Monday, July 4, 2011

REVIEW: Awaken Me Darkly by Gena Showalter

Okay, clear some space for me on the bandwagon, because I am officially a Gena Showalter fan!

Somebody recommended the Alien Huntress series to me a while back. I wasn’t immediately sold on it, but added it to my used bookstore watch-list. When I did find a copy, the cover blurb about “Buffy the Vampire Slayer meets Alien Nation” guaranteed a purchase (I love both TV shows to death!), but I still wasn’t inclined to give it any sort of priority in my TBR pile.

So, what changed? Well, we had a couple of road trips planned for the Canada Day weekend, and I decided to kick it old-school with some good old-fashioned books. Yes, I left the e-reader at home and stashed a stack of paperbacks in my bag – one of which was Awaken Me Darkly.

OMG, what a book! It had me hooked from the opening scene, and never let me go. It was exciting, it was mysterious, it was action-packed, it was sexy, and it was even a bit dangerously romantic. I immediately fell in love with Mia Snow, and as for Kyrin . . . wow, just thinking about him makes me giddy with anticipated pleasure! Heck, I know it’s probably wrong of me, but I’ll even admit to a serious girl-crush on the kinky, sexy, outrageous Lilla!

I’ll wait to read at least one more entry in the series before I pass judgement, but Mia is already contending for a spot in the top tier of my paranormal/sci-fi heroine hierarchy. She is definitely one kick-ass woman, and I loved the fact that she fully embraces her role. There are no whiny moments of guilt, no lovelorn angst, and no bitching about her regrets. She knows what she has sacrificed for her career as an alien huntress, and she’s okay with it. Even when Kyrin begins to draw out the woman inside the huntress, she fights it all the way, and not because she’s afraid of her emotions, but because she knows they’ll interfere with her judgement.

For me, this book had the perfect balance. The romantic elements weren’t just tacked on to broaden the audience, but they also didn’t overwhelm the telling of a good story. I thought the pacing was very good as well, giving us a few breathers, but otherwise keeping us racing along towards the conclusion. The mystery surrounding Mia’s origins might have been a little thin, but I don’t think a big reveal was the ever point – the way the hints were dropped and connections made, I think we were intended us to figure things out before Mia, in which case the mystery works just fine.

For the first book in a series, I appreciated how deftly Gena introduced the concept of aliens among us, and how easily she passed off the technological advances (pyre guns, self-driving cars, water-less showers, etc.) as common-place. It always bothers me when characters in a science fiction story are too aware of how cool and advanced their technology is. Having said that, I would love to see the back story of our first alien contact explored at some point – I’m just glad she didn’t bog down this first volume with those details.

Monday is always a good day for hitting the used bookstores downtown to see what got dropped off over the weekend, and Enslave Me Sweetly will definitely be at the top of my shopping list!

1 comment:

  1. The books rock through out the entire series! I think Mia even gets tougher. There is a new book coming out in the series in Sept (I think) it's Dallas! I've been wanting his book since I first read him. Oh, and the McKell is HOT too.