How do you live with the consequences of an impossible choice? Aubrey has fought to carve out a normal life. Just an ordinary girl in a regular world. But some wounds don’t heal, and some experiences cannot be forgotten. Ten years ago, Aubrey had to make a choice, and the guilt haunts her. She stepped beyond the mortal realm and discovered magic is real, and so are the creatures who wield it. Beyond the facade of human civilisation lie other worlds, inhabited by powerful and ancient species. Aubrey’s mask of ignorance is no protection, and when danger threatens, she has nowhere to turn but to the fae who started it all. King Cathal did his duty, but at the cost of his deepest desire. When he answers her summons, Cathal is once more pulled between his crown and his heart. As their worlds collide, Aubrey and Cathal embark on a challenging path. On the brink of war, old wounds will be reopened and painful truths revealed. Can they hold the course or will their choices ruin them forever?
Let me start by saying I don't enjoy stories of romance. Don't judge me either! Some people might describe this book as a romance. It's not. What 'Awakening' is, is a strong and exciting character-driven story that works on several levels. It meant that I enjoyed this book. A lot. So there's a lesson here about not making preconceived judgements I suppose.
This is a story of when two worlds collide, the human and the supernatural. It's an urban fantasy in that part of the story takes place in our world, a big part of it in the Fae world. The latter is defined by a lot of folklore and mythology, there's assiduous research behind this story. It follows the fortunes of a woman who is not who she thinks she is and her 'awakening' is why the title is so apt. It's a story of discovery. One we see through the eyes of multiple POV and this provides the several layers I mentioned earlier. It's these layers that make the story so much more than a romance.
Sure, romance happens. But it exists as a tool to explore complex relationships, particularly between the two protagonists; Aubrey and Cathal. It also acts as a means to bring together the conflicting worlds of humanity and Fae. Romance is the glue that holds these warring factions together. Without it the story would be disjointed and not half as exciting.
And it is exciting. I read this book in double-quick time because the pace never lets up. And not in a contrived way either, that's why it's such a clever story. Threats occur because of the lack of communication between the two worlds and its inhabitants. They occur because of distrust. They occur because of the diversity of the Fae realm with demons and Fae traitors who are pursuing their own agenda. This story has complex and highly imaginative world-building in it.
I've always maintained that a good book needs 3 things to work independently and together: tension, world building and character. The final ingredient that I enjoyed so much are all the characters in it, both major and minor. They are vivid, often amusing, sometimes truly villainous but always people you engage with. I found myself smiling when certain characters (such as Azazeal and Poe) turned up in a chapter, that's always a good sign of reader engagement.
I strongly recommend this story. It is one that challenged me and I like that in a book. Not only that, it's got a bloody good story as well!
Awakening is the stunning debut of up-and-coming author PS Livingstone and it's a roller coaster ride of a story.
It's an epic urban fantasy novel with some romantic elements, but there's so much more to this book. The characters are so well written and realistic that they almost jump out from the pages. The snappy dialogue and interactions between Aubrey and Cathal are entertaining and full of emotional depth, while the author hurls exciting plot twists and curveballs that drive the action along.
The worldbuilding is absolutely fantastic, drawing on ancient Celtic lore and giving the reader insights into the fae world and their demonic adversaries. There's a lot of potential to draw from with plenty of tidbits into what is to come next in this saga.
Regardless of genre, if you enjoy well written books with drama, conflict, action and humor, then check out Awakening!
Fantasy meets romance in this story of love, destiny and magic.
Aubrey is a young woman settling into a new life in London, trying to put the past behind her. But she is still haunted by mysterious events in her childhood, ones which seem to link her to magic and the supernatural, no matter how hard she tries to forget. Attempting to help a young woman, she is thrown back into the world of the Fae, and she must contend with strange magical beings, demons, and a shadowy figure from her past.
There’s a hint of Sandman and Labyrinth in this urban fantasy, with a complex magical world hidden just out of our sight. There’s a wide cast of vibrant characters who all seem to leap off the page, and an epic romantic story full of magic and peril. If you enjoy fantasy or romance, then this story is for you.
A sexy, twisty contemporary fantasy story with a dark background. I particularly enjoyed the characterisation and several of the characters inhabited my thoughts for days afterwards. I very much look forward to reading more of this series.