"In Awakening, the first installment in the Dark Rituals series, a former healer turns to the Death Arts to seek revenge.NetGalley. Thanks for the copy.
Seventeen-year-old Colina was born a healer. But after a horrific event forces her to leave her clan, she becomes desperate to learn the dark magic of the death dealers, mages who draw their power from the spirits of the dead. Colina was taught to fear and hate death dealers, but becoming one of them is the only way for her to get the revenge she seeks—and the only way for her to survive.
Colina asks a young death dealer named Luke to help her, but he’s reluctant to train her in the Death Arts. Little does she know convincing him to teach her will be the easiest part of her journey. To become a death dealer, Colina will need to undergo three dark rituals, each more terrifying than the last. At the same time, she’ll have to deal with her growing feelings for her mentor. Too bad the first ritual involves him strangling her to death.
As Colina undergoes the trials, she discovers an untapped darkness within herself. If she survives the horrific rituals and gains dark power, what will she become?"
Colina is running away from some dangerous people. After her family was mercilessly massacred by a mysterious group of people, Colina lives on as the sole survivor to the horror. The book itself reveals Colina's background slowly, letting the readers adjust to what she has experienced. I myself am not a big fan of that slow reveal (I'm all for "full jump ahead" mentality).
The main character, Colina, remains to be strong and dangerous (partially because of her desperateness for revenge and partially because of her sorrow). She is a fascinating character, who says one thing but sometimes means another. Her interactions with a mysterious force reveal some fragments of her traits. Her goals are simple, yet the more she acts, the more her goals change and shift.
The story spins slowly, unraveling the details, but quickly picks up pace towards the end. Colina strikes a deal with a death dealer named Luke. A death dealer is one of the most feared magicians, because their power over death and deceased souls scare away the normal people. Also, their reputations aren't very kind on them.
The world building is easy enough to understand. The modern world mashes with the supernatural world easily. Great development here.
The romance between Colina and Luke sparks off gentle flames. Bogged down by their problems, the couple are unsurprisingly not taking first steps so soon in the book. But the wait is so worth it, because they act very good together. Sure, there are some odd moments here and there (I shall not reveal any spoilers), but they are golden.
The ending devastated me, and I'm raving. Catrina Burgess! Are you happy now? The pounding and relentless number of questions hunt me, and there are little answers to be found. Even the sneak peek to the next book is not enough.
In conclusion, Awakening is an amazing paranormal novel and start for the Dark Rituals series. I can't wait to see what happens next! Burgess crafts a fun, hair-tearing novel with a sequel that can't come out any sooner.
Rating: Three out of Five