Reawakened (Reawakened, #1)

Rating: 3.5 Stars

Synopsis via Goodreads:

When seventeen-year-old Lilliana Young enters the Metropolitan Museum of Art one morning during spring break, the last thing she expects to find is a live Egyptian prince with godlike powers, who has been reawakened after a thousand years of mummification.

And she really can’t imagine being chosen to aid him in an epic quest that will lead them across the globe to find his brothers and complete a grand ceremony that will save mankind.

But fate has taken hold of Lily, and she, along with her sun prince, Amon, must travel to the Valley of the Kings, raise his brothers, and stop an evil, shape-shifting god named Seth from taking over the world.

From New York Times bestselling author Colleen Houck comes an epic adventure about two star-crossed teens who must battle mythical forces and ancient curses on a journey with more twists and turns than the Nile itself.

I think of Colleen Houck as my guilty pleasure author. I will almost never recommend any of her books to someone else because I can name a thousand-and-one reasons why her books are bad and have annoying characters and why I can so easily beat the absolute crap out of it in a book review . . . and yet I still read all her books.

I wrote reviews on all of her Tiger’s Curse books, and none of them were pretty. I make fun of her characters. I roll my eyes not even two pages into her books at the things the main character thinks and says. My inner snarky critic has a field day when reading one of Houck’s books.

But I enjoy her books in the same way someone might enjoy a really, really bad reality TV show. It’s absolute crap, and yet it still airs for seven seasons. Why is this? Because even though we could critic it and the people in it until the sun goes down, there’s still something inexplicably entertaining about it.

This book, I will confess, held my attention for all eight hours I read it in one sitting, despite it’s many, many flaws. I’ve been looking forward to reading this for some time now, ever since I heard about it coming out. It was one of my main looking-forward-to books of 2015.

Because here’s the thing: Despite The Tiger’s Curse series’ many, many flaws and annoyances and despite the scathing review I gave it (and that of which I still stand by), I’ve re-read the series. I checked it out of my library twice, because the idea of it was so good and so amazing. Because the creativeness Houck uses to imagine such an interesting world and with mythology woven in (accurate or not) impressed me.

(And, yes, I will admit it: I even enjoyed the romance between Kelsey and Ren.)

Amon murmured against my neck, “You taste like melted desert honey.”  

And when I started Reawakened and after reading the synopsis, I was thinking this was going to be practically a copy-and-paste of The Tiger’s Curse series. And – here’s the most messed up part – I was so, so very much hoping that was the case.

Which is awful of me. I mean, I don’t typically want to read the exact same story in two separate series. But here I was putting all my hope in that Kelsey was going to be Lily and Ren was going to be Amon. (Gosh, I’m going to loose so many points as a YA reviewer for this.)

And it was, for the most part. Lily meets Amon and is taken to a foreign land (in this case, Egypt) to concur an ancient evil curse that has to do with why Amon is alive and why he has special powers now. And, yes, Amon also has brothers, just like Ren did. And, yes, they are very attractive and seem to have a thing for Lily.

Now let me get to my snarky inner critic here.

Firstly, I was rolling my eyes and sighing not even two pages into this book. The same can be said for when I started The Tiger’s Curse. Lily can be annoying and very teenage girl-ish. And, obviously, she is a teenage girl, so this should be excusable for the most part, but there are times when I just wanted to slap her.

But, also, there are times when she says something or comes to a conclusion where I just think she’s very wise for her age. Lily never lets her emotions completely ruin her. She thinks things through. She doesn’t go running into trouble just for the love interest to save her. She also doesn’t think that without this newfound love for Amon she’ll shrivel up and die. If he rejects her, yeah, she’s going to be upset, but not crawl-into-a-ball-and-cry kind of upset. Instead, she thinks she’s lucky just to have been on this adventure and to be able to see Egypt in such a way.

And there are times when my inner feminist is just screaming. Times when I felt like Amon is just pushing Lily around and she’s just letting it happen. There are times when I want Lily to rage, to scream at him for doing this to her. Because while Lily agrees to go with Amon to Egypt to raise his brothers and defeat this darkness, she doesn’t really get a choice. Amon can literally command her to do whatever he wants, and because of the spell he cast on her, she can’t say no, no matter how much she might want to. He also put this spell on her without her permission, and a part of this spell along with never being able to physically defy Amon is that he can take her life force, which literally hurts her and could possibly kill her.

Obviously, Lily isn’t so happy with this. But if Amon hadn’t put that spell on her, he would have died and the darkness would have won. And so Lily lets it go and helps Amon raise his brothers in Egypt, literally dropping everything for this, trusting him enough to leave her parents without any warning to travel to a country she’s never been to.

So on one hand, I guess Lily’s actions could be seen as heroic and selfless. I mean, she saw that this spell Amon put on her as an evil for a greater good, I suppose. And I’m glad Lily can be the bigger person and see that.

But I would have liked for some more raging around then. I would have even liked Lily to slap Amon. He could have handled the situation better. I would have liked Lily to be a little more pissed off that Amon occasionally treats her like crap and she has literally put her life on hold because she was in the wrong place at the wrong time and now she has to help save the world and deal with a moody ancient prince. But that’s just me.

In terms of romance, I much preferred The Tiger’s Curse. In fact, overall I prefer The Tiger’s Curse series.

But that didn’t stop me from looking at my clock at 2:00 AM this morning, having gotten Reawakened the day before and not having put it down besides to eat, and realizing that I wasn’t going to bed until I finished this book. I didn’t even do the whole “I’ll go to sleep right after this chapter” crap. I just knew I wasn’t sleeping until I finished it, which wasn’t until about 4:00 AM.

I love the world building, both here and in The Tiger’s Curse. Partly this is due to my loving books that take place in present day, but in other countries. Even if it may not accurately portray that country and its cultures, it’s not like I’ll probably know any better and, hey, it’s fiction for a reason. Literary license and all that. So if the author wants to mix and change a country’s culture and layout a little bit, what do I care so long as it’s entertaining?

The other reason is because I love mythology, all types. I took a Greek mythology course my freshman year of college, and I loved it. I also love YA books that portray it or parts of it.

I know a lot of people who hate Houck’s books because she takes a literary license to the mythology she uses, and I don’t really understand that. It’s fiction for a reason, and so long as she’s creative about it, I don’t really care.

I can’t even stress how much I adore Houck’s creativity. It’s right up my ally. It makes up for the many character flaws and cringe worthy romance at parts. But, hey, it’s still entertaining.

My gosh, this was a conundrum of a review. Lots of good and bad here, but still enjoyable.


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Filed under 3 star books

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