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Reviewed by Liz Konkel for Readers' Favorite
The Awakening by Andrew Wichland is the first book in the Dragon Knight Chronicles. Ryuu has always been different. He’s surrounded by people who want to see him fail and will do whatever it takes to hinder his graduation. It doesn’t help that a fight at school sends him to his father’s office and his exams are nearly sabotaged. As he celebrates his thirteenth birthday, he makes a surprising discovery about his own origins and sets out to uncover his destiny. Meanwhile, the Black Dragon is getting closer and when emissaries arrive in the village, it’s up to Ryuu and his friends to save the village by risking their lives in a fight for their freedom.
The story is a fun mash-up that pulls various elements from legends, fantasy, and science fiction to create a unique world that Andrew Wichland mixes with modern elements to create a timeless setting. The fantasy elements are seen through the inclusion of dragons which add a fantastical aspect to the story that features the villainous characters of the Black Dragon, Anubis, and the Dark Elf. The futuristic elements range from references to books and movies that focus on the stories of Robin Hood to science fiction elements. Wichland blends all these elements together with a personal touch through the inclusion of samurai, which makes for a unique retelling of Robin Hood.
At the center of the story is a coming of age tale about destiny and bravery. References to Robin Hood are seen through several instances from his passion for the story of Robin to his own rise in destiny that follows a similar course to the stories he loves to even the name of his team being Locksley. Wichland breathes new life into the origin story of a hero and it feels like just the beginning of what’s to come in the rise of Ryuu’s destiny as everything changes for him. The Awakening is an original and creative retelling of Robin Hood told through a coming of age tale in a world that blends elements of fantasy and science fiction.