Review: Awakening by Shannon Duffy

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Awakening by Shannon DuffyAwakening by Shannon Duffy
Published by Entangled Teen on April 7, 2015
Pages: 352
Source: the publisher
Buy on Amazon

A thrilling, futuristic sci-fi novel set in a unique and thought-provoking world, from author Shannon Duffy.

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 from the Terrorscape—a nightmare machine used to punish all Noncompliants—and 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?

Awakening really took me by surprise. It started out like every other YA Dystopian. But then I realized, at this point, it’s almost impossible to come up with an original Dystopian plot line, so I let it go and just tried to enjoy the book. Boy, was I wrong! While some parts were definitely cliche, the overall plot of Awakening was epic. It took awhile for the story and characters to grow on me, but once they did, I was hooked!

There wasn’t really anything special about Desiree, especially in the beginning. Like all Dystopian heroines, she believes the government is good and all-knowing. She believes their methods and rules are all meant to keep them safe and protect them and she has no desire to step out of line. But slowly, her world starts to unravel and she realizes that the Protectorate has been manipulating and brain-washing everyone the whole time. And, like all good Dystopian heroines, she decides she doesn’t want to do as she’s told and she refuses to go down without a fight. She didn’t have a ton of character growth throughout the novel, but she definitely had some. I liked the way she refused to sit on the side-lines whenever she was told to. Instead, she always pulls her weight when she needs to and she doesn’t complain – much – even when things look grim.

I didn’t like nor dislike Darian. Again, he was pretty much a typical Dystopian hero: He didn’t believe for a second that the Protectorate was trying to help the people and the things he told Desiree were the first step to her realizing that not all was as it seemed. I liked how fierce and protective of Desiree he was. I had trouble shipping them in the beginning, but by the end, they were really starting to grow on me.

I was pretty indifferent to Asher in the beginning, as well. It was really hard to like him after the way he treated Desiree when they were kids. And I expected more to come out of him and Mallory, though maybe something still will if there’s a book two. But the way he stepped it up and did the things he did? That was incredibly brave of him and he definitely earned my respect.

Laken on the other hand.. Ugh. I know she was trying to be a good friend, but I really can’t stand her for the things she did, even if they were unintentional. In the end, she really wasn’t a good friend. I actually hope we see more of her in book two (fingers crossed!!) and that she redeems herself in a major way.

I think, if we’d gotten to know them a bit better, I would have really liked Harper and Sage. They seemed like decent, caring people and like they could have been really great friends for Desiree to have around. I also liked Mr. Williams, and Desiree’s parents, though again, I would have liked to get to know them better.

The idea of the Dreamscape and Terrorscape were absolutely fascinating, if not a bit creepy and shudder-inducing. Of all the things that happened in this book, those definitely made it stand out the most in a sea of YA Dystopian books. The Terrorscape, especially, was incredibly intense and creepy, though one aspect of the Terrorscape totally made me think of The Hunger Games, while the beginning part of the book could best be compared to Matched by Ally Condie. Like, 60% of the book reminded me of Matched. And some parts reminded me of Delirium by Lauren Oliver.

The ending was pretty epic and intense. At first, I thought the book was going to end neatly, like a stand-alone. And it basically did. So if there isn’t a book two, it’s not like it ended on a major cliffhanger. But there was enough of a cliffhanger that I’m really hoping we get a second book so I can see what happens next; it wasn’t until well into the second half of the book that I truly started to like and care for the characters, so now I’m really anxious to see what happens next for them.

Overall, if you’re a fan of YA Dystopians and don’t mind that, at this point, the basic story structure is the same for almost all of them, then I definitely recommend you give Awakening a try. Once you get into the story, it’ll be impossible to put the book down and the few things that make Awakening stand out will REALLY make it stand out! It’s a fun, slightly intense read and, by the end, you’ll appreciate the characters and enjoy the plot.


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