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Review: Awakened

Awakened is the 8th book in the House of Night series by P. C. Cast and Kristin Cast. It was released in hardcover, eBook and audio formats on January 4, 2011 in the U.S. The hardcover edition, published by St. Martin’s Griffin is 304 pages.

It is available in stores or online at Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other online book sellers.

Description from the author’s website:

Exonerated by the Vampyre High Council and returned to her position of High Priestess at Tulsa’s House of Night, Neferet has sworn vengeance on Zoey. Dominion over her immortal consort Kalona is only one of the weapons she plans to use against Z. But Zoey has found sanctuary on the Isle of Skye and is being groomed by Queen Sgiach to take over for her there. Being Queen would be cool, wouldn’t it? Why should she return to Tulsa? After losing her human consort, Heath, she will never be the same – and her relationship with her super-hot-warrior, Stark, may never be the same either…

And what about Stevie Rae and Rephaim? The Raven Mocker refuses to be used against Stevie Rae, but what choice does he have when no one in the entire world, including Zoey, would be okay with their relationship? Does he betray his father or his heart?

In the pulse-pounding 8th book in the bestselling House of Night series, how far will the bonds of friendship stretch and how strong are the ties that bind one girl’s heart?

Zoey Redbird has returned from the Otherworld after Kalona’s failed attempt to keep her shattered spirit from being made whole. Even though she has returned, she is not yet ready to face the responsibilities that come with being a High Priestess or to re-enter the battle against Darkness.

As Zoey chooses to remain behind on the Isle of Skye with her warrior Stark, Neferet returns to the House of Night to regain control of the school and the vampyres and fledglings in attendance.

Due to his inability to fulfill his oath to Neferet, Kalona is forced to do her bidding, which does not sit well with an Immortal. But Neferet’s continued acceptance of Darkness has given her immortality and a power over him that he cannot refuse.

As Neferet seeks to eliminate the threat of Zoey’s affiliation with Nyx and her status as a young High Priestess, her reliance on Darkness grows.

Now the time has come for Darkness to exact its payment, and who will Neferet choose to unleash Darkness upon? Who will be the next person to fall that Zoey cares about? And will their loss be too much for her fragile spirit to handle so soon after Heath’s death?

***

Awakened is the exciting continuation of the story of Zoey Redbird and her battle against the powers of Darkness. There is no break in the timeline between the previous story in the series, Burned, and this installment.

Zoey, who has only recently returned from the Otherworld where her soul was shattered after the loss of her childhood friend and soul mate, Heath, is forced to return to Tulsa to the House of Night after the death of someone else she cares about.

It is their death that is the catalyst that sets into motion events which will force Zoey to step up as the leader she should be, Stevie Rae to choose sides and possibly reveal secrets she’s been keeping from her friends and Kalona to decide if he is willing to sacrifice something in order to get back in Nyx’s good graces.

Awakened alternates between the different perspectives of the characters, allowing the reader to see what is happening at all times. The authors begin to set the stage for the events that only start to unfold in the second half of this book and will surely come to a head in the next book and beyond.

Each piece to the story is laid out in such detail, but the action, aside from the heartrending event early on, doesn’t really pick up until the final third of the book, as all the different characters and elements come together.

It was good to have Zoey back in this installment, however there was still so much going on with the other characters that her part was not as prevalent as was hoped. And, while the other main characters were strong and decisive, Zoey’s character seems to have regressed.

Perhaps this was intentional, due to the tragedy Zoey has faced, but where she was once strong, she came off as timid and unsure. And where previously she had a commanding presence, at times she came across as flippant and juvenile. However, toward the conclusion she began to regain some of her former strength and surety that were her most valuable characteristics throughout the series.

In Awakened there are several surprises, both happy and sad, and the introduction of a new character that we will get to meet in the next book.

The conclusion of this book will leave fans of this series anxiously awaiting what is to come in the next book, Destined, which will be released in November 2011.

Reviewer gives this book [rating=4]

On a personal note:

I am a huge fan of this series. Zoey is so different from any of the other characters I’ve met in books of this genre. Her journey throughout the series has been a real roller coaster. All the different elements, from the Red Vampyres to the Immortal Kalona, combine to make this series really unique.

I love the fact that the authors are not afraid to kill off one of their main characters. As much as I sometimes want everything to be completely happy, it’s nice to read a story without a fairytale ending.

This entire series is smartly written. Even though the storyline has already spanned eight books, aside from the previous book, they don’t feel at all like filler books just to drag the series on. And after reading Awakened, I am definitely interested in finding out what happens next, even though the beginning started off a bit slowly.

The next book in the series Destined will be released in November 2011.

To read an excerpt from the author’s website, click here.

Book trailer for Awakened:

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