Awakening (Chronicles of Benjamin Dragon #1)

Title: Awakening

Author:  C. G. Cooper

Series: Chronicles of Benjamin Dragon #1

Benjamin Dragon has a lot going on in his life. He’s been moved up two grades, which makes him the youngest, smallest person in his classes, his family moves all the time, so he has a hard time making friends, and now weird things are happening around him. He doesn’t know why or how they’re happening. But it’s going to change everything . . .

This is aimed a bit younger than I usually read, but it’s still a solid book. I liked how Benjamin has a hard time figuring out people, so he uses his powers of observation to try to get a handle on their body language instead. I liked his quiet suspicion of things that seem too good to be true, and how he doesn’t just go along with everything. He knows when something’s up, even if he hasn’t quite figured out what it is or how he wants to respond to it.

I’m less fond of the way the power is split up. Three areas, and one of those is “everything else”? That just feels way too sloppy. And of course the “everything else” bucket has a name like destructors—and here I was expecting it to be a disintegrating-matter type of ability, but in reality it’s more just telekinesis. (For a good example of psychic powers split into 3 major buckets with various wrinkles depending on how you use them, see the manga series Psyren.)

Also the power is basically “free” as far as I can tell. (At least in Psyren there’s a non-trivial risk of turning yourself into a vegetable or killing yourself if you overuse your abilities.) Benjamin struggles to use his power partially because he can’t tell any difference when he IS using it. There’s no upper bound visible to what he can do other than possibly keeping track of everything. This makes the final battle almost anticlimactic, as I can’t really see much risk in the actual power display, and the social pressures feel more daunting.

Despite that, I did enjoy the book, and am interested in reading farther. I rate this book Recommended.

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