Tuesday, April 30, 2013
Review:The Awakened:Book One (Awaken His Eyes) By Jason Tesar
I Liked this book I liked the style of writing And I found the story engaging.
There are some few annoying elements that have more to do with editing decisions and this it the way Jason decided to put things together so there is no changing that.
This novel contains One good solid story if you ignore the other two unfinished ones.
Personally I found the first chapter to be more equivalent to a prologue.
I found the next five chapter belonging to perhaps a preface.
Or maybe those two go the other way. Anyway there is a reason I say this and in part it is because the first 6 chapters of this book did not add anything to the book for me. In fact they were a distraction because I expected to get back to either one of these stories all the way through the last two thirds of the novel.
For me the real story began at chapter 7 and it's not a bad story. There are rough elements that honestly were not as rough as some recent novels I have read. Yes there is a rape yes there are slaves. I'm not sure what people want but when you tell a story these things do happen. I think it might be more objectionable when the child? in prison resort to eating raw flesh like savages and one even eventually bites another prisoner.
But, back to the story, or in this case the three threads that run for the last two thirds of the novel.
Maeryn is left without her husband,Adair, who has for all intent and purposes vanished. The readers knows a little bit about this but really not enough to help this part of the story. She is interrogated about his disappearance and since he is the governor of Bastul it should be a big deal though we are led to believe its not so big a deal and that he is easily replace and that his replacement is on its way and that Maeryn and her family will become the new governor's family. In this culture this is the common practice and it helps that Maeryn is considered attractive. Beautiful enough that her beauty seems to be one of the deciding factors in the replacements decision to take this position.
To me the first pages of the seventh chapter read well enough to be the beginning of this novel. This book has a lot of mystery and the mystery of her husbands disappearance works well without the five chapters about him and it was annoying to have him just vanish from the story.
Lemus,the socially acceptable replacement husband, is a tall thin imposing and very cruel man. He beats his slaves and eventually rapes his new wife. It is the beating of Maeryn's son, Kael's, friend Ajani -a child slave- that sets the wheels of this story into motion. Kael responds by defending his friend Ajani and attacks Lemus with a pitchfork. Lemus responds by placing the child (Kael) under arrest to be executed. Orudan Empire law forbids any attack on it soldiers, an offense punishable by death. All of this occurs in front of Maeryn who is powerless to intercede.
Maeryn become pregnant with child and since this is after the rape she passes it off as Lemus lest she lose another child to her new cruel husband.(She assumes that Kael is dead.)
Along with sending Kael to his death, Lemus removes Kael's long time tutor, Saba, from the household and threatens him with death if he or his soldiers ever see Saba again.(As far as I know he also assumes that his student Kael is dead.)
This starts the three threads of the story which follow the lives of Maeryn, Kael, and Saba.
In her desperation Maeryn becomes a spy for the Empire's enemies as she tries to secretly thwart Lemus.
Saba goes on a journey to discover his own past. ( He seems to have amnesia pertaining to his life before coming to Bastul.)
Kael- the primary figure here endures some hardship to later be pressed into service with some monks to become a religious warrior. He will have to do a lot of self examination while trying to discern the truth of the things that are happening around him. This novel seems to be mostly about Kael's journey interwoven with the parallel tales of the lives of those people who are alive and most important to him.
This is a good tale of mystery and betrayal and self discovery that starts at chapter 7.
What comes before that may have much to do with later novels and my only objection to them is that they don't really add much to this story and I would guess that they would fit nicely into whichever place might continue their stories and since the author seems to dwell a lot on the mysteries interwoven into this tale I think their absence here would just be a part of the intriguing mystery that could be woven in later when he finishes telling those two stories.
But that is just my opinion. Apparently a lot of people like this novel the way it is.
Although I didn't find it all that helpful to have them only say so in a single line or paragraph.
Some more full description of how and why they liked it would really go a long way.
I also found the forward and history and prophecy to be just a bit unnecessary to this story along with the maps and links to maps. Some people like those things though and I'm sure they had some bearing in helping the author's world building.
I found the story of Kael to be complete enough as it is in this book despite the cliffhanger-ish ending. Unfortunately when you take the incomplete nature of the first chapter's story which perhaps takes place in some alternate future. Add to that the incomplete story of Kael's father, which unfortunately had nothing that I felt greatly impacted the tone of the rest of the story it leaves the reader with three cliffhanger-ish things to deal with which may not be necessary. I'm assuming Kael's is a past history of an alternate universe though from the Forward it could be a dystopic future and that element again adds to confusion.
The prophecy and history seemed also superfluous to this story though again I am sure for the whole series they have some value.
I have not yet read the next two books but perhaps if they had been drawn into one book this novel might make more sense. I'll be a better judge of that when I read those.
I would recommend this book to anyone who loves fantasy and a bit of revisionist history or dystopia as it may be. I don't see much in the science fiction draw here because the bulk of the better part of this story reads like some far eastern monastic battle monk training and spiritual philosophy and it could take place in a wide range of historic settings almost up to the present time.