Thursday, December 5, 2013
117. The Awakener, by Amanda Strong
Fifteen-year-old Eden has a gift for awakening talents in others--but she has no idea of this. After encountering her childhood friend Micah again for the first time in years, she feels compelled to hug him. When she does so, she changes him, making him aware of a world of demons and Guardian angels and his own unique gifts. With demons threatening to break lose and destroy the world, Eden, Micah, and their friends will need all of their powers to hold back this threat.
So the basic story here--of a group of teens who need to save the world--isn't exactly unique. But Strong throws a unique spin on things by drawing heavily from the apocryphal story of Enoch and his legendary city. And honestly, the detailed research she put into this was one of the most compelling parts of the story. The rest of it I liked, but just couldn't quite connect to the characters. I also struggle sometimes understanding why a group of teens, conveniently located in the same town, are the ones meant to save the world. (This is a critique about a certain genre of YA fantasy--not just this story). Here, at least, Eden's talent for awakening talents in others does explain the geographic coincidence. But why is the world always at the mercy of teenagers? While there are a few secondary characters who are older, it's mostly the teens who figure in here.
The characters and voice also weren't quite as distinct as I would have liked. I had a hard time keeping the secondary characters straight here and some of them seemed single-dimensional. Of course--this is all just my opinion, and going by the reviews on Goodreads, mine is a minority opinion!