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on March 30, 2013 :
I normally don’t read reviews before I read a book because I want to enjoy the book and form my own opinions. But, in this case, I am glad I did or I would have stopped reading the book in the beginning. I thought the synopsis was vague and I wanted to know more. I read from others that it was slow and confusing in the beginning and I would have to agree. I kept saying, “What?” while reading. It was confusing to follow at first. Things didn’t make sense and I would strongly agree with Lindsay, a reviewer on www.contagiousreads.blogspot.com, who said “The first quarter of the book has an entirely different feel to it, full of unrealistic dialogue and bizarre stereotypes (like homeschoolers being dressed in denim jumpers and owning goats?)” I homeschooled one of my kids and I don’t own any goats and definitely don’t own any denim jumpers!! I am not sure how I feel about that.
Any way, without going crazy, I trudged on. The book picked up the pace and I really enjoyed it. Some things still bothered me, but the story kept me going. I had to figure things out and see where it went.
Leeowyn is introduced to her uncle in the beginning and without question, goes and stays with him during the school year and goes home in the summer to be with her mom. She learned her father died. She meets her grandmother and lives in this large home that she doesn’t learn until much later where the house is, because she falls asleep each time she travels to this home.
Her uncle is Cyle. His eyes are like hers. You know there is something going on, but don’t know what it is until later. But I will tell you that they are not human. Lee is ½ human.
Lee meets Alex during the summer. She is taken by him. He then shows up at her uncle’s home and there is some angst going on with him and her uncle but he lets Alex stay for the winter.
Peach is a friend who stays with her at her uncle’s. Lee doesn’t seem too bright not to figure out why Peach and Alex are not homeschooled with her. I mean, they do no school at all!
Lee starts having dreams that are zombieish in nature and she doesn’t share this with anyone till later. Lee doesn’t really learn much and is kept in the dark until she turns 18 when all is revealed to her and she learns who and what she is. She lets her emotion control her and finds she has power that she can’t control quite yet. Lee is trained to control her powers and learn about her job in life.
This training is to help her in a fight. A fight with possible deadly consequences, for not only Leeowyn, but many realms of individuals. But, you will have to read it to get the rest of the story.
The rest of the story is steady and things become clearer and Leeowyn has to learn who to trust and what to do if she is to survive. Despite the beginning, I look forward to finding out what happens next.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)
on March 28, 2012 :
What we hear while we are asleep continues to resonate with us upon awakening. - Henry Reed
Leeowyn Blake was still little when her parents split up. life was pretty much normal for her and her Mom in Jacksonville, Florida until she was fourteen when her Uncle Cyle suddenly showed up. four years later, her father's family is looking forward to Leeowyn's eighteenth birthday and her awakening...
reading author Mary Parker's debut novel was a pleasant surprise. i was hooked from the book's beginning to its cliffhanger ending. the story was fast-paced and intriguing. there were so many secrets concerning Leeowyn and her relatives and some of the other characters were quite suspect as to their real motives. it was like reading a mystery with fantasy elements on it and the combination worked well for me.
i liked how Leeowyn's visions were described. whether they were real or not just made the whole story more interesting.
i also liked the coming-of-age theme in this book. Leeowyn's character gradually develops when she experiences her awakening and finds out what she must face and what her responsibilities are. she may react like a typical teenager now and then but one can see the changes in her personality as she transitions from childhood to adulthood.
overall, i find Ms. Parker's first book entertaining and delightful. i hope the second book in the Kahl'Nar Saga would be the same as well.
(reviewed long after purchase)
on Feb. 20, 2012 :
The first in a series, The Awakening of Leeowyn Blake is a young adult fantasy that tells the magical tale of a teenage girl who is not only trying to find her place in the world, but literally trying to find out which world she belongs in. Leeowyn lives in sunny Florida with her mother, until the fateful day of her fourteenth birthday, when a man claiming to be her uncle knocks on the door. The man has yellow eyes and red hair, just like Leeowyn, which convinces her that he must be related to her. After explaining that her father is dead, he tells Leeowyn he has come to take her back home, the home her mother took her from long ago. For the next four years, she splits her time between living with her mother in Florida during the summer and her uncle the rest of the year. Exactly where her uncle Cyle lives, however, is a mystery throughout most of the story. Cyle picks her up every September and during the drive to the family estate, Leeowyn always falls asleep and is never actually able to track her journey.
During the winter months she lives with her Grandmother and uncle and studies in the vast library. She befriends a girl named Peach and meets a boy named Alex, a potential romantic interest, but interspersed with the sameness of daily life, Leeowyn has nightmares about a dead girl holding a raven, and she’s convinced the girl is trying to tell her something important. It is only on her eighteenth birthday that she discovers why everyone in her uncle’s house has been so secretive: Leeowyn is actually a Guardian and she is about to “awaken,” or come into her powers. And her duty as a Guardian is to save the world, actually worlds, from the evil Ruok. This startling news and what follows makes for a truly fast-paced, page-turning read, as Lee realizes that she faces a truly difficult decision.
Although the story feels familiar, I found the characters to be engaging and likeable. Leeowyn feels like a real teen with real teen problems, not the least of which is how to handle her growing attraction to Alex. Her uncle Cyle and tutor Rodrick add a sinister air to the story, as the chapters alternate between Lee’s first person voice and the other characters’ third person point of view. There is clearly something going on that Lee is unaware of, although her recurring nightmares and her friends’ odd behavior should be enough to tip her off that everyone is keeping secrets from her. My only complaint with the story is Leeowyn’s use of pop culture references, which for some reason pulled me out of the fantasy world I wanted to stay in (although I understand why she did it.)
The book is short and the ending abrupt, and I’m sure I’m not the only reader who got to the last page only to cry “What? That’s the end?” I immediately wanted to start the second book, which I hope Ms. Parker is hard at work on.
(reviewed long after purchase)