It has been a long time from my last review, but here is one again now :)
Author: Edward Lazellari
Series: Guardians of Aandor #1
Release date: 25th of September 2012
Reading level: FICTION – ADULT: Fantasy, Contemporary
Published by: Tor Fantasy
Pages: 352 pages in paperback
Source: Bought from the Bookdepository
Awakenings by Edward Lazellari launches a captivating fantasy saga by an amazing and talented new storyteller.
Cal MacDonnell is a happily married New York City cop with a loving family. Seth Raincrest is a washed-up photographer who has alienated even his closest friends. The two have nothing in common—except that they both suffer from retrograde amnesia. It’s as if they just appeared out of thin air thirteen years ago, and nothing has been able to restore their memories. Now their forgotten past has caught up to them with a vengeance.
Cal's and Seth’s lives are turned upside down as they are stalked by otherworldly beings who know about the men's past lives. But these creatures aren't here to help; they're intent on killing anyone who gets in their way. In the balance hangs the life of a child who might someday restore a broken empire to peace and prosperity. With no clue why they're being hunted, Cal and Seth must accept the aid of a strange and beautiful woman who has promised to unlock their secrets. The two must stay alive long enough to protect their loved ones, recover their true selves—and save two worlds from tyranny and destruction.
This was an incredibly nicely written book. The descriptions, vocabulary, dialogue, etc all were highly enjoyable and simply well put together. The world building was simple yet full of details, without becoming overwhelming, and the action was constant. The possibilities are endless and it seemed that we had only scratched the surface of this new fantasy world.
The plot elements used were familiar and nothing unusual, however, the way they were tied together and presented come across fresh and original. Since the overused story elements were also among my favorites for fantasy and overall then I can’t complain at all. The characters were also a highlight, they were distinct and intriguing.
Why I can’t actually rate the book higher: It was simply too dark, ugly and unfair. Almost every event, almost every character had to face nothing than but injustice, hardship, cruelty, carelessness or just tolerated bad luck. I’m not a fan of abuse and suffering without any visible light at the end of the tunnel and this is how I felt most of the time reading this book. Yes, it’s a very mature read, so I’m not expecting any bunnies and rainbows, but I did hope for something more positively minded. Maybe it gets better in the second book. In addition to the tone of the book, the cliff-hanger was too lackluster and frustrating. The end remained very unsatisfying; there wasn’t a proper conclusion or even something similar to that. If felt more like the end of a chapter, but without it being followed by another.
An aspect of the story I’m on the fence is the amount of diverse points of views used. They changed often and every major player got their share. While it was enlightening to get a glimpse inside everyone’s minds, it also felt as too much of a good thing at times as well. But basically, I can say that I liked how the multitude of perspectives was handled and presented.
Cal was the most heroic of the bunch, a cop whose lives a nice life, but with the revelations of his actual heritage comes a lot of doubt regarding everything he has thought was true. His wife takes it quite bravely, but there is hesitation and confusion on how they can still function as a family when the rules and reality has changed so drastically. Because of his classical hero position, he was also slightly boring to me next to the others, but still highly likable.
Seth was the most intriguing and a puzzle. Firstly, I like underdog characters so he was definitely my favorite of the main ones, but he was also mysterious, seemingly a complete douche. Is he misunderstood or is there really something bad there? Secondly, he came across a perfect antihero and I have no idea where his path would lead him. In conclusion, a great character. I really sympathized with
Daniel and all he had to endure, his chapters felt extremely depressing and heavy to read and digest. He was a good kid who just was down, way down on his luck. Things for him just have to get better, I will regret saying this, but they can’t get any worse? Can they?
I genuinely recommend this to fantasy lovers who don’t really need any mushy romance or want to read about characters dealt with fairly and kindly. This book is realistic, dark and cruel, the characters are hit by everything apart from the kitchen sink from left and right, no one is spared. The fantasy elements are decent and the writing is awesomely good. Try it out if it’s speaks to you!