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Awakenings (Guardians of Aandor #1)

3.33  ·  Rating Details  ·  327 Ratings  ·  95 Reviews
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 thei ...more
ebook, 352 pages
Published August 30th 2011 by Tor Books
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(showing 1-30 of 1,865)
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Edward Lazellari
Nov 14, 2011 Edward Lazellari rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone that liked Stephen King's Talisman or Roger Zelazny's Amber series
Recommended to Edward by: I wrote it.
I may be biased, but I thought it was darned good. :-)

A few readers are upset that the book supposedly ends "in the middle." But those that rated it low for that reason seem to also be saying they enjoyed what there was of it. The reality is that most publishers are not going to publish a George R.R. Martin-sized book (1,000 pages+) with an unknown author. So I sympathize with those frustrated by the unresolved ending. Perhaps there should have been a "Part 1" placed on the cover.

I'd like to n
In August, posted an excerpt from Awakenings, the exciting debut novel by Edward Lazellari. That post fell smack in the middle of that site’s Noir-themed week, so maybe it’s not surprising that the excerpt was the novel’s prologue, which introduces Colby, a down-on-his-luck private investigator who gets contracted by some shady — and, as soon becomes clear, truly terrifying — characters to track down a list of people for unknown purposes.

However, the noir-ish tone of that excerpt may
You might think, by looking at the cover, that Awakenings by Edward Lazellari is your standard paranormal fiction. But I was reminded of more traditional fantasy, in the vein of Terry Brooks in a modern setting, rather than something by Jim Butcher.

Cal McDonnell is a NY city cop who has no memory of his life prior to thirteen years ago. Despite his retrograde amnesia he has managed to carve out a meaningful life for himself that includes his job and a beautiful wife and daughter. Seth Raincrest
A standard fantasy plot is the mundane person transported to a magical world, where s/he picks up magic and saves the day. Awakenings, a noir urban fantasy fusion with mystery elements turns that standard trope on its head. In this darkish fantasy, guards, wizards and the prince of the realm escaped from a war zone in the magical world to our world, but then had their memories wiped

Now, several years later, Daniel the prince is living in an abusive home, Cal MacDonnell, the head guard is a NYPD
Sep 18, 2011 Andrew rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Dorn’s attention wandered for a moment. When it returned, he surveyed the town around him. “I started this search for the prince cautiously, opting for a surgical approach in a world a barely understood,” Dorn said. “A strange land of magical drought that I never knew existed. I’ve since found my footing, Colby—we’re locating streams of magical energy here and there, buried deep. Enough to empower more ambitious sorceries. I’m reluctant because this place might yet have some uses for me and my i ...more
Sep 05, 2011 Kmont rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I liked this one - with a few caveats. It's a superb story base, and considering it's the first in a new series, it's not too bad. There are several things I like the first in series to do in order to get me to feel hooked: well-developed characters, a very decent job building the world, and a snappy enough pace to keep the onset of yawns from beginning.

I want to say that this book accomplished all of these - to a point. There's a little lacking, I just don't know how to put it in words, which i
I got an advanced reading copy of this book signed by the author at Book Expo America. I was excited to read this new urban fantasy/fantasy by Tor. It was an interesting start to a new series, but it is just that a start. The story pretty much ends right in the middle of things.

The story begins with a number of men with the same last name being hunted down by unnatural evil beings. As things unfold you find that these men came here from another world and were sworn to protect a special child. Bu
3.5/5 stars

Awakenings, despite its flaws, is a surprisingly absorbing adventure. The writing is solid and fluid. The book itself has a raw quality to it that will appeal to many readers. Though Awakenings does read more like a prologue to a series, the series itself has huge potential to be a multi-dimensional epic fantasy. Awakenings crosses multiple genres from noir to contemporary and even has hints of traditional fantasy. Lazellari has great potential as a fantasy writer. The idea is fresh a
Oct 25, 2013 Linda rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Okay, I am now halfway through The Lost Prince and enjoying it enough to realize that my original rating of Awakenings was unfair. I was just so terribly pissed off to be left hanging at the end of the book! All I can say is, the author had better finish up the last volume of the trilogy or I will be REALLY mad!
Original: I thought I would like this more than I did. Not badly written (faux Stephen King with a nice Harry Potter joke early on)but it just ENDS and there will be no closure unless I
Aug 04, 2012 Otherwyrld rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
An interesting first novel, and an interesting start to a series. Whilst the plot itself is nothing new, it all fits together quite nicely in such a way that makes you want to keep reading, Indeed, I read the book in just a few hours.
If there is a criticism, it that the book at times feels too much like a screenplay for a potential film. However, this isn't unusual in a lot of modern novels and doesn't detract from the fact that this is an entertaining story.
I will be waiting the next book in th
Suzanne Johnson
Sep 08, 2011 Suzanne Johnson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Engaging blend of urban and epic, quest-driven fantasy. Full review on 9/9 at
Oct 08, 2011 Shannon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2011
Awakenings is the start of a new fantasy series. The story mainly focuses on two men who could not be more different. One is a cop with a wife and daughter, the other an artist who survives by taking pornographic photos. They are both being hunted and neither one knows why. A woman shows up to help them both and they have no choice but to allow her to do so.

It has been a while since I have read a fantasy book and it may be the first time I have read one that is set up in the way this one is. We
Feb 02, 2013 Clare rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Awakenings is the debut novel by Edward Lazellari, and although it is filled with many classic fantasy elements, it approaches these in a unique way. Cal MacDonnell is a policeman in New York City, happily married, with a five-year-old daughter and another child on the way. However, his life is marred by frightening and sad dreams and the amnesia he suffers. He cannot remember anything prior to thirteen years ago, when he was found inexplicably wandering in a field. Even so, his life has been ot ...more
Kristin  (MyBookishWays Reviews)
You may also read my review here:

A private detective,and disgraced former lawyer,is asked to find a list of people for the strangest,and creepiest,group of men he’s ever seen. Not only do they secure his services,but they secure them for quite a price:his heart.

NYPD cop Cal MacDonnell and his partner,Erin Ramos,respond to a call about an intruder with an ax at a rundown tenement. Things quickly get out of hand,and Cal soon realizes that his life will neve
Apr 20, 2013 Mihir rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition

Full review over at Fantasy Book Critic

Overall rating = 3 & 1/2 stars

ANALYSIS: If not for Robert, I might have missed out on Edward Lazellari’s debut novel, Awakenings. After all, the synopsis only provides a small picture of what Awakenings is all about, so reading the book was a surprising joy.

Starting out, Awakenings introduces readers to the book’s cast of characters which includes Colby Dretch, a detective who has been having problems with the local law enforcement; Dorn who hires Co
Oct 11, 2013 Whitney rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Awakenings is a really good start to what looks like a fantastic series. I was hooked immediately, and without ruining anything, by page 37 two people had their heart stolen (as in physically torn out of their chest), a third person was decapitated, and a fourth was being drooled on from a slimy monster hanging on the ceiling. The book only picks up from that point.

The characters are very well rounded and believable. The confusion and disbelief they feel as Lelani tries to convince them of their
*spoiler free*

As I write this review, I remain somewhat uncertain as to my feelings about this book. I enjoyed it enough to finish it, but am unsure as to whether I'll read the next one. I'm also not sure why it didn't really connect with me.

On one hand, I liked the characters. They were well drawn and distinct. They remain true to themselves and their choices remain consistent. I liked that some of the characters were genuinely good guys (I use guys as a gender neutral in this case) - noble ev
Jan 16, 2012 E.A. rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
I won this book from Tor and thought it sounded interesting. The premise is that a young prince has gone missing in our world. There are two groups looking for him, the only problem is the good guys don't actually remember what they are suppose to be doing. For thirteen years the guardians have tried to make new lives without having any memory of their life before. Now those who want to control the magical kingdom Aandor have made it to Earth and will do anything to find the prince. A lone magic ...more
Sep 12, 2011 Andrew rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Two men: Cal MacDonnell, a police officer, and Seth Raincrest, a small-time pornographer. Neither one remembers anything beyond the past thirteen years of their lives. Through a series of brutal, tragic, traumatic events, they learn that they share an otherworldly connection. More importantly, they share a mission.

Awakenings is the first book in a new series by Edward Lazellari. Arguably, it's more a first installment than a complete story, and that makes it difficult to evaluate it. It's a good
Richard Radgoski
I found Awakenings, like I so often do, buy finding a later book (book 2 in this case) and thinking it looked good enough to read. Seeing that I had yet to read the first, went looking for it and found it. What a pleasant surprise!

The book centers around the premise that a bunch of men and women fled from their home world of Aandor to our world in order to protect the heir of an important family. But things got botched up pretty bad on the transition and all of them had their memories wiped.

Mar 18, 2014 Sherwin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A sprawling urban fantasy novel, Awakenings kept me wanting more and more.

(view spoiler)
Jan 27, 2012 Brett rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Awakenings is good. Edward Lazellari knows how to hook a reader and it shows.
You start this book with a question and suddenly have several more tossed at you. You HAVE to keep reading, you just have to!

Cal MacDonnell is a happily married cop with a beautiful wife and daughter. The only problem is the multiple year chunk of missing memory. Cal would like to remember, to feel 'whole' again.

Too bad his wish comes true and it comes true in the most fantastical way possible.

I don't do spoiler review
Dan Smyth
Feb 03, 2016 Dan Smyth rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good book. In a world that is structured like Harry Potter, where there's a magical kingdom that normal people don't know about. Some magic, but this story is mostly cemented in the real world. A cop, a loser, and a kid all find out about their magically-erased pasts when some baddies come to try and take them out. Worth a read.
Nov 25, 2011 Elizabeth rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As someone not familiar with sci-fi / fantasy, I was very really surprised at how much I enjoyed Awakenings. I was impressed with the character development throughout the novel, never sure of how it would unfold. The pacing and tone were upbeat and engaging. I felt a particular connection to Catherine because her situation with her husband Cal has no easy resolution. I raced through the last 100 pages wondering how on earth it was going to play out! Without giving anything away, once I finished ...more
Jul 21, 2014 BL834 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 stars, rounded down for discovering AT THE LAST PARAGRAPH this is a Book One (of three?). Seriously kids, I don't mind multi-book stories but damn if it doesn't chap my ass to learn that little tidbit as I approach the last sentence.

Cranky rant aside... the writing was solid enough and most of the characters were reasonably well-fleshed out. As a first novel, "Awakenings" does well.

The good: In spite of this being a fantasy novel, I think the best-written scenes were the magic-less characte
Pamela Fuhst
Mar 11, 2013 Pamela Fuhst rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Hello fellow readers. Just finished reading Awakenings by a new, up and coming author. It was recommended to me by my sis-in-law who is more of a fantasy/sci fi reader than I am. I was pleasantly surprised with how good the story was. The book has genuine characters..both ones you can loathe and fall in love with. There is a perfect blend of suspense, comedy relief, empathy, sympathy,horror..and pretty much any other emotion you can experience for the characters. The book has layers of complex s ...more
Jun 17, 2013 Elizabeth rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

With Awakenings as his first novel, Edward Lazellari promises a spectacular career in Fantasy writing. There are very few fantasy novels I come across that can be deemed “original”, but Awakenings is one of them! In all honesty the book wasn’t anything like what I expected from reading the back cover or the prologue. It’s a rich mixture of magic, adventure, mystery, and small dash reality, all combined into a fast paced novel that will keep you turning the
Apr 06, 2013 Ray rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Awakenings was recommended to me by a friend. A perfect time to read this well thought out ‘urban fantasy’ as it is book 1 of a series and according to, book 2 will be available this August(which I have already pre-ordered). Mr. Lazellari’s writing is wonderfully vivid, which allowed my imagination take flight and engage in the multifaceted storylines (there are several narratives that are threading to the focal plot). Personally, I love the mix of fantasy and reality, as well as gett ...more
Brian Palmer
An amnesiac heir to the throne from a magical kingdom, lost in our own world... magical beasties and guardians in pursuit, some to help, and some to hinder ... a pretty standard fantasy meets real world novel. But some things do stand out; many of the characters have big mistakes and misdeeds in their past, and even if they do not act on it, the theme of redemption appears over and over again. On the other hand, that means almost every character in it is flawed in some way, which keeps the entir ...more
Aug 04, 2012 Jeni rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was surprised that I really liked this book as it's a mix of crime and fantasy or the current term 'noir' and magic but with violence, profanity & egocentric characters. There's continual action throughout the book except for a sudden slow down about 1/3 to 1/2 the way through where a lot of back story is explained - I thought in more detail than was really necessary. Despite the acceptance of magic & monsters, the story has many realistic elements. The book doesn't wrap up everything ...more
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North Carolina Go...: * A is for Awakenings 1 3 Jun 09, 2014 03:57PM  
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A New York City native, Edward began his career as a storyteller writing and illustrating for Marvel Comics. He turned his attention to prose fiction in the mid-90s and earned his BA in English literature at Rutgers University, New Brunswick. His first prose story, "The Date" appeared in Playboy Magazine's October 1999 issue. The first of Edward's Guardians of Aandor series, Awakenings (Tor Books) ...more
More about Edward Lazellari...

Other Books in the Series

Guardians of Aandor (2 books)
  • The Lost Prince (Guardians of Aandor, #2)

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