Najee: Awakening

Najee Series Book 2

Young Adult - Sci-Fi
354 Pages
Reviewed on 09/14/2018
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Sarah Y. Westmoreland completed her first novel (Najee: A Glimmer of Hope) at the age of 13, which was then published shortly after her 18th birthday. Najee: Awakening soon followed the first book in the series. Sarah continues to write, hoping to expand the Najee series, as well as to create even more fascinating worlds and characters.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Rabia Tanveer for Readers' Favorite

Najee: Awakening - Najee Series, Book 2 by Sarah Y. Westmoreland is the continuation of Akinia’s story as she comes to terms with her life; current, past and future. While the first novel in the series was all about Akinia learning to trust herself, her instincts and her abilities, this novel is about testing everything that she has learnt to finally see if she is everything that people trust her to be. She is still the same determined young woman, but now she is even more mature and ready to take charge of the situation. She is a go-getter, someone who is not afraid of taking a chance and taking responsibility.

It hasn’t been long since Akinia found out about her past and finally discovering the secrets has been liberating in a way. She is now coming to terms with her psychokinetic powers and trying to master them as quickly as possible. But controlling her powers is not easy, just like everything else in her life. Her powers are far more dangerous than she anticipated and she has to fight every second to be able to master them. However, there are many more secrets that are kept hidden from her; secrets that can send her reeling and wishing that she never found them out. But she is running out of time and she is in immense danger. What can Akinia do when she has no idea who she really is? What can she do when she is not even aware of her own powers?

Akinia is not your garden variety YA fiction heroine. She is tenacious, determined, rebellious and ready to take action. She is one of the most intelligent protagonists I have ever read about. She knows when to step in, when to step back, and when she should charge into battle. The author did an amazing job with this character. While keeping Akinia’s integrity alive, Sarah Y. Westmoreland created a monster of a character that you come across once in a blue moon. I enjoyed this story line even more because I got to read about Akinia in her element. She is strong, fierce and simply amazing and I love her to bits!

K.C. Finn

Najee: Awakening is a young adult sci-fi and fantasy novel by author Sarah Y. Westmoreland. The second book in the Najee series, after A Glimmer of Hope, our central focus is still young Akinia, a mysterious orphan raised by the Najee warriors in a stagnant land known as the Empire. In Awakening, Akinia is left reeling from the chaotic events that occurred in book one, and struggling to control her incredible psychokinetic abilities and use them for the good of her people. Dangers abound everywhere, especially deep in the enemy land of Sigadia, where Akinia will discover ancient secrets to ensure her own survival.

Sarah Y. Westmoreland sets up the opening of Najee: Awakening so that newcomers to the series get enough information to enjoy book two without having read A Glimmer of Hope. I found Akinia to be a refreshing heroine for the YA genre; independent, intelligent and powerful in her own right, but also cautious and wise for her young years. With or without the aid of others, you know she’s going to thrive, though the supporting cast who train and befriend her are well rounded and interesting people. The war-torn, futuristic style world between the Empire and Sigadia is vividly described, making Awakening a lively but easy read as the story unfolds, and the partially revealed secrets that come to light about Akinia’s real parentage and identity set up a great deal of intrigue for the future of the series. Overall, Najee: Awakening was a pleasing and accomplished YA read.

K.J. Simmill

Akinia had barely survived the torture. She had been flayed and beaten to the brink of death, healed, and forced to endure again. But even then they could not turn her. It had been a long road to recovery, and her insistence about being let back in the field, instead of hidden away on Paméd, only poured fuel on an already volatile fire. Her recovery, however, is hampering her; it is slower than she wants. Frustrated, she goes on a trip to meet the family she never knew she had, and knowing this was just another way to pacify her until she regained her strength didn't make it any less daunting or enjoyable. Having never known her family, it was a welcome distraction since she feared she would never recover and become the person they expected her to be, especially since her powers betrayed her, spiking and lashing out at those closest to her. There is only one place she may get answers, an ally met once and only briefly, but with her newest mission she dare not consider it. Before she knows it, fate takes the decision out of her hands. She was warned to refuse the mission. Perhaps she should have listened because things soon turn bad, and to survive she must either find herself or be destroyed.

Having read Sarah Y. Westmoreland's first book in the Najee Series, I couldn't wait to get my hands on the next, Najee: Awakening, and it did not disappoint. This is an amazing series driven forward by the strong characters, their development, and the dangers and strife they face. The more Akinia grows the more she will nestle herself in your heart, a strong teenager who has suffered and endured more than any adult should. She has the weight of the future on her shoulders, and it is a burden she feels she cannot carry. She is not alone. Nath makes for an excellent supporting protagonist, along with her masters, uncles, and new found family; a support network she never had before, but needs more than ever. Sarah Y. Westmoreland writes in a gripping and addictive style. I said in my review of the first book that it has a very Star Wars vibe to it and, whilst this remains true, I would go so far as to say in some ways I find it surpasses the written works of this title. I give this series my wholehearted recommendation, not only to fans of Star Wars, but sci-fi lovers, and even simply readers who enjoy a character-driven plot filled with action, danger, and discovery.

Romuald Dzemo

After reading A Glimmer of Hope, the first book in the spellbinding Najee Series, I knew I'd read anything from this author, because she made me fall in love with the heroine, Akinia. So you could imagine the excitement I had when I picked up the second book, Najee: Awakening. And the great news is that Sarah Y. Westmoreland raises the stakes, exploring the inner world of the protagonist in fascinating ways, and beefing up the conflict on multiple levels. Akinia has had to face many challenges in the past few months to get where she is today, a fierce warrior dedicated to the fight for the freedom of her people. But the darkness of her past begins to catch up with her as she explores her skills and hones her psychokinetic powers. On a dangerous mission, she finds herself trapped alone in the unfriendly landscapes of Sigidian. Can an obscure civilization and a gift long ignored lead her out of these dire straits?

Sarah Y. Westmoreland is a great storyteller and she has created the perfect world of escape for fans of fantasy and adventure and a character that makes for a perfect companion. I love it when I feel I am walking in the mental landscapes of a character. The character development arc is skillfully handled and I enjoyed watching the protagonist struggle to reconcile with her past and to gain a deeper understanding of herself and her gifts. The author introduces new elements in the character building as the series progresses, putting her protagonist into very tight spots and demonstrating through her life that our gifts can be our curses. The plot is sophisticated, loaded with surprises, and the tone is smooth and enticing. I loved the beautiful prose and the author's unique phraseology which mimics, at times, the mind set of the characters, allowing points of view to come out clearly. Najee: Awakening is action packed, character driven, and fast paced, a great achievement and a singular work of literary entertainment for fans of epic fantasy.

Divine Zape

I never read the first book in this series and now I will have to read it after this wickedly delectable second entry in the Najee Series by Sarah Y. Westmoreland. Najee: Awakening features a powerful protagonist, a teenager who carries the hope of her world with her: Akinia. She is anxious about healing after being beaten and hurt so badly, but she can’t have things her way and she can’t wait to be back in action. When a new mission is entrusted to her, things quickly turn bad and she finds herself stranded in strange and dangerous territory. She will have to rely on skills she’s ignored, but can she make it out alive this time?

Sarah Y. Westmoreland has a rare gift for character and I enjoyed Akinia a lot. She is strong, daring, and determined. She is also fragile — a young warrior with gifts she is learning to control and a complicated family background. But her masters are great too and characters like Nath, each created with a well-defined mission in the story. This narrative creates a lot of excitement, thanks to the well-imagined setting — the imaginary world with exotic elements and features that make readers dream — and every aspect of it is beautifully imagined and translated into an image in the reader’s mind. Ms. Westmoreland’s prose is also beautiful, a strong testament to her gift for diction.

The plot is sophisticated, starting with conflict as Akinia visits her uncle four months since she woke up for the first time after being rescued from her imprisonment in Jade Enbrilth's base. Najee: Awakening is transporting, and a delightful read for fans of young adult and epic fantasy. The action is captured in a cinematic style and it’s easy to feel as though one were part of the narrative. The pacing is fast, the action intense, and the emotional aspects of characters are well developed. It is hugely engaging!

Peggy Jo Wipf

Sarah Westmoreland continues the adventure of the Najee warrior Akinia as she begins her recovery from the torture she suffered at the hands of her Uncle Jade and twin sister, Lokita. Najee: Awakening focuses on the time Akinia takes to strengthen her mind and body to fulfill her destiny as a Child of the Prophecy. Her life unfolds as layers of her past build upon her present. Meeting her mother's other brother and his family is a major event as she adjusts from thinking she was an orphan to having a large family that loves her. She combines being a Najee warrior and a Nato princess well, but each area of her life has its own secrets which, like her older brother, she can never disclose. Plus, the peculiar Nrell people aid and instruct her in ancient tactics that are needed in her future.

Najee: Awakening presents an intricate blend of survival and growth in a young warrior who must undertake a terrifying conquest to deliver peace. Sarah Westmoreland has done an excellent job in developing each of the main characters, giving them an individual personality. The author relies on the different characteristics of Akinia to bond with the reader, making this an intriguing novel. Though this science fiction story can stand alone, much of Akinia's life is outlined in the first book, Najee: A Glimmer of Hope. I found this a very compelling read as the author expands the story, allowing the reader to grow with the character. I am anxiously awaiting the third book in this series to continue the journey.