Awaken by B. T. Narro
“Desil has spent his life honing his magic, but a promise to his mother has kept him from doing anything worthwhile with it. Now all he does is help his mother manage her tavern as his father rests in a grave. Desil knows there’s at least one other mage somewhere in this territory who can do what he can; they share a connection through their magic, although they’ve never met. He stays up nights wondering what they might be able to accomplish together.
When an opportunity to not only meet this mage but change the course of his future finally presents itself, Desil jumps at the chance. A great leader has disappeared, leaving clues that only Desil and this other mage can see. War is coming, and following the clues could mark Desil as a traitor, but he trained his whole life for something. If this isn’t it, then what is? He might unearth a new power capable of ending war, or he might die trying. Either is better than doing nothing.” – From Amazon
Awaken was a difficult book to review, not because of the content of the book, but because of the many different interpretations that can be placed upon it. Therefore, before we begin, we want to go over the importance of interpreting a work in the best possible light when reviewing. The reason for this is that the reader/reviewer can never be certain of the reasoning an author uses when deciding how to go about presenting their work. These choices are both artistic, but also dependent on the target audience as well as the atmosphere that the author is trying to create. On the surface, Awaken is a rather easy read, especially considering it is aimed at those around college age. Rather simple points are reiterated in a manner that, at times, annoyed us. These facts combined would compel some readers, perhaps, to misinterpret the intention of the author, and since Mister Narro has been quite prolific in his writing lately, we can assume some intent on his part. The question is then, if it is intentional, what is the purpose of it?
Desil does not begin the book as a particularly likable character. He does not know what he wants to do with his life, he has been protected by his mother, in some respects, and he has not had to make any important decisions for himself. He has a rather rigid view of right and wrong and tends to focus on details that are important to him, shutting out most else. This is reflected in the style of the work. Though written in third person, it is presented from Desil’s perspective, and thus his personality shines through much of it. We can then assume that much of the way the work is presented is due to the limitations of a character such as Desil. This is not inherently bad, and once properly understood, it puts the novel in perspective. We will say that multiple points of view could have improved this novel, as we cannot think of any aside from Desil. This would have allowed the author to vary the voice of the narrator and give a better view into what some of the other characters were thinking.
As the novel comes to a close, Desil does show some growth, though perhaps not as much as we would have liked, we still have time for that, this is only the first book after all. Despite his growth, Desil becomes only a tad more likable, but we hope to see this change in the future.
The Rating: B+
Considering everything, and interpreting the intent of the author in the best possible light, this book is a solid foray into Mister Narro’s world of Ovira. Many moments worked well, while a couple fell a little flat. Overall, solid writing and a decent pace save the day, showing that Mister Narro is well practiced in his craft. While we would have liked to see more variation in language and deeper insight into the other characters, it does little to diminish the fun of reading Awaken.
Do you want to read Awaken (The Mortal Mage Book 1)? You can find it on Amazon.