The Awakening by Dorine White
Nightmares really do come true, and for fifteen-year-old Kyler Birkwood, they are just beginning. Raised on a farm by his Aunt Martha, Kyler has no clue about the magical heritage swimming through his blood. When he discovers evidence of a mythical creature, a terrifying beast thought only to exist in fairy tales, his safe world shatters.
Left at a school of magic to hunt for clues, he is overwhelmed and disbelieved. As loved ones begin disappearing and Orcs roam the land, Kyler must undergo a journey that takes him from the High Courts of the King to the unknown forests of the East. His magic just awakening, Kyler is the lone hope for a world that will not listen.
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Reminiscent of Harry Potter (except for Harry not discovering he’s a wizard for an extra four years), this book opens with 15-year-old Kyler discovering not only that magic exists, but that it’s part of his family’s heritage. Raised by his aunt while his parents traveled the world, Kyler had no idea that magic even existed before he’s abruptly dropped off at a school for kids with magical abilities (and also noble children).
Dorine White’s characters are great – the hero, Kyler, is a likeable teenage boy (but not an over-the-top “good kid” – he sulks, he complains, he doesn’t always make the right choices) while his friend Darcy is smart, strong female character who doesn’t let the fact that she’s a princess stop her from being a fierce warrior.
This is a great read for those who enjoy YA fantasy (like me and my teenage sons) – there’s magic, friendship, fantastic creatures like shapeshifters and Orcs, and a really scary villain, Mordrake. White’s worldbuilding is spot-on, and I would really like to attend the Conservatory of Magic with its magical transport between areas and the very personalized dormitory rooms!
Praise for The Awakening
“Dorine White delivers twists and turns to the plot that will keep you turning the pages.” ~ Melanie Mason, author of the YA historical, The Line That Divides
“The Awakening is a clever blend of folklore and fantasy, perfect for fans of Harry Potter and Percy Jackson. A furiously fun read!” ~ Laurisa Reyes, author of the YA thriller, Contact
The night grew darker as a storm cloud passed over the moon. Darcy and Kyler backed up toward Henry, carrying Ralph’s body. They were almost halfway across the clearing when Henry screamed.
“Look out! It’s above you!”
Dropping Ralph to the ground, Darcy and Kyler took up defensive positions back-to-back, her with her sword and him with his staff. They fearfully looked toward the sky. Darcy could make out the outline of a great beast hovering above the ground, watching their rescue attempt. The Griffin let out a mighty shriek and charged. Its powerful body streaked downward, it sharp claws extended to rend flesh.
“Henry,” yelled Kyler. “Cover Ralph.”
As the monster approached, Darcy lashed out with her sword, aiming for its underbelly. Kyler ended up deflecting a claw that had been intent on ripping his eyes out. Together they managed to keep the Griffin from landing. Swinging with all her strength, Darcy sliced into the monster, leaving a trail of blood dripping from its hind leg. Henry ran into the fray, taking up a protective position over Ralph’s unconscious body while Darcy kept up her attack. She swung and thrust her sword, forcing the beast back, until it found ground enough to face her.
With a berserk holler, Kyler swung his staff at the beast, knocking it a stinging blow to the head. Unbalanced from Darcy’s attacks, the Griffin flew backward and landed with a loud crash on its nest. Darcy and Kyler took up defensive stances across from the wrecked nest as the Griffin slowly regained its footing, ruffling its feathers in irritation. The beast eyed both its young attackers, anger flashing in its green eyes.
Darcy watched the Griffin approach, and gave Kyler a cautious look.
“Back me up,” she said through gritted teeth.
My name is Dorine White. I am a children’s fantasy author and a book reviewer. I grew up back East in Maryland and attended BYU in Utah. I have a BA in Humanities with an interest in Art History and French. Currently I live in the beautiful, yet rainy Northwest with my husband and 6 children. My first novel was published in 2012 and is the beginning of the Cleopatra’s Legacy series. The first two books are out, The Emerald Ring and The Ruby Pendant. Look for the third book, The Diamond Looking Glass in the summer of 2015.
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