"A thrilling, futuristic sci-fi novel set in a unique and thought-provoking world, from author Shannon Duffy.
Desiree Six (because she was born on a Friday) believes in everything the Protectorate stands for. She likes the safety and security of having her entire life planned out—her career, her mate, even the date of her death. She doesn't even think to question when Darian, her childhood friend and neighbor, is convicted of murdering his parents. They had seemed like such a loving family. But if he was convicted, then he must have done it.
Then Darian shows up in her room late one night. He has escaped from the Terrorscape—a nightmare machine used to punish all Noncompliants—and needs Desiree's help. What he tells her rocks her world to its core and makes her doubt everything she's ever been told. With this new information, will Desiree and Darian be able to escape the Protectorate before it's too late?"
YA Dystopian, Awakening brings a world where everyone is required to use a dreaming machine (called Dreamscape) to sleep. Now, many of us take sleep for granted. Many of us don't have insomnias, parasomnias, hypersomnias, and everything in between. But I find Duffy's approach greatly interesting. I'd seen hunger, water, and shelter being toyed with by Dystopian governments, but this is the first time I'd seen sleep manipulated on a wide scale.
Desiree Six is a perfect citizen of the Protectorate (the government) until she meets Darian once again. Darian, her childhood friend, is wanted for the murder of his own parents. Highly loyal to the Protectorate, Desiree struggles to truly believe in Darian's claimed innocence. She has a special relationship with Darian, but it isn't enough to believe in him and break away from the Protectorate. But she proves to be quite observant and intelligent as the tale unfolds.
Darian, the hunted, is smart and is destined to die at twenty-five years old because of the day he is born on. Desperate to sleep, he breaks into Desiree's house and meets her once again after a long time. The romance between Desiree and Darian isn't swoony, but their connection and friendship is strong even after being apart for so long. Duffy paints a convincing spark.
The Protectorate serves as the villain of Awakening. Chasing down Darian, it will stop at nothing to recapture Darian. They are a rather interesting villain with much potential for a full-fleshed out villain with both sides of good and darkness, though Duffy doesn't spend much time on its ideals and personality. The Protectorate isn't just a simple organism determined to control the minds of its citizens. It is made up of hundreds and thousands of officials who walk in shades of grey.
The ending is one of the most satisfying parts of this book. After the long and dramatic events Darian and Desiree suffers through, the ending brings a sense of hope yet also more potential for a sequel (yes, please!).
The plot colors in Desiree's life before she meets Darian, Fugitive Number One. Starting off rather slowly, the plot shows Desiree's "normal." But once Darian pops right into the picture, everything goes off and chaos comes to bring a quicken plot and entertaining storyline. Desiree's search for some hidden secrets brings doubt into her life, and I myself am surprised by Darian's information. But the information is indeed the right catalyst for Desiree's rebellion.
Overall, Awakening is a dark tale that reminds readers how essential sleep is to life. Desiree is a smart and serious character, who tasks herself with finding out the truth of the Protectorate. Awakening is a thrilling story with terror and danger.
Rating: Four out of Five