Wednesday 6 July 2016

Book Review: We Awaken by Calista Lynne

Title: We Awaken
Author: Calista Lynne
Publisher: Harmony Ink Press
Publication Date: 14 July 2016
Pages: 180
Format: eBook - EPUB
Genre: Queer Spectrum / Paranormal
Source: ARC via NetGalley

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Victoria Dinham doesn’t have much left to look forward to. Since her father died in a car accident, she lives only to fulfill her dream of being accepted into the Manhattan Dance Conservatory. But soon she finds another reason to look forward to dreams when she encounters an otherworldly girl named Ashlinn, who bears a message from Victoria’s comatose brother. Ashlinn is tasked with conjuring pleasant dreams for humans, and through the course of their nightly meetings in Victoria’s mind, the two become close. Ashlinn also helps Victoria understand asexuality and realize that she, too, is asexual.

But then Victoria needs Ashlinn’s aid outside the realm of dreams, and Ashlinn assumes human form to help Victoria make it to her dance audition. They take the opportunity to explore New York City, their feelings for each other, and the nature of their shared asexuality. But like any dream, it’s too good to last. Ashlinn must shrug off her human guise and resume her duties creating pleasant nighttime visions—or all of humanity will pay the price.
(Goodreads Synopsis)

We Awaken is a highly original tale and one of the best YA paranormal stories I've read in a while. I loved the concept, and Calista Lynne brought it to life with great alacrity. Victoria and Ashlinn are both well-formed characters, and I appreciated the way Calista dealt with the reality of a dancer's life, giving us ruined feet as well as beautiful movement. This is only the second book I've read featuring asexual characters, and I thought Calista did a great job explaining their sexuality. Overall, I am giving this book 4.5 stars. Why not five? Well, unfortunately the prose featured my greatest pet peeve about US English, not once but twice. "I could care less" should be "I couldn't care less". I know in the US some people say it without the negative, but it makes no sense as it completely reverses the meaning. If an editor had noticed this and corrected it, I might be making this a five star review, but sadly it grates on me so badly that it drags me out of the story and spoils my enjoyment. However, if these sorts of things don’t bother you as they do me, no doubt you will find nothing to fault in this tale.

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