Book Review: Awakened

review-cover-awakened

Title: Guardians: Awakened [Pantheon 1]

Author: Kimiko Alexandre

Genre: Urban, Contemporary, Fantasy, Paranormal

Rating: 4 (4.5) Stars

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Description/Synopsis:

Raegan Fischer is eye candy for the rich socialites of the world…she also uses that pretty façade to protect them. When she gets dragged into a murder with “supernatural” like trappings, she never believes it’s going to not only test faith she doesn’t realize she has nor ever wanted, but make her enter a world of Angels, spirits, and the unknown.

Blackmailed into helping, she must find a missing angel and her sister while protecting a gargoyle that holds the soul of a mass murder. It’s believe or risk a whole host of costs that are too high to bare.

WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW

I was so excited to get ahold of this book, and it didn’t disappoint. Guardians: Awakened by Kimiko Alexandre tells the story of Raegan, an ex-military woman working as a body guard who gets sucked into a war between angels and other supernatural forces. Suddenly everything she thought she believed about angels, demons, possessions, and herself is wrong, and she’s smack dab in the midst of it all.

On the technical side of things, the book was decently written. There were a few pet peeve moments for me when conjunctions were used to start sentences (that is a very specific hatred of mine) commas were misplaced or missing, and a few clumsily worded passages at the very beginning of the story that knocked me out of the narrative a little, but overall, I don’t have any major complaints. The narrative was pretty easy to follow, the dialogue moved along at a good pace and wasn’t overly dramatic or forced. The only complaint I had in that department was one small section where Raegan’s name was repeated twice in a very short period of time. (Loc. 747 on Kindle)

“Give me just a moment, Raegan. The girl needs some attention.” Her voice sounded otherworldly, with her eyes shining bright. All nodded.

“We’ll get this sorted out, Raegan, now that Ariel is here we can get you back into your body. I’m sure you’re freaked. I’ll explain as much as I’m allowed,” Trace said.

Other than that, the only technical errors that really stuck out was the ONE time a quote was misplaced (Loc. 90 on Kindle):

“Perhaps you can call your boss as you intended,” Chris stepped in without hesitation,” and he can verify we should have been on the list.

Honestly, I’m being nitpicky. I can admit that the editing set off my worst pet peeves possible. Overall, the technical aspect of the book was very nearly spot on—I only wish a really good editor could have made it just that much tighter to make it perfect, because I loved the story so much once that aspect was set aside.

I really enjoyed the characters as a whole, though Raegan could be a little dense at times. There were at least two or three instances where the author very clearly hand-held the audience a little, letting important bits of info pop up in hints that Raegan just didn’t pick up on. It didn’t really irritate me, but it did make me stop and go: “Why is she surprised at this? Didn’t we already establish this was happening?” Apparently, Raegan wasn’t great at hints—it sort of fit her personality though. Raegan could be bull-headed in the best way, and I dearly loved her for it. She was the type of heroine who really felt genuine because she reacted in a very believable fashion to what was happening. She stuck to her opinions, even when she clearly knew she was wrong. She swore at angels—despite the fact she knew they could smite her if they so chose to. She even pouted internally over taking care of her ill grandmother—because she really didn’t have the time or patience level to do so. She was a flawed character, and it was nice to see such a strong female lead that wasn’t always morally perfect.

As for the other characters? I enjoyed Trace, Ben, and Tobias (go figure, the three hot guys), but it was a little hard to get a read on the other characters. There was so much going on with the plot and with the myriad of characters (some of which we didn’t get to know very well, like Raegan’s sister Jessica) that it was sometimes hard to keep track of who everyone was and what their relation to the plot was. I’m not going to hold that against the story however. Like I said, there was a lot going on, and Raegan’s head wasn’t usually up to cataloguing the people around her when she was busy worrying about possessed hobos.

I really enjoyed the plot and world building. The book felt exactly as it was meant to—a bit of an urban paranormal murder mystery with some thriller thrown in for good measure. The lore was easy to grasp, and the different aspects of mind reading, astral projection, and visions was an interesting twist that I hadn’t expected. My only criticisms are that I wish the story had been much, MUCH longer so that I could have dallied in the world a little more—and I wish there had been romance (though I can admit that’s a personal preference). The author clearly marked that this was NOT a paranormal romance, so I know I shouldn’t have expected it, but when the main character kept mentioning how hot all these male and female characters were, and her blatant attraction to Tobias… I’ll admit, I was kind of hoping for some sort of romantic push.

Overall? I really liked the book. I wish a really fantastic editor had tightened a few bits here and there, but I genuinely enjoyed it regardless of my nitpicks. It was a solid first book in the Pantheon series, and I’m excited to move on to the next book as soon as it’s available. I’d recommend this book to anyone who enjoys urban paranormal books with a little bit of a thriller edge.  It’s not a terribly long book, so if you’re looking for a series to invest into that isn’t going to take a week to slog through, this may be the perfect start for you.

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