Review of Awaken by Michelle Bryan

Awakened is set in a world in the not too distant future, an apocalyptic event has caused the desolation of the cities and sources of power, although we are not told what the event was the existence of “muties” leads you to believe it wasn’t a natural disaster.  People survive in small homestead style villages, small shacks in a barren land known as the Sandlands.  This is where we meet Tara, our protagonist.  She has a touch of Katniss about her, she is far from a girlie girl, hunting and providing, we meet her on her Born Day which starts out like any ordinary day, however, an event turns her world upside down forcing her to leave her home searching for missing friends with only a cryptic message about a destination to guide her.  Tara is told that she is special but she isn’t told how, but her journey will be sure to give her answers.  The journey takes her to places – many that take her from her path and despite setting out alone there are those met along the way who both help and hinder her in her quest.  Nothing however, could prepare her for the knowledge of just how special she truly is.

For me there was so much to love about this book, the ideas and the story were utterly page turning.  I loved the throwbacks to settler relics, the things you or I would take for granted today and the Tyrion esq of Tater, the dwarf who she meets on her journey.  The story flows well but the chapters are very very long, so there is no chance of reading a quick chapter if you have 10 minutes to yourself!  I loved the interplay between the characters and despite the long chapters the story was always relevant and punchy, the dialogue thoughtful.   However (and there is sadly a but) I have to say i struggled with Tara’s accent, I have no issue with characters having an accent, if you’re told you can voice it how you like, but the way Tara has been written, you are forced to read in her voice.  As a Brit, reading Cain’t instead of Can’t (and similarly) was very jarring and really made it difficult to read at times and as Tara is the main character this happened often. At the start I really felt it would break the book for me, but as more and more characters are introduced the jarring became less frequent and I was really able to get absorbed into this wonderful yet harsh world.

This gets a 4 out of 5 stars from me.

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