The Awakened by Julian Cheek – Book Review
I was part of the blog tour for this book and shared an extract here. You can also find the synopsis on the original post.
I’ve now read the book so here are my thoughts.
Unfortunately I really struggled with this and came close to not finishing on a few occasions. But I don’t like reviewing without finishing. I’m sorry to say I won’t be continuing with the series though.
I have the utmost respect for those who have finished a book and put it out there especially as I’m still struggling with the editing part of the process myself.
The Awakened I’m sad to say I think would have benefited from further editing.
I really liked the premise and the synopsis sounded intriguing. Although I do feel that it really only describes the very end of the book (leading into the next) so I do feel it was a little misleading. There is a villain who is named and his deeds mentioned but he is also described as “He who must not be named.” Hmmm!
For me The Awakened was far too descriptive at the start with nothing really happening. I don’t think the stakes were set up quick enough. Seventeen year old Sam just keeps falling asleep in the real world and waking up in another strange world. He is constantly just putting that down to being a dream and comes across as quite naive.
Generally Sam didn’t sound like an authentic teenager and I didn’t feel he had enough agency in the story. He constantly refuses to accept what is happening as real. It reminded me a bit like Bastian at the end of The Neverending Story film but he was like this throughout and I did find myself rolling my eyes at him repeatedly.
What I found intriguing was the fact that his brother had recently died in the real world and I wish this had been explored more and that we were shown rather than told what he was feeling. I did wonder if that would play more into the other world but it seemed he died from Leukaemia.
The scenes back in the real world didn’t seem to add much to the story except to get him out of sticky situations. I was also confused as to why towards the end of the book we moved from Sam’s point of view to following others including a scene in Paris that read more like it fit in a horror/alien invasion film. It was so out of place with the rest of the book.
I didn’t really connect to Sam as a character but I did like Pania, a little girl in the other world and would be interested to see what becomes of her. There are characters called Padme that remind me of daemons from His Dark Materials and I’d like to have understood them a bit more. Sam’s Padme Babu was quite fun – given a bit more of an attitude I think he would have carried the story more.
I couldn’t follow the set up of the other world and feel having a map might have helped.
In summary I found the story confusing and felt it was trying to be too many things. It was full of ‘tell instead of show’, very repetitive and just generally needed more editing.
Disclaimer. I received a copy of this book for the purposes of an honest review.