Tuesday, December 8, 2015

The Awakened (The Awakened Duology #1) by Sara Elizabeth Santana

This review was written by: B
Received: Author (Blog Tour)
Publication Date of Book: December 2015
Pages: 317 (Kindle)
Stars: 5/5

Official Summary:
Zoey Valentine is concerned with two things: surviving the multitude of self-defense classes her dad
 makes her take and avoiding Ash Matthews.

 That is, until the Z virus hits, wiping out a third of the population in a matter of weeks. If that  weren’t frightening enough, the bodies of the victims disappear and suddenly reappear, awakened  from their dead state. They're faster, smarter, and they work together to get the one thing they crave,  human flesh.

 The United States is in a panic and then the government decides the unthinkable: to bomb every  major city overrun with the awakened.

 Now Zoey is on the run, with her dad and Ash, desperate to find a place of safety amongst the ruined  remains of the country.

My Thoughts:
I've always been a huge fan of zombie novels.  Whether it be YA, MG, or adult, you can throw them right at me!  However, the more you read of a genre, the more the books in that category seemingly melt together into one large blob of generic novels with the same exact stories, only told in different styles.  I had no idea what to expect with The Awakened, but I knew that I had to get my hands on it because of the beautiful cover and intriguing synopsis.  Now, before I go further, let me just say that this book surpassed any possible expectations that I remotely had and threw me into a world where I completely forgot my own!   This book went in directions that I didn't even know were possible.  I never saw the bends and sudden turns that Sara threw at me.  It was a wild ride full of heart-wrenching loss, devastating love, unforeseen twists, and a unique take on zombies that you will not get anywhere else.  This was a fresh, rare gem that you absolutely have to look into!  Even if you're not a fan of the living dead, The Awakened is sure to have something for you, and you're bound to fall in love with it.  

While it may sound cheesy, I was completely taken with this novel after reading only the first chapter.  The story has this natural, alluring quality to it that whisked me away.  The Awakened possesses an action-packed journey told with descriptive writing and engaging characters.  The love-hate relationship that Zoey and Ash share is brimming with snark and an underlying spark that is ready to burst.  The witty dialogue and engrossing storyline kept me on the edge of my seat.  I could not have asked for more!  I loved Ash and Zoey, even though I was slightly hesitant about Ash in the beginning.  However, as the story progressed I could not help but fall for him as so many readers are sure to do.  The character development for both of these characters was flawless, and their stories were ones that I could easily feel for.  It literally amazes me when I sit back and think of where the story began and where the story ended.  So much happened, that by the last sentence, the beginning of The Awakened felt like a dream.  I loved this aspect, though!  

Zoey is one of my favorite female characters of all time!  In more reviews than I can count, I mention my constant problems with female characters in the YA universe and their awful tropes.  Sara Elizabeth Santana renewed my faith in YA female protagonists!  Zoey was a kick butt heroine who was still just a teenage girl.  She was not obsessed with her beauty, but she was gorgeous all the same.  She was often confident when it came to certain matters, but she was also insecure about others.  She's even an animal lover!  (Can we be best friends, please?!)  And not only is Zoey all of these things, she is also someone that I feel many people could relate to and even look up to.    

Lastly, you're probably wondering about the zombies.  I haven't really mentioned them much, but let me assure you that The Awakened showcases some of the scariest flesh eaters I have ever read about. They're intelligent and fast, cunning and ruthless.  Zombies are typically mindless people who only have one thought on their mind: DON'T THINK, JUST EAT!  These zombies, cleverly named the awakened, are so much more than that.  They can speak complex, coherent sentences and are just as intelligent as when they were alive.  I've never been more chilled.  I won't say much more because I don't want to spoil you, but they really do give you the heebie-jeebies.

For those of you out there reading this, please go pick up a copy of The Awakened right now!  I can't stress enough how unbelievably marvelous Sara Elizabeth Santana's novel is!  You have to read it!!!

I just wanted to express a special congratulations to Sara for the release of her book!  She's an amazing author with mad skills!!!!!! 

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