Title: The Awakening
Author: Joe Jackson
Series: Eve of Redemption #8
The dead are rising, and the cities have called a council to address the issue. But a group of attendees aren’t content to just talk—they’ve banded together to investigate. Leighandra, a half-elf who is neither great warrior nor great mage, finds herself swept up in that group who seeks the truth . . .
I received an advance copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I bought the book anyway because I love the series.
This follows a new set of characters, although it lightly touches on Kari’s adventures (mostly as reports or rumors from other characters) which helps orient series readers to where this is in the timeline. Because of that, this is also a good place for new readers to hop in despite being so late in the series.
Despite a mostly new cast, there are a few cameos. Karinda has a small role, and it’s hysterical to see the differences between how Karinda acts with Kari versus this bunch. Kari just can’t help seeing a familiar friend and these guys get O Mighty Archmage.
Of the new cast, I adore Max, who is a lunarar (wolf-like humaniod). I like his wife, and how the two of them interact. I’m really not much of a romance fan in general—I hate “relationships” that are just physical attraction, especially when one or both of the participants are behaving in ways that would be clear warning signs in a real relationship (so sick of “dark past” love interests who are just jerks with a pretty face). Max and Audrei were so much the opposite. They had an established relationship, based on mutual respect, and they were both PEOPLE WORTHY OF RESPECT. They honored each other. They were kind to each other and to those around them. They were HUMBLE. But they weren’t some too-perfect-to-feel-real relationship because of the struggles Max has with letting even his wife see his burdens, and the child that rocked their relationship and their faith. Max was faithful to his wife together or apart, and she to him.
And of course all those scenes with Max looking like a wet dog were too much fun.
Galadon is also a great deal of fun. I liked his fragmented memories, his confusion about where he’s been since the war, and the way everyone back home reacted to his return. At the same time, I like that he’s not, by and large, the main focus, as his story and Kari’s have a lot in common.
Galadon nodded. “We’ll need to confer with my generals anyway, to ask about the local trouble with the gnolls before we go out blindly. So we’ll get our answers either way. But I beg of you: If they try to forcibly put me back on the throne, take me hostage and head north.”
And this had me just about dying laughing:
“What the heck is a paladin doing with a crowbar?” Starlenia blurted.
“Always be prepared,” the knight replied with no trace of humor.
I really liked that scene where Leighandra was talking to Starlenia about what each of them can do. It’s true that Leighandra isn’t contributing much in one sense—but she knows her role, is COMFORTABLE in it (wow, that’s huge), and is able to see big picture and small (again, without pride getting in the way. . . . I’m sensing a theme here. No wonder these feel so different from pretty much all the other books I read).
The trials for the seals have a number of interesting twists. The “collect them all” plot device is a familiar one, but I was still surprised at several points. Each one has a focus: some emphasize strength, some cleverness, some wisdom, and so on. And it really does take the whole team to pull this off.
And that tease for Irrathmore . . . I can’t wait to see what that world is like.
Overall, this is another excellent adventure, with a new set of amazing characters to follow. Given the end, it looks like Kari will be interacting with them a lot in the future, so I look forward to more great stories to come. I rate this book Highly Recommended.