Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Review and Blog Tour: Awoken by Sarah Noffke



I'm super excited to be taking part in the official Blog Tour for Awoken by Sarah Noffke, the first book in the new Lucidites series.  This tour is being coordinated by YA Bound Book Tours.  Check out my review and giveaway below.



Awoken by Sarah Noffke
Release Date: November 24, 2014
Publisher: One-Twenty-Six Press
Genre: YA Fantasy/Paranormal

Around the world humans are hallucinating after sleepless nights. In a sterile, underground institute the forecasters keep reporting the same events. And in the backwoods of Texas, a sixteen-year-old girl is about to be caught up in a fierce, ethereal battle.

Meet Roya Stark. She drowns every night in her dreams, spends her hours reading classic literature to avoid her family’s ridicule, and is prone to premonitions—which are becoming more frequent. And now her dreams are filled with strangers offering to reveal what she has always wanted to know: Who is she? That’s the question that haunts her, and she's about to find out. But will Roya live to regret learning the truth?


I had not previously heard of this book prior to signing up to be a tour host.  So I went into reading it with no expectations.  It doesn't take long before the "strangers" mentioned in the summary have Roya at a special institute where she's to receive training.  When I first started the book, I thought, "oh, great, yet another story where they train teenagers to be fighters a la Divergent, etc."  This book, however, turned out to be so much more.

The "training" that Roya and other kids her age must undergo isn't just about how to survive or how to fight.  It's focused on mental training for a very specific type of skill and task that awaits them. Plus, in a lot of other books, the authors may put in one training scene, and then just refer to having to "go to training" throughout the rest of the book.  In this book, however, we are privy to many sessions, watching the development of the characters' skills and progress.  It was a lot more detailed and focused.  This was an interesting new twist that made this book unique to others of its kind.  I completely forgot about any comparisons I might have made at the beginning and was immediately sucked into the story.

The author did an amazing job balancing story vs. character development.  It has a large cast, and while some of the secondary characters didn't need or require as much development for me to like them, the three to five main protagonists were very detailed and I felt for each of them. especially Roya.

I loved Roya immediately.  As the summary says, she's been through a rough time with her family, and although she does carry that with her, there is nothing weak or frightened about this girl.  She's strong, brave, and self-sacrificing.  I loved her determination, even if she didn't completely buy into what she was there for at first.  There were times when she worked so hard to keep her emotions in check, to prevent herself from showing her feelings, and it was heartbreaking.  She was so controlled but yet, she felt so much.  She had the ability to push back fear and use her passion.

The conflict, of course, was very exciting, but one of my favorite aspects of this story was the interactions between Roya and her team.  There is lots of emotion there, some very unexpected relationships, and some romance that was surprising and interesting, exhilarating in its sweetness and passion.

The last quarter of the book was so fast-paced and hard-hitting that I felt myself gasping more than once.  The author did an amazing job with her world building, the characterization, the action, and the pacing.  Not to mention the romance, which was slow-building and very gratifying.  I loved this book, and am definitely looking forward to the next installment to what has been an amazing new series.

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About the Author

Sarah Noffke writes YA sci-fi fantasy and is the author of The Lucidites Series.  She’s been
everything from a corporate manager to a hippie. Her taste for adventure has taken her all over the world. If you can’t find her at the gym, then she’s probably at the frozen yogurt shop. If you can’t find her there then she probably doesn’t want to be found. She is a self-proclaimed hermit, with spontaneous urges to socialize during full moons and when Mercury is in retrograde. Sarah lives in Southern California with her family.



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