Thursday, August 6, 2015

ARC Review: Reawakened by Colleen Houck

Title: Reawakened
Series: Of Metal and Wishes #1
Author: Colleen Houck
Published: August 11, 2014 by Delacorte Press (Penguin Random House) 
(Amazon / Goodreads)

Synopsis: 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 received an advance copy of this book from the publisher at BEA in exchange for an honest review. This fact has not changed my opinion ***

I'm slightly familiar with Colleen Houck's previous work but she is an author who I haven't read any books from. But when I read the synopsis of this book I added it to my TBR without a second thought. Reawakened sounded like a fascinating and engaging fantasy read and that's exactly what it was. Despite some things that didn't work, I couldn't put this book down.

Colleen Houck was able to develop a creative and enthralling world in this book. I like my fantasy to have a history and a mythology, in the case of Reawakened it is based on real mythology. I'm not very familiar with the Ancient Egyptian stories that are used in this book but that made it all the more interesting. It came off as creative and interesting and I loved learning about an ancient culture and religion that I only learned a little about in school. Sure, we all know the basics, mummies and pyramids, but there is so much more to it than that. The mythology really came alive with exquisite detail and of course magic. The magic was really interesting and combined well with the world and the plot of the book.

But as much as I liked the actual world of Reawakened, the world building was a little problematic for me at times. The world-building is a type of the tell style that I refer to as "storytime." The narrative is peppered with moments when one character or another with tell their history or part of the mythology that is pertinent to the story. I think this kind of world-building works when you are dealing with mythology, like in Reawakened. As a reader who is not really very familiar with the Eqyptian mythology I found the myths and world-building to be interesting. And while I liked the stories, it was also often independent from the plot development at the time. It added color to the book but it also added to a sort of disconnected kind of plot. It was often a little jarring to be thrown back into the modern world or the larger plot of the story after the mythology was pointed out. It mostly worked with the use of the myths to build the world but at times it took me out of the plot of the story.

Which is a shame, because I really liked the plot. The beginning of the book was like a "time traveller fish out of water" story, a trope that I enjoy a lot because hilarity ensues. You know what I'm talking about, when a character is brought to a time and place that they don't understand so they ask all kinds of questions, misinterpret things, and complain how things have changed (think the TV show Sleepy Hollow). Then the book took on an adventure to save the world quality. I also really enjoyed this part of the book, I may have even enjoyed this even more. The stakes were high and it had me on the edge of my seat. And while it did build to a thrilling conclusion, the flow between the two stories wasn't totally perfect. It did feel a bit like two different plot lines but they were both really fantastic so I'll forgive it for that. I'm really interested to see where the rest of the series goes. This is the first book in I think a trilogy and the main storyline did have a clear ending but it still left things unresolved and it definitely has me wanting more.

As far as the characters go, they didn't totally jump off the page for me but I did like them. I enjoyed Lily and her struggle for independence and desire to do what she wanted instead of what was expected of her. There were also some really likable and charming secondary characters like Asten and Ahmosr but they got so little screen time in the face of the romance. The romance did have it's moments but on the whole it didn't have me swooning (although if you know me, that's not uncommon). I think that may have been because I never really connected with Amon. He was likable enough but I liked him better during the fish out of water context, not the trying to save the world context. But to me this was more of a plot-driven book so my feelings on the characters didn't get in the way of me enjoying the book.

Okay, so before I go I just want to take a moment to admire this cover. I don't often mention cover love in my reviews because you know, you shouldn't judge a book by them but this one is just gorgeous. The picture doesn't do it justice either. It is one of the most intricate and fancy covers I have seen is a long time. Not only is it metallic and shiny which will look gorgeous in the finished version but there all these hieroglyphics throughout the design. I actually found myself taking the time to admire it while I was reading. It's just so pretty I had to gush!

I give Reawakened by Colleen Houck an 8.5 out of 10

Buy/Borrow/Bypass: Buy/Borrow. I mean it's a beautiful book and you should buy it just to stare at the beauty but it's also a really interesting fantasy read. On the whole this was a really entertaining read with a creative world and a thrilling plot. Fantasy fans and those who like globe-trotting adventures/mysteries should pick this one up.

Read This if You Liked:
Something Strange and Deadly by Susan Dennard
The Sin Eater's Daughter by Melinda Salisbury
Exquisite Captive by Heather Demitrios

Have you read Reawakened? What did you think? Leave me a comment with your thoughts. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!


  1. I have read other reviews that have made me decide to give this one a try and given my love of Egyptian mythology, I hope it won't disappoint!
    Fantastic review Cassie, and thank you for the warning about the "storytelling" style of world building!

    1. Yeah it seems to me people more familiar with Egyptian Mythology don't really like it as much as people who just have a general interest in the subject. I hope you like it though and I'm glad I could help.

  2. I haven't read any of Colleen Houck's books, although I do own Tiger's Curse by her and all the covers to her books are beautiful! I'm excited to pick this up since the synopsis sounds really interesting... Who could avoid a story regarding about egyptians?!

    1. This was my first foray into Colleen Houck. I'm not sure I'll pick up any of her other stuff but I liked it. I couldn't avoid a story of the Egyptians either.

  3. You know my thoughts on this amazingness. My heart needs it!! I love any and all mythology so much I'm really excited to see some Eygptian for once! I skimmed your review but love the gifs per the norm!

    1. Haha, I offered to send my copy to you! The Egyptian mythology was definitely an interesting change. I liked it. I hope you get your shiny, pretty copy and enjoy it.