particular at first, since he has some character traits some may find disagreeable where writing is concerned. He fits into his own mold as time goes on, however, and ends up becoming a lot more likable because of it. As for the rest of the main five, everyone has clearly definable traits, but effort is put in to keep them fresh. Everyone will have their preference of course, but the characters are most importantly relatable enough that I imagine each person will find at least one they can invest with.

What I especially appreciate is the author’s attention to combat detail; you never feel like they bulldoze past their opposition, in fact, they’re often struggling against it. It’s a breath of fresh air considering the genre and type of story.

So onto my final verdict: is this is a story worth checking out?

Honestly, I think so. It is a very young-adult-type tale with its anime influences, but I think this story is one of those rare examples that works. It embraces this tone and the writing. Later on in this story, locales and characters become really fleshed out as the story embraces its fantasy roots.

Ultimately it’s up to the reader to judge, but I would say this is probably one of the most accessible, easy to read, and just plain fun stories I’ve checked out in recent memory. Not perfect by any means, but it’s something a lot of people can enjoy, and while that may turn off some, at least I know for sure that the author hit the mark they were going for.

Final score: 4/5

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