Book Review: Awakening by Shannon Duffy

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Title: Awakening
Author: Shannon Duffy
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Publication Date: April 7. 2015
Genres: Science Fiction, Dystopian, Young Adult



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Shannon Duffy
Entangled Teen, April 2015
ISBN 978-1-62266-522-8

From the publisher—

Desiree Six (because she was born on a Friday) believes in everything the Protectorate stands for. She likes the safety and security of having her entire life planned out-her career, her mate, even the date of her death. She doesn’t even think to question when Darian, her childhood friend and neighbor, is convicted of murdering his parents. They had seemed like such a loving family. But if he was convicted, then he must have done it.

Then Darian shows up in her room late one night. He has escaped the Terrorscape-a nightmare machine used to punish all Noncompliants-and he needs Desiree’s help. What he tells her rocks her world to its core and makes her doubt everything she’s ever been told. With this new information, will Desiree and Darian be able to escape the Protectorate before it’s too late?

There is much that I like about this novel but also a few things I didn’t. Let’s get the negative stuff out of the way, shall we?

The one thing above all others that lifts a dystopian above the rest of the pack is worldbuilding and it’s here that I felt a disconnect. I wish the author had been a bit clearer about when exactly this takes place. Supposedly it’s 38 years in the future but from what starting point? At first, I really thought it was around 2053 but it’s just not credible to me that the Protectorate could have gained such complete control and developed technologies like the Terrorscape and the like just 38 years from now. I don’t buy that all of society would have become so submissive so quickly either. Later, I began to realize that the overpopulation, pollution, disease, etc., had taken place far later than our own time so this had to be much farther in the future. The credibility was restored but then I was distracted for a long time by trying to figure out when this is all happening. All of that could have been avoided simply by giving a year.

There are occasional oddities scattered throughout the story—the Protectorate goes to inordinate lengths to keep the citizens healthy but there’s a restaurant that serves burgers, fries and Cherry Coke; Cherry Coke and Sprite still exist even though this is presumably a fairly distant future; pollution is a hotbutton but people are still driving cars—and, while such things didn’t do any harm, they did make me stop and take a second look, pulling me out of the story.

The romance seemed a little bit rushed.

I hate clowns.

All that said, this was a most enjoyable read and I was able to connect with the more important characters. Rae herself is somewhat appealing in her innocence but even more so when she begins to wake up, so to speak. Her growing awareness is believable and that’s important; the tale would not work otherwise. Some of Rae’s actions are reckless but the girl is 16 and has been sheltered her entire life so I didn’t expect her to always be coolheaded. I’d like to know much more about Asher and then there’s Darian, hottie of the day. As much as I like Darian, he does show some qualities that raised my hackles, particularly his need to always be protective of Rae and in control. He’s the kind of guy who could turn into an abuser if somebody doesn’t show him the error of his ways. Still, Rae caught my attention the most of the primary players. There are secondary characters that landed in either the plus or the minus column and they aren’t as well developed but the only one who actually annoyed me was Rae’s mother, just because she’s so damn perky 😉

The plot works on the whole and Rae’s growing comprehension of what the Protectorate is really all about is compelling. The pace also is strong and, in fact, I was caught up in the story very quickly. I also appreciated Ms. Duffy’s occasional insertion of a new element, something else to make the story even more energized.

So, when all is said and done, yes, there are a few things that are not quite right but I do recommend Awakening and I’m really hoping there will be a sequel.

Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, April 2015.

About the Author

Shannon DuffyAuthor of MG and YA books full of adventure, I grew up on the east coast of Canada in the
province of Newfoundland and now live in Ontario. I love writing, reading, fashion, fitness, and traveling.

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