The Awakening

Fiction - Fantasy - Epic
375 Pages
Reviewed on 05/22/2024
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite

The Awakening is a work of fiction in the fantasy, historical fiction, and literary genres. It is best suited to the general adult reading audience with some instances of strong violence and adult references. Penned by author Mathew Kellerman, readers are invited into a world shrouded in darkness after a cataclysmic event a millennium ago. The surviving cities rely on submission to the Mazdas, priests of the dead gods, to stave off the encroaching Shadow. Questioning this dogma is heresy punishable by death until the emergence of the Herald, who prophesies a new goddess capable of banishing the Shadow and ushering in a utopia. However, his vision sparks conflict between those who see it as salvation and others who view it as dangerous heresy, plunging the world into chaos.

Author Mathew Kellerman utilizes imagination and creativity to craft an immersive journey into a world of faith, power, and rebellion. The brilliant atmospheric descriptions and detailed, vivid world-building drew me into the intricate web of religious and political intrigue right from the start, where the clash between old traditions and newfound hope drives the narrative forward in interesting and eye-opening ways. The characters' struggles and moral dilemmas are drawn with suitable emotional depth and close personal narration, highlighting the complexities of belief and the consequences of challenging established authority. This allows us to sit on the shoulders of the heroes as they experience these struggles firsthand. As the story unfolded, I found myself more and more captivated by the gripping plot twists and thought-provoking themes. The pace ensures that there are suspenseful moments to consider, but we’re also never far away from the next twist. Overall, The Awakening is a compelling tale that fantasy readers of all kinds are guaranteed to enjoy.

Christian Sia

The Awakening by Mathew Kellerman is a captivating fantasy novel that immerses readers in a world shrouded in mystery, intrigue, and the struggle between old gods and new faith. Set against the backdrop of the crumbling Cities of Wisdom in the realm of Elysia, Kellerman weaves a tale of power, prophecy, and the transformative nature of belief. The narrative unfolds through four interconnected, first-person perspectives, each offering a unique glimpse into the evolving landscape of faith and fanaticism. At the heart of the story is the enigmatic figure known as the Herald, whose vision of a new goddess sleeping within the shadows challenges the entrenched power structure of the Mazda ruling class. As the Herald's message spreads, drawing followers known as Dreamers, tensions escalate between the old gods and the burgeoning faith in "She Who Sleeps."

This fantasy offers resonant themes and readers will relate to the clash between beliefs. This propulsive, deftly plotted novel examines themes of power and faith and their connection to fanaticism. Through the diverse perspectives of the Herald, the Warrior, the Zealot, and the Devoted, readers are confronted with the complex nature of belief and how it can inspire, manipulate, and ultimately shape history. The sophisticated characters and the exquisite writing are among the elements that make this an enjoyable read. From the Herald's impassioned rhetoric to the Warrior's unwavering loyalty to the old gods, Mathew Kellerman creates an atmosphere where conflict festers. The Awakening is a masterfully crafted fantasy with intriguing characters. While it is a story to entertain readers, it also makes them think about what they believe in and reflect on how beliefs can be structured to manipulate people.

Essien Asian

The Mazdas were the mouthpiece of the ancient gods who ruled from the beginning of time. Following the horrifying sequence of events that seemed to spell their doom and bring the Shadow into the world, the people turned inward to find answers to their issues. Simultaneously, the Mazdas employed their armed partisans, the prelates, to preserve a tight hold over the populace, murdering anyone who dared to think of an alternative course of action and labeling them as heretics. From the proddings of a young woman and the mind of a creative thinker, an idealogy sprang forth, and, like a breath of fresh air, the dreamers awoke. Their philosophy creeps into the minds of ordinary people, who talk of a new god emerging from the ashes of the old gods. The Mazdas, not to be outdone, task Cebrian, one of their faithful, to expose this new heretical faction, but it looks like Cebrian is taking on a more significant challenge than he can handle. Meanwhile, amid this chaos, the Shadow looms large, waiting to strike again in Mathew Kellerman's The Awakening.

Mathew Kellerman narrates a tale of love in a society where religion rules supreme. The character development in this intricate story is remarkable, as each faction's origin story is explained in detail. Whether it is a series of discussions about why the old religions must give way to the new, an open display of affection, or a marriage proposal, the dialogues between the characters are insightful and thought-provoking. I loved how Kellerman crafts the narrative, especially the part where the Dreamers movement first emerges. It shows how easily seemingly random thought sequences can be transformed into theological reasoning just by the charisma of the individual presenting them, a masterful emulation of the origins of many real-world religions. Each main character's first-person account draws readers into the adventure as they choose sides in a tense battle, giving the unraveling plot a sense of urgency. Romance fans will enjoy following the developing triangle between Cebrian, Hector, and Mia. However, there are chaotic battle sequences to satisfy action genre fans. In a complex adventure where readers are left to determine the true antagonist, Kellerman's one-of-a-kind storytelling style and incredible world-building set The Awakening apart in the fantasy genre.