As kickoff I have a review for you guys for The Awakened by Sara Elizabeth Santana which was released today so once you'll be done reading, head on over to amazon and get it. Why you ask? Read on to find out!
The Awakened by Sara Elizabeth Santana
Expected Publication: December 1st 2015 by Oftomes Publishing
Series: Yes, #1 in The Awakened Duology
Zoey Valentine is concerned with two things: surviving the multitude of self-defense classes her dad makes her take and avoiding Ash Matthews.
That is, until the Z virus hits, wiping out a third of the population in a matter of weeks. If that weren’t frightening enough, the bodies of the victims disappear and suddenly reappear, awakened from their dead state. They're faster, smarter, and they work together to get the one thing they crave, human flesh.
The United States is in a panic and then the government decides the unthinkable: to bomb every major city overrun with the awakened.
Now Zoey is on the run, with her dad and Ash, desperate to find a place of safety amongst the ruined remains of the country. (goodreads.com)
* Thank you to Oftomes Publishing for proving me with an eARC in
exchange for an honest review *
I love stories involving survival, the outbreak of the undead, or just any other type of virus or end of the world scenario so of course, when I saw the cover for The Awakened and read the blurb, I knew I had to read it. Though, as with all the things that there are plenty off, I always worry that stories from said areas will be driven by overused tropes and plotlessness we've seen done a million times already. But, after reading The Awakened I can tell you that I was not disappointed. And, for those like me who wouldn't even touch a love triangle with a ten foot pole, don't worry, there is non, even if the cover makes it look like that at first glance.
The Awakened is an intriguing tale of survival with a dash of sizzling romance and one hell of a messed up mystery villain. The story is exciting, gripping, and fun to read from beginning to end. Of course, as with all things, it has some flaws but most of them I probably only saw because I tend to be picky sometimes with my survival/zombie/end of the world books and plots.
So, in The Awakened we follow Zoey and her struggle to survive while the world around her goes basically mental and down the drain. I had a few problems with her, especially when it came to her feelings about Ash, since I though the entire issue between them could have been solved a little quicker since, if the apocalypse is now it might be a good idea to get over things belonging into the past, right? I mean, I understand her struggle, but she definitely had other more important things to worry about. Anyway, Zoey was a very likable and well rounded character with flaws and logical trains of thought, and she definitely wasn't a damsel in distress/your average Mary Sue. Zoey could definitely kick some ass, thanks to her dad who made her take a whole list of different self-defense and martial arts classes growing up.
I also really liked Ash. He was fun, charming, and just a really good guy. He also seemed like a well thought out, three dimensional character, and not just some hot guy to lust after our protagonist. He was funny and witty, loyal and clever, traits that could definitely be useful in the apocalypse when getting yourself an ally.
I liked the dynamics the two of them had going on between them and the way their relationship evolved over the course of the story, definitely one of my favorite parts about the book, along with the unusual kind of zombies we encountered in this story. Plus points for that.
The problems I mentioned earlier on didn't really arise until after the 70% mark when we finally got a look behind the cause of the virus outbreak and all those thing that I will not mention in detail because spoilers. But, personally, I think making up a valid backstory for what caused the virus to infect humans is always a tricky, which is basically why I appreciate shows like The Walking Dead because they, as far as I remember, never explained what had led to the zombie outbreak. The Awakened, on the other hand, gives us an explanation and I must admit I wasn't quite as flashed by it as I'm sure the author planned for her readers to be. That is not to say that the reasoning wasn't good, but it wasn't as original as I hoped it would be. There were also a couple of other things happening that I wasn't the biggest fan of either, but those are spoilers so I cannot tell you about them.
What I did like, to go back to a more positive note, was the writing style of Ms. Santana. It was descriptive, though maybe a little too much in a few instances, and showed really well how good she is at capturing emotions and showing them through Zoey's eyes. She also did a really good job at making the zombies really scary in an entirely different way then zombies already are.
All in all I really liked The Awakened and, if you're a fan of YA zombie survival type stories, you should definitely give it a try, even if the blurb might not entirely catch your attention. I did have a couple of issues here and there but in general I had a really good time reading this story. I can't wait to see how the story will continue and how this duology will end.
I give The Awakened by Sara Elizabeth Santana 4 out of 5 stars.