In, The Awakening, Apryl Baker combines mythical beings from across the world and mixes different mythologies together in order to create her cast of characters. At first glance, one might think a witch, a necromancer, a cursed gypsy, a shifter, and a Seer might be too much to pack into one book, but Baker blends them together seamlessly. The reader isn't inundated with everyone at once. I think this was key to handling so many different characters. The readers gets to enjoy the mystery of each character, seeing each one's secrets revealed at just the right time.
Alex's family is messed up, that's a given from the first few pages, but they're also hiding some deadly secrets as well. The mystery surrounding Alex's family secrets is very good, not only for the mystery itself, but also because for the timing of revealing each new bit of information. Alex's uncle shows up partway through the book, and it is clear from the beginning that he knows much more about what is happening than he is willing to tell. Baker let's the reader agonize over the knowledge that he's holding back answers long enough to drive you crazy, but not so long that it becomes irritating. The pacing of the mystery was well done. My only complaint about the mystery was that there could have been a little more lead-in to the final confrontation. I think the tension could have been increased with just a little more of a hint about who was behind the attacks.
Finally...the romance! As I mentioned in my post yesterday, the romance in The Awakening was fabulous. Definitely an emotional battlefield. Alex is so easy to relate to because she is struggling with the same things so many teen girls face in the form of rejection, starting over, family problems, heartache, and facing the unknown. Alex's trials happen to be a bit more dangerous than most, but still easy to connect with. This is especially true when it comes to Alex's feelings for Devon. Devon is impossible to figure out, but Alex knows she's meant to be with him. The fact that Devon won't let that happen sends Alex into an emotional tirade. What will really break the reader's hearts is when Devon actively tries to distance himself from Alex by dating another girl. Alex's absolute agony had me tearing up again as I read it this time. And that's really saying something because this is the fourth time I've read this book counting first drafts and revisions. This book has so much going for it, from a good mystery, fascinating characters, and a romance that will suck you in.
Would I recommend this book? Absolutely! I could turn around and read it again next week if I didn't have so many other books to review. Even after having read The Awakening several times I am still eager to read it again. I can't wait for the next book!
Who would I recommend this book to? YA readers of all types will enjoy this book. There are elements of the paranormal, fantasy, urban fantasy, and even mystery. Adult readers who are also fans of these genres will love the book as well. It definitely has crossover appeal. And of course, those readers looking for a great romance, pick up your copy today!
You can get your copy of The Awakening from Amazon Kindle, Smashwords, Barnes and Noble, iBooks, and most major ebook retailers. Check out The Awakening book trailer as well.
Baker's "The Promise" is also available from Amazon and B&N, and you can also view the book trailer here. Check out my review of "The Promise" as well.