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Awakening by Natalie King

Awakening, by Natalie King draws you in from the first page. There’s no getting to know the characters here – you are into the action from the first paragraph. This could have been a flaw, but instead this approach gives a heightened curiosity, and King keeps it going right through the book by slowly revealing a hundred year old mystery.

When Zelie Taylor pulls a pendant out of a lake and puts it on, she can’t begin to imagine what will unfold. She begins to hear a voice in her head, and thinks she is going crazy. But Támas has been trapped in that pendant for nearly a hundred years, and now he can see everything through Zelie’s eyes. To get Támas out of her head, Zelie must find a way to awaken his body which is sleeping nearby.

Awakening is an intriguing story, steeped in mystery, with fantasy elements. It is quite a dark, moody read at times, but King has a lot of fun with it. She doesn’t let the reader know who to trust, and even Zelie herself has mysteries about her that aren’t revealed until quite deep into the book. King has done a great job of pulling the reader in and not letting them go. I wanted to keep reading until I’d finished it in one sitting.

Set in a small town in New Zealand, Awakening doesn’t try and push its ‘New Zealandness’ down your throat like so many others. Instead of trying to explain every strange Kiwi thing to those who’ve never been here, King has subtly woven in little details (like marmite toast) naturally so that while it has a New Zealand flavour (the book, not the toast), it feels familiar enough for anyone reading it anywhere in the world.

A young adult book full of fantasy and mystery, with a dash of romance as well, Awakening is the perfect mix of genres.

REVIEWER: JJ McConnachie

TITLE: Awakening

AUTHOR(S): Natalie King

PUBLISHER: Penguin Random House

RRP: $19.90


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