Awakening

The Unari Experiment Book 2

Fiction - Science Fiction
252 Pages
Reviewed on 02/25/2020
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite

Awakening: The Unari Experiment is a work of science fiction written for adults and penned by author Brian Harad, and it forms the second novel of the series. Containing explicit language, graphic violence and some sexual situations, this edgy and thrilling work takes us straight back into the action where the first novel, Homecoming, left off. The genetically disguised Byron Hollington, now known as Thundercloud, finds himself transformed into an Alicorn and adjusting to a totally different life to the one which he knew on earth. In the care of the exiled Dandarra, he finds comfort and assistance, but their bond causes way more problems than it solves as time moves on in Unarian society.

Author Brian Harad takes his readers, quite literally, to another world with this high-concept science fiction work about incredible creatures in a society that sometimes mirrors our own. The dedication to the lore of the society, its powers, customs, and structure is spot on, delivering a fully-fledged introduction for both Thundercloud and the reader into the world of these incredible creatures. Character development takes center stage in the early parts of the novel, as Thundercloud and Dandarra bond via compelling dialogue and well-described scenes of emotive intimacy. The sparks which fly as a result, and that ricochet out into wider society, provide true impetus for the plot to take flight and impress with its vicious twists and turns. Overall, Awakening: The Unari Experiment is certain to impress fans of book one, and makes for a compelling sci-fi read in its own right.

Rabia Tanveer

Awakening is the second book in The Unari Experiment series by Brian Harad. Thundercloud has never been able to call any place home. He has always been the odd one out and alienated, so he never really knew where he belonged. Now that he has fully transformed into an Unarian, he is ready to start a new life. While Dandarra is always there for him, everyone in the Alicorn village hates him and is scared of him for some reason. While he tries to be on speaking terms with his mother and study with his tutor, life in the quaint little village becomes increasingly difficult. But the real trouble begins when Dandarra imprints on him, which puts her life in serious danger. She is his only ally, his only friend, and maybe a lot more. She is the only one who ever understood him and he is willing to do whatever it takes to keep her safe. So what if they have to run away? But the future has bigger and brighter plans for him and Unari is where he will find his destiny. Is Thundercloud ready for it?

Awakening: The Unari Experiment Book 2 by Brian Harad is an epic tale of bravery and strength. Thundercloud and Dandarra try their best to fight the adversary, but it is far too strong. I enjoyed the chemistry between them, how Thundercloud looked up to her for guidance and she gave him the best of herself. The mystery is incredibly rich and well-woven; it enhances the plot and allowed me to get invested in the story from the moment I started reading it. The flow was actually extraordinary, the characters were given enough page space to develop and the dialogues were very revealing of the characters (if you pay extra attention to it). Granted there are many characters in the story (I have my suspicions about Sarraqa), but each character has a purpose and they get the chance to fulfill it. This is a really good story and I anticipate great things from the next novel in the series.

Christian Sia

Awakening is the second book in The Unari Experiment by Brian Harad, a beautiful blend of science fiction and fantasy. Byron Hollington has just undergone a transformation after an assault. He’s been transformed into Thundercloud, waking up to find himself under the care of a young Pegasus. Dandarra is a fugitive who helps him to adjust to a new life as an alicorn. But the people of the village look at him with a lot of misgivings. Even the Queen, Jata, doesn’t pay a lot of attention to him. Relationships with people around him, including his tutor, aren’t the best. When a powerful entity reveals that Thundercloud is destined to rule Unari, it is hard for him to believe. A moment of conflict between Dandarra and the Queen, a conflict over Thundercloud, makes him flee Unari. It is a moment of crisis when his presence is strongly needed. Can he follow his destiny and come back to lead Unari into a new age?

The novel is beautifully written, and it begins with a moment of crisis as readers watch the leaders of the United States and contemplate a spectacle involving extraterrestrial beings. The writing is highly descriptive, and I enjoyed how the author captures the emotionally charged moment that opens the story, introducing readers to the crisis. Brian Harad creates an imaginary world that readers will want to explore and characters that include creatures of legend. This entry in the series will appeal a lot to fans of fantasy and adventure and readers who enjoy character-driven stories and worlds beyond our own. Awakening is cinematic, a story that is filled with strong imagery.

Grant Leishman

Awakening: The Unari Experiment Book 2 by Brian Harad is a continuation of this science fiction series that delves deeply into the idea of cross-pollination of species across the universe. Thundercloud, who was previously raised as a human, Byron Hollington, awakes to discover he has been kidnapped and transformed into his true self, an Alicorn, the son of the Queen and a powerful being. He is feared and hated by most of the inhabitants of the planet but after he is brutally assaulted on his arrival he is cared back to health by a young Pegasus, Dandarra, who herself has been shunned by her own people. Byron, not really understanding what has happened to him, tries to come to terms with his new life and the realization that he may in fact be being groomed to be the ruler of Unari and one of the most powerful beings in the universe. Life has taken a very strange twist for Byron as he attempts to adapt to a world and a society so totally different from that in which he grew up. Thundercloud has much to learn about himself, relationships and the weird and wonderful creatures amongst whom he now finds himself.

The first question I usually ask as a reader when I come into a series part-way through, is should this series be read in sequence? In the case of Awakening: The Unari Experiment Book 2, I would say while it’s probably not essential to have read book one prior to reading this, it would have been preferable. It did take me some time to come to terms with what was happening, who it was happening to, and why. I have no doubt book one would have given me a much better grounding in the world author Brian Harad has created here. That being said, I still enjoyed the characters and their development throughout the story. I especially loved the relationship between the mighty Alicorn and the much smaller but totally devoted Pegasus, Dandarra. The story was heavy on character and development which is something I particularly like in my science fiction and in a series, in general. The writing was empathetic and flowing which made for a quick and satisfying read. The finale was set up for book three, which no doubt the author is hoping readers will pursue. Did the story make me want to get book three to discover what happens to these characters? The answer is yes. I enjoyed this story and can definitely recommend it and the world created by Brian Harad.

Lesley Jones

In Awakening: The Unari Experiment Book 2 by Brian Harad, with a deal struck between the Unarians and the US Security Council, an Alicorn named Thundercloud (formerly known as human Byron Hollington) returns to Unari. Trusting the agreement will be kept, the US President watches in horror from the War Room as Thundercloud is captured and brutally tortured by Captain Flecha. Thundercloud awakes in a village to find a small Pegasus called Dandarra tending his wounds. The inhabitants of the village believe him to be dangerous and want him to leave. Dandarra defends Thundercloud and is determined to make him her mate. Meanwhile, Sarraqa, his teacher, is getting increasingly frustrated that Thundercloud does not seem to possess the skills of an Alicorn. Feeling that his mother, Queen Jata, cares little of his recent torture, Thundercloud takes severe action. As Thundercloud finally experiences his Alicorn powers, a voice calls to him and makes a shocking prediction; that he is destined to rule Unari. When Queen Jata discovers that Dandarra has marked Thundercloud with her imprint and they are now mates, she threatens savage revenge. Thundercloud and Dandarra have no choice but to run for their lives and disappear. As the search for them begins, some want to rescue them, others have the opposite intention.

Although this is book 2 of the series, Awakening by Brian Harad is definitely a stand-alone read. I loved the concept of the story, how an Alicorn was raised as a human before he realizes his true identity. The story begins almost immediately with the very brutal torture of Thundercloud. The incredible descriptiveness of the narrative brings everything to life, from the torture scene to the endearing scenes between Thundercloud and Dandarra. For a little Pegasus, Dandarra is a brave character with a beautiful soul. There are some tense moments when secrets that have been kept are finally discovered. There are some exciting fight scenes too. The entire plot, characters, and dialogue are authentic, believable and enthralling. I enjoyed every moment of this book and the ending really leaves you wanting more. I am sure book three will be amazing.