March 3, 2014

Book Review ~ Awakening by Natalie King

Title: Awakening
Author: Natalie King
Release Date: February 28th 2014
Publisher: Penguin Group (NZ)
Source: Received from the author in exchange for an honest review

The cold spread like anaesthetic in her veins. Fear resurged, driving deeper into every cell.
"Why would my looking in a mirror help you see me?"
"Because I see through your eyes."

When Zelie Taylor pulls a lost necklace out of the icy waters of the lake, she has no idea what the consequences will be.
At first the pendant is just freezing cold - unnaturally so - but then she hears a voice inside her head and Zelie thinks she must be going mad. She's not. Seventeen-year-old Tamas' soul has been trapped in the silver necklace since 1918. His body is nearby, sleeping, and Zelie must help him awaken.

At first Zelie would like nothing better than for Tamas' moody, enigmatic presence to be out of her life, but after a while she isn't so sure. And what is waiting for Tamas when he does emerge? It seems that the sinister force that trapped him all those years ago has returned and is growing more powerful.

A hundred-year-old mystery steeped in dark magic will make Zelie question everything she thought she knew.

During a trip to the lake, freaky girl Kate gets Zelie to fish a necklace from the frigid water, and so starts Zelie’s foray in to the strange and unbelievable world of the mysterious Tamas. Believing she is going mad, Zelie tries to ignore his presence but when things go from just being strange to completely weird, Zelie can do nothing but Tamas’s bidding in an attempt to free them both.

The writing in Awakening is super smooth. The story flows effortlessly and held my attention from start to finish - and I didn't want it to finish!
Beautifully set in Tekapo, New Zealand; Natalie King has gone to a lot of effort to describe its beauty in the little details, rather than feeding the reader the tourist brochure version. The author makes Tekapo sound not only beautifully isolated, but eerie and mystical too; the perfect setting for a paranormal adventure-mystery-romance.

There is an innocent sweetness about the romance in Awakening, the young love blossoming, that had butterflies jumping in my stomach.
The subtleness of the attraction as it grows from Zelie and Tamas’s hidden feelings for one another, rather than out of a physical attraction – bravo, a true romance.

And the kisses – so beautiful, so gentle and heartfelt, and yet all consuming. Zelie and Tamas have something amazingly true, perfect and pure, and ohmygosh – Natalie King definitely captured the essence of once-in-a-lifetime love.
And I really enjoyed getting to know all of the other characters too, their quirks and nuances, good and bad.

I loved the overlapping and intertwining themes and genres that beautifully layer this story with mystery, intrigue, legends of old, magic, romance, and more; and I will definitely be reading this author’s contemporary romance (written as Natalie Anderson) because I all but devoured this book. I think Awakening may be my favourite YA read for the year so far.
A brilliant 5 star read.

Natalie King has always had imaginary friends in her head. This proved a distraction during school and beyond, and she ultimately abandoned her various jobs as researcher, mystery shopper and recruitment specialist because she was forever imagining herself elsewhere. Fortunately she now locks herself in her little garden shed to spend her days scribbling the stories those imaginary characters entice her with.

Natalie also writes contemporary romance as Natalie Anderson. In this genre she’s had more than twenty-five novels published, been translated into more than twenty languages, and sold over two million books.

A USA TODAY bestseller, she’s also been a Romantic Times Award nominee and a finalist for the R*BY (Romantic Book of the Year). She lives in Christchurch, New Zealand.

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