For all the many, many books that I read, I don’t often get a chance to read sequels or series continuations for the books that I review. I have a never ending list, and going back on my own time to read farther is not always an option. So when I get a sequel to a book I’ve already read on my schedule for review, I’m thrilled. And Darkness Awakening by Lisa M. Green is no exception.
1. Thoughts on the plot
This book follows the continuing adventures of Aurianna, the saviour from the future, in the fantastic reimagining of the Sleeping Beauty fairy tale. There is still magic and technology, political scheming and questions of what is right and wrong, but this story delves more into Aurianna’s past, which I enjoyed a fair bit. I will say that the beginning of the book dives right into pulling her through time again, without any time for her to enjoy returning to the future that she knows/knew. This is important for plot, but it starts the story off at a very fast pace and things do not slow down once throughout the novel.
Overall, I enjoyed the story. I think that the moments of plot-significant action mixed with moments of character bonding between Aurianna and her friends made for a story that was entertaining to read and didn’t overwhelm you with too much action or information, despite being fast paced. The only part I had issue with was the ending, but I’ll discuss that in a bit.
2. Thoughts on the characters
I always find character development in sequels/follow-on novels to be almost more interesting than the initial story. We get to see the character continue to grow from where we left them at the end of book one, and really come into their own. In this story, Aurianna starts off with her angry and reluctant hero attitude and really turns it into righteous indignation at the shape of the world. She also deals with the discovery of her past, which is enough to throw anyone for a loop, and still ends up being a character that you love. Especially at the end, when things are…really, really bad (spoilers, sorry) and she does the awesome thing to fix the problem (again, can’t say because spoilers), she really shows her colours and the reason why we like her so much.
She may not be convinced she’s this saviour, but by George, she’s going to bust some heads if it means getting things done!
3. Favourite part & critique
Okay, here’s where things get a bit… tricky. Because my favourite part is the ending. But it’s also my least favourite part. The part I really enjoyed was seeing Aurianna put all the puzzle pieces together (as much as was possible) and really start to show the world just what she thinks of its scheming. She grows into her abilities and is a friend that you want by your side. I love the pain and anguish that she goes through while in this moment of self-discovery, and also the way that she resolves the issues. Also, I enjoy the whole Pharis “situation”.
Now, the part about the ending I don’t like? The whole thing with Javen. Okay, I saw it coming almost from the beginning of the book. All the clues are there and I knew it was going to happen. That’s fine, I have no problem with plot twists that come from a solid ground of logic. Where I find issue is the piece where the motivation for the plot twist comes in. I know how, I know what, but why is a complete mystery. And it’s a complete mystery to everyone else in the book, too, which is really quite frustrating. I like to have at least a logical reason for characters to behave the way that they do, and this felt far from logical. It just sort of…was.
Now, I understand that the answers will be provided in the next book. That’s standard for a series. The part that I would change is to add just a touch of motivation/hint of the emotional core earlier in the story so that it doesn’t feel like it is just twirling moustachery of character development. The actions themselves were seen earlier on, but the reasons why were not, and that disparity bothers me just a touch.
Even so, I did love the ending. I just…hated it, too.
Overall, I would say that Darkness Awakening is a fantastic sequel to Dawn Rising and really moves the story along in an intriguing direction. The characters were just as enjoyable as ever, the plot was great to read, and excepting that one bit at the end, I had a great time with this story. I would definitely recommend this book!