Saturday, May 11, 2024

Nora Roberts - The Awakening

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…

Comment: This is the first book in the Dragon Heart Legacy trilogy by Nora Roberts. I've finally got the chance to purchase the third book and will now read the trilogy in three consecutive months. 
(as is my usual tactic with series or trilogies, if I can)

In this first story we meet Breen Kelly, a young woman who is tired and has a rather sad life, she is a teacher and isn't eager to think she needs to this her whole life, but things are what they are. Everything changes when she accidentally finds some paperwork at her mother's house claiming she has a lot of money in the bank, in her own name. After a phone call, she finds out her father had been sending money from Ireland but her mother never told her about it and more, she has not helped Breen, who had to work several jobs at the same time she studied. When she is able, Breen decides to take advantage of this newfound money and travels to Ireland, to find her father or information about him and she ends up discovering more than she imagined, for her father came from another world, a fantastical place where the Fae and other types of beings exist. Breen is actually welcomed by a grandmother and others she forgot existed when her mother decided to take her away as a child. But it turns out not everyone in her family liked this and her grandfather is a terrible enemy, one Breen is supposed to help defeat... but how?  

Considering the years and the experience the author has with writing, her craft - as she likes to say - is as superb as always and if there was a reason why I feel in love with her books and why she is certainly the author whose books I've read the most so far, is her ability to write an engaging story. It does help she is prolific, but even the books I liked less weren't badly written, perhaps just less appealing. This means that this story is as fascinating and as engaging, but I must say the pace was a bit too slow.

Unlike her usual trilogy tactic, this one seems to be about Breen and her discovering of her roots, skills and powers. It doesn't seem this will be divided into three main couples, one book pr couple while the ongoing plot develops sequentially. I can't say if I like this way better or not, but thinking of the amount of pages and how so much was happening so slowly, I got the impression the whole setting up of the plot points took too long.

As a matter of fact, I did like the slower beginning, when we are given scenes of Breen struggling, mostly emotionally, about her days and I think this set up the mood well enough, especially for when she finds out about what her mother kept from her. Perhaps what wasn't as interesting to me, and this is something I've noticed or felt like in regards to other more recent books by her, is that everything is a little too well done, the writing took a very smooth and staged path, which means her style is easily recognizable, but perhaps a little too repetitive. Her older books seemed to be more spontaneous, or the scenes/situations felt like it. Now, her writing is as great, as I've said, but it feels less intrinsic.

Things obviously change when Breen travels to Ireland (reading this author's books through the years, so many set in this country, did make me want to visit, that is true about how captivating her words are) and discovers the new world Tamlah, which I saw as being parallel to ours, where the Fae and other beings co exist, but where magic and paranormal are the norm. This is something done in other series too, but it was interesting to see Breen did feel a little conflicted about the two worlds, about what she should do in regards to her options. The fact Tamlah has an evil man to defeat, her own grandfather means she needs to prioritize this, but I think it's not hard to see where the main story is going.

It is true that Breen isn't an immediately perfect student learning about her powers and her fighting skills, but everything is described in such a way that I can't help think Breen is a perfect heroine. I don't know how to say this but a different type of interaction with others, different dynamics to her surroundings instead of having this incredible task to defeat the bad guy would make for a more compelling story and having Breen deal with these changes in her life in a more realistic way might make for a fresh type of story for the author. I think some ideas are wonderful, or seem so, and then they don't go to any exciting place. I can't say I dislike the author's choices - I like her books - but sometimes the execution is too perfect, too flawless and the characters seem to blend among each other.

Since this is the first in the trilogy, nothing definitive really happens and the book ends on a slight cliffhanger. It's nothing radical, and I can wait one more month to read it, and I predict it will have more content and scenes set on Tamlah, probably so that Breen can get used to this "world" and her role as a supposed savior. I'm still hopeful to see great scenes and more excitement...
Grade: 7/10

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