Awaken by Michelle Bryan

awakenTara lives in a world that‘s dead. It‘s hard, but she still loves her life. She loves her little village of Rivercross, she loves the people, and most of all she loves her Grada- the man who brought her into his home as a baby and raised her as his own. On her 18th Born Day, everything changes. While out hunting and checking traps, Tara and Ben see a large dust cloud in the distance. They know this is no dust storm, but question what it could be. As the ominous cloud nears, they soon realize it is being caused by several massive machines heading straight for Rivercross. Grada forces Tara to hide and gives her some cryptic advice on what to do next. Then, he knocks her out and hides her in the cellar. When Tara comes to, she finds complete devastation. The machines have slaughtered everyone and kidnapped the kids. After grieving for a time, she finally picks herself up and does the only thing she can do…try to find her people. This journey sets Tara on a course that introduces her to some interesting characters, and puts her on a path that changes her life. She always knew she was a little different, but nothing could prepare her for the truth.

Michelle Bryan shows us her world with such perfection. You can see everything in your mind while you read. It is almost like watching a movie instead of reading a book. Bryan uses her descriptions flawlessly: they aren’t distracting, they fit seamlessly into the dialogue, and you can immediately understand what she is saying. When you first start reading, you are slightly taken aback by some of the words. You wonder if it is a typo, but you quickly learn it isn’t. It’s just the way the characters speak. That could easily make things confusing, but the author uses her talent so that it makes sense. Tara is one reason this story works as well as it does. You immediately care about her as she is both strong and weak, caring and cranky, fearless and scared. She has flaws, she is human. The rest of the characters in Awaken are just as fully developed and layered as Tara. Finn, Tater, and Jax all have their own history and personality. The journey that they are on is a dangerous one, and they all react differently to it. The reader gets to watch them grow and change as they face adversity, and you wind up invested in their futures. Awaken is our first glimpse of the New Bloods Trilogy and if the next two books are anything like this one we are all in for one wild ride!

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