Reviewed by Caitlin Lyle Farley for Readers' Favorite
The mystical city of A’lara has been lost to myth and legend for centuries, but the time has come for it to be unbound. Larin, a young woman in a strange land, is sold as a slave, but escapes with Jorn the dragon handler before she can be given to her new owner’s evil masters. A shapeshifter watches his uncle and aunt die at the hands of imperial mages. Darek flees into the night, and stumbles across Vithril, a faerie who accidentally becomes bound to the youth. Tirrok is initiated into manhood among the desert people and chooses to go out into the wider world. He shelters in a cave and meets the ancient elf, Kingard, a legend awaiting the time when the descendants of the original builders will unbind A’lara and destroy the Colkh’rak.
Poetic prophecies, detailed maps, and a tense plot combine to make Awakening by D.N. Frost a rare treat. Although the story features many traditional fantasy races and creatures, they all have a twist to them, a spark of uniqueness that makes them feel new again. Frost excellently manages the large cast of distinctive characters in Awakening and weaves their stories together through many unexpected twists and turns. While maps are a common feature of epic fantasy novels, they are rarely as effective as in Awakening. Frost’s use of regional maps throughout the book enhances the story and ensures the reader always knows where they are. Both gripping and beautiful, Awakening is the sort of book that fantasy fans only dreamed about until now.