I borrowed an audio copy of Nora Roberts‘ The Awakening from the local library.
In the realm of Talamh, a teenage warrior named Keegan emerges from a lake holding a sword – representing both power and the terrifying responsibility to protect the Fey. In another realm known as Philadelphia, a young woman has just discovered she possesses a treasure of her own….
When Breen Kelly was a girl, her father would tell her stories of magical places. Now she’s an anxious 20-something mired in student debt and working a job she hates. But one day she stumbles upon a shocking discovery: Her mother has been hiding an investment account in her name. It has been funded by her long-lost father – and it’s worth nearly four million dollars.
This newfound fortune would be life-changing for anyone. But little does Breen know that when she uses some of the money to journey to Ireland, it will unlock mysteries she couldn’t have imagined. Here, she will begin to understand why she kept seeing that silver-haired, elusive man, why she imagined his voice in her head saying, “Come home, Breen Siobhan. It’s time you came home.” Why she dreamed of dragons. And where her true destiny lies – through a portal in Galway that takes her to a land of faeries and mermaids, to a man named Keegan, and to the courage in her own heart that will guide her through a powerful, dangerous destiny…..
Before I get to the review, let me start with a humorous little story (that doesn’t reflect too well on me) about why I avoided listening to this book for so long. And I did actually actively avoid it, several times.
My local library doesn’t have all that many online romantic fantasy audiobooks and I’ve listened to most of them. For the last year or so, every time I’d check for something new this book would come up as recommended. And it looks like everything I’d love. It has fae, and magic, a little romance, and a dragon on the front. But I’d always skip it, saying, “I don’t like Nora Roberts’ writing.” I was firm in this belief. People have recommended her books to me and I’ve wrinkle my nosed and said, “No, I don’t like her books” and demured.
But I recently thought to go back and refresh my memory about which books I’d read and couldn’t find a single one. Either I failed to document it—which seems unlikely considering I run a whole hobby blog for the purpose of documenting my reading—I’ve confused Nora with another author, or I’d just prejudged her. I, honestly, fear it was probably the latter. To say I was surprised is an understatement.
So, I thought, “Well hell, guess I’ll give The Awakening a chance after all.” Especially since I’ve read so many Awakening books this year. The actual reading challenge is done. But I still laugh when I scroll through my review page and see Awakening, Awakening, Awakening (along with a few The Awakenings). Adding to the list amuses me more than I can say. (I know, it’s ridiculous. But you take joy where you can find it, right?)
And now I’ve officially read a Nora Roberts book and can convince the library’s algorithm to stop recommending this one to me. And I’m sad to say that I didn’t love it. It was long and slow. The romantic interest was an asshat and there is no actual romantic development between her not liking him and jumping in bed and falling for him. The gay people were super cliched (though I’m thrilled to have seen the rep at all). The main character’s all but effortless and basically instant publishing success was more fantastical that the faeries and witches aspect of the book. And the whole thing ended on a cliffhanger.
I will say that the writing itself is very good and I enjoyed the narrator. (I personally couldn’t tell if her Irish accents were realistic ones, but I liked listening to it.) I think that if this had been half as long or if the plot had traveled twice as far into the actual story I might have enjoyed it. As it was, I was largely bored by it.
As this is my first Nora Roberts book, I don’t know if this is representative of her work or not. But I do know I’m in no hurry for more. Maybe I was on to something all those years I claimed not to like her books.
All Characters Wanted: The Awakening
The Awakening by Nora Roberts