Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Review: The Awakening by Nora Roberts

The Awakening by Nora Roberts
Series: The Dragon Heart Legacy, Book 1
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Genre: Fantasy 
The Awakening cover
ISBN: 9781250272614
Release Date: November 24, 2020
Source: Publisher
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N | Kobo | Audible

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 twentysomething 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…

A realm of magick is closer than you think in The Awakening. Nora Roberts kicks off her Dragon Heart Legacy series with a lush and lyrical fantasy. At its core is a woman coming into her own in lands quite far from her Philadelphia home.

Breen’s life is dull and her personality mousy in a way that doesn’t suit her at all. She grew up with a mother who made her feel inadequate, who shepherded her into a career that isn’t a good fit, and she’s working as hard as she can to make ends meet. The only reason Breen’s spirit hasn’t been completely squashed is because she’s made a family of her own with friends who support and believe in her. When Breen discovers that her long-lost father left her millions she never knew about, she – with the help of her best friend, Marco – quits her job and decides to take a trip to Ireland to find herself. As she does this, her dreams become increasingly fantastical. And there seems to be a silver-haired man who keeps appearing wherever she is. In Ireland, the magickal becomes all the more real when she finds herself in the world of Talamh, a place where the Wise, the elves, the fey, and more live. A place that holds a deeper connection to Breen than she ever could have dreamed. And a place where Breen may be the key to the light holding back the encroaching darkness…

Ms. Roberts really does an amazing job of bringing her worlds to life. Even before heading to the land of the fey, The Awakening is dreamy with its picturesque locations. The Ireland of Ms. Roberts’s stories is always gorgeous and welcoming and the places Breen and Marco travel in this book are no exception. And once Breen begins to unlock her destiny, we’re treated to a magickal world that’s fascinating and makes me want to learn more. I adored the world building in this story, but hesitate to say too much for fear of spoiling the discovery for others.

The Awakening is a fitting title for this book as it truly is about Breen awakening her true self. Breen has been shoved into a box that doesn’t fit her for most of her life and her journey slowly brings out the woman she truly is. It’s an organic growth that I loved to watch and though she has “awakened,” I cannot wait to see what she becomes by the end of this trilogy. Breen is the heart and soul of this book, but she’s not alone. Her human friends, Marco, Sally, and Derrick, are so full of love and caring they melted my heart. I wanted them to be real just so I could be friends with them. In Talamh there are all sorts of supporting characters whose destinies are sure to intertwine with Breen’s own. The most intriguing of them all is Keegan, a man who chose to pick up the staff and sword when destiny called at too young an age. Keegan isn’t what you’d call warm and cuddly, but then he has had no reason to be. He’s a good man, but it’s a heavy burden he carries, protecting and leading Talamh in the battle against the darkness. He and Breen clash repeatedly, but their chemistry is palpable when they share the page. And since this is Nora Roberts, I will note that this book isn’t a romance, though what does unfold is hopefully the beginning of a love story.

The Awakening is gorgeous and engaging, but it’s just the beginning of a larger story. The first leg of the journey has great character development and delightful world building. The only downside is that when the book ended I wanted to keep going, to delve further into this world of witches and dragons, of visions and magick; a world where those of the light must pull together to fight the encroaching dark and the villain who would destroy them all.

FTC Disclosure: 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.