Blood. That’s what Tara sees. Her village destroyed. Her Grada dead. Her friends taken.
Now she’s chasing shadows—a cryptic message to find someone she’s never heard of in a town she’s never visited. But strange things is what Tara will find. Things she can’t explain. People will fear her. Others will want her caught. Powerful people.
Blood. Her blood. That’s what they want. And they’ll do anything to get it.
USA Today Best selling author Michelle Bryan has done it again. A captivating story of survival, love, and hope. Get it today.
*A previous edition of this work was published as Awaken, part of the New Bloods series*
The characters in this story are brilliant. I loved Tara and her way of speaking. She is blunt and straight to the point, no beating around the bush, just straight-up honesty. Tara is a strong-willed (stubborn) character. She is a perfect cross between Katniss Everdeen and Rogue from X-men, in fact while reading that is what I pictured. Tara is even stubborn as she learns about being a “New Blood” or what she calls a mutie, but this endeared her to me even more. She is a relatable character especially as she learns that not all she’s been told growing up in her small community is true.
The other characters she meets along the way – Finn, Tater, and Jax – I also adore. Finn is a boy around 12 with a “demon cat” as a pet who’s community is destroyed the same as Tara’s. He’s high-spirited, inquisitive, and daring. Once he learns that Tara is out to find her kin, he argues to tag along. Tater is a middle-aged, “half-man” trader who comes upon the two one night in the dead woods and decides to take them with him to Littlepass. He is funny and knowledgable about the world outside Tara’s community, but I wasn’t too sure if I could trust him. Jax joins their party after they’ve been captured by Raiders. He is closer to Tara’s age and provides a bit of a love interest. This is not your typical YA romance you see in most books today which is refreshing. It’s subtle and I enjoyed that.
The world building is amazing. Imagine a world that is so far into the future that cars, technology, everything that makes us modern today is folk tale and legend to Tara. It was incredible! The Iron Bones chapter is amazing to me, seeing the ruins of a city through the eyes of someone who has never seen the buildings before, such a great feat for an author to describe. I loved it!
After the intense action of the initial chapter, the story unfolds rather slowly. For me, that initial hook of Tara seeing her community destroyed by the metal monsters set the tone for a fast paced plot. That isn't the case. It takes time for Tara to grieve and move through an unknown world before the pace picks back up. Not that I didn't still enjoy it, but I personally wanted the pacing to go a little faster which I got when I hit the halfway mark. The action and addition of a few characters captured my attention, and I didn't sit it down until I had finished the book!
If I was not told, I would never have known that this was Michelle Bryan‘s first novel. Little to no grammar issues that I found, the characters were well-developed, the world-building is amazing, and she left me wanting more! I have so many questions, the biggest being what was the Shift that caused this dystopian universe. If you enjoy YA dystopian with some sci-fi/fantasy thrown into the mix, you should really get a copy of this book. I personally can’t wait for book two!
-Tara is a stubborn, but highly likable character
When Tara’s village is destroyed, she sets out to find survivors. On her journey, she picks up a strange assortment of friends, and makes a startling discovery; she is a New Blood. Now Tara is hunted by the Prezedant and must learn to fight back, or perish.
Tara’s strength continues to grow with each obstacle she faces. She is multi-faceted, and the reader can see where she will continue to develop. The reader is emotionally tied to her fate, her troubles, and her successes. And her accent is great!
Jax. Oh boy. The author has crafted the male protagonist with perfection. This is no insta-love story line here. In fact, Jax seems to hate everything about Tara. The relationship between the two builds slowly, believably, and oh-so-sweetly. Jax himself is hardened and loyal.
The rest of Tara’s straggling gang consists of an orphaned boy, Finn, his devil-cat, and a dwarf. Tater the dwarf is particularly interesting throughout the story. However, each of these characters serve a purpose in intriguing us and drawing us head-first into the story.
The antagonist has strong presence throughout. The power of the Prezedant's control is believable and the scenes he appears in are sinister and foreboding.
Awaken is set in a fantasy dystopian world. There is a strong Rich vs. Poor imagery between the Prezedant and his outlying subjects. The prezedant’s wealth is held in the center and the further you are from him, the harder your day-to-day life is. During this riveting story, we move through sand lands, mountains, camps, villages, and valleys—just to name a few—each of which is expertly delivered.
Michelle Bryan’s writing style is honed, engaging, and utterly unique. The copy is professional and perfect for young adult readers, 14+
Time meant nothing while reading this book. I was entirely immersed. Lovable characters, simmering romances, a world you could almost touch, and a concept which captures. This book played as a movie in my mind; the ultimate read. I eagerly await the sequel.
“Every night, I see their faces, hear their screams. Some nights, the metal monsters in my dreams have teeth, and they eat up every soul in front of me, even Ben. I hear their bones crunching from the metal jaws, and I wake myself up with my cries, my face wet with tears. I lay there shivering, afraid, listening to the howling of a lone devil cat or wolfling off in the distance, and sleep don’t come no more. So I walk.”