The Awakening is the second book in K.E. Ganshert's YA trilogy, and if you thought The Gifting was good, just you wait!
"I can't go home. It's not safe. Nowhere is."
Tess Eckhart isn’t crazy. She’s not suffering from psychosis. She and Luka Williams are part of The Gifting. Before they can find out what that means, the man with all the answers turns up dead. The only thing he left behind? A few patient files that lead to the nation’s most lawless city.
With authorities chasing them, Luka and Tess escape into the very heart of peril and against all odds, find an underground community of people just like them. They aren’t gathered together for the sole purpose of survival, either. They have a plan and a purpose—to awaken as many people with The Gifting as possible. It’s dangerous and deadly work. Tess wants to help. Luka is desperate to keep her safe—a task that proves increasingly difficult as Tess’s gifting comes to light.
Could Tess Eckhart be the One they’ve been waiting for? The One who can save them all?
I very much enjoyed The Gifting, which introduces readers to Tess and Luka, part of "The Gifting," people who have special powers. So I don't mean this as a knock on that book, which I gave 4-1/2 out of 5 stars to, when I say that The Awakening is so much better! Basically, Ganshert took the solid base that she'd established in The Gifting and kicked it up a notch. The Awakening is full of action, danger, and romance, and it moves at breakneck speed.
Tess and Luka find themselves in Detroit with a group of others who are like them. There, they can hone their abilities and hopefully save others (like Tess' grandma). Most of this book takes place within the walls of their underground sanctuary, where many intriguing characters are introduced. The book careens toward its conclusion ... which is a gigantic cliffhanger. I listened to this on audiobook while mowing my lawn (which made mowing much less terrible), and when it ended, I literally yelled, "You're kidding me!" And then I looked around sheepishly to make sure none of my neighbors had heard me.
The only thing I didn't completely love about the novel was Tess. Her impatience and self-reliance grated on me, and I hated how she began to exclude Luka when she knew he wouldn't approve of her actions. I had to remind myself that she was a teenager, acting as teens tend to act! At the end of the book, she finally "came to her senses," so to speak, and I anticipate we'll be seeing a more mature Tess in the final book.
As for the audiobook, narrator Heather Masters (who also narrated the other two books) did a wonderful job, doing more emotive reading than acting. One of my pet peeves in audiobooks is when the narrator tries to act out all the dialog; Masters brought meaning and emotion without being over the top, and I appreciated that. 5 stars.
Note: This is one series that you definitely need to read in order! Start with The Gifting (which seems to be perpetually free for Kindle) and go from there.
The Gifting (4-1/2 stars) and of Ganshert's adult titles Wildflowers from Winter (5 stars), A Broken Kind of Beautiful (5 stars & my favorite read of 2015), An October Bride (5 stars), and The Perfect Arrangement (5 stars).
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this audiobook free for review from the author. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Also, some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase an item, I will receive an affiliate commission. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
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