AK Lee’s Review of Awakening

21 October 2019

The day arrives. Your book is published. It’s still a month or two away from the bookshelves, but you’re holding a physical copy in your hand, and let me tell you, there’s nothing like it. Absolutely nothing. But this is when a new kind of panic sets in:

How do you attract potential readers to your book when they already have their favorite authors?*

A new book and a new author is a big risk, and not just to publishers. We’ve all been there before — read the synopsis at the back of the book, trusted the recommendation of a respected friend, and saw the 5-star reviews on GoodReads and Amazon. Yet, by the end of chapter 1, we feel disappointed, confused, and now worried that we’ve invested our time in a book that’s not truly to our liking.

I hate this feeling as a reader, and it crushes me as a writer to think about someone reacting this way to my book. Yeah, I get that my book won’t be liked by everyone — even Harry Potter didn’t please everyone! — but it is my sincere hope that anyone who picks up Awakening finds something redeeming that can keep them going to the end, even if they decide the entire series isn’t for them.

So when I received this review from AK Lee (she reviews books like it’s a paying job, though we all know it isn’t), I was filled with gratitude that she not only read it, but took time to review it.

With so many books to choose from, I hope this review helps you decide whether Awakening is for you. Happy reading!

After attending Natasha Oliver’s book launch in Singapore, I bought the book with the promise of reviewing it for October. Well, I read the entire book in one afternoon. It is a fast-paced, action-packed story, which makes it easy to devour. Rox is not the usual protagonist for a science fiction adventure: she is a middle-aged woman with children (that she cannot remember), with powers she is struggling to control and an above-average ability to kick ass. Given that the spark for this story came from Oliver’s own struggle with identity, Rox feels deeply human, and easy to empathize with. 

The action set pieces are laid out well with unexpected twists, and the two male leads are fleshed out thoughtfully. I was fully prepared to assume one of them is the villain but he turns out to be a surprise. The relationships among these various characters are complex and relatable. I do want more in-depth interaction between Rox and the other women in the story – depictions of solid female friendships in science fiction are still too rare, in my opinion. 

Read AK Lee’s full review.

*The panic sets in long before the author holds her book in her hands. Chances are she’s been panicking since she first sat down to write the first draft!