Book Review: Awakening by Karen Sandler
Genre: Science Fiction, Biopunk, Young Adult
Series: Book 2 of the Tankborn Trilogy
Publisher: Tu Books (April 9, 2013)
Tiara’s Rating: 3.5 out 5 stars
First, I wanted to thank Netgalley and the publisher for allowing me to read an advance reader copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
This book picks up some months after the events in Tankborn. Kayla is part of an underground movement working toward freeing GENs from the life of oppression. Kayla, along with her lowborn companion, travel from sector to sector retrieving and delivering information for the kinship (a network of trueborn, lowborn, and GENs working together). While Kayla believes her overall work is good, she wonders if the kinship is truly as dedicated to this cause as they say. Are they truly willing to risk so much for GENs? She knows that most members of the kinship, no matter their social rank, hold her in high regards, but she wonders if this because she’s proven herself. When they look at her, they see an individual. She’s not some insignificant GEN girl. Kayla also continues to struggle with her feelings for Devak, the trueborn boy whose grandfather (and prominent member of the kinship) she cared for in Tankborn.
There many things going on in this book. I mean, the last book had a couple of different issues going on, but they seemed to connect together from the very beginning of the story. Some of the things introduced into this story didn’t feel like they fit anywhere at first and didn’t really pull together until toward the end of the story where things seemed to progress at a rapid pace as the author tried to wrap the loose ends. There’s nothing wrong with everything not coming together until later, but it made some things feel so rushed even though their impact on the story and what they mean for the people involved is important. I didn’t feel like this was as intense as the last story was, but overall, I felt this was still a solid story about the struggles surrounding the GENs,
I know this a young adult book and you have to have romance, but I got a little tired of Kayla and Devak’s song and dance. I realize their relationship is extraordinary and nigh impossible. The societal pressures and laws that threaten to keep them apart weighs heavy on their hearts. This causes them to make decisions and mistakes that draw them further apart, though I did like Kayla’s speech that Devak couldn’t decide what was best for both of them without her input. So much of her life has been spent with her choices being stripped from her by people that “know” what’s good for her. She wasn’t willing to accept that in a relationship with someone who supposedly cared about her.
However, it didn’t feel like Devak really understood what Kayla was telling him instead he begins to nitpick and take what she said out of context. I guess I can understand since he’s used to being listened to and doted on. It’s hard to see where privileged behavior comes in at times when you’re used to things going your way. However, it just felt a little disappointing and typical of someone with status. In any event, I felt like their drama just really took away from the story at times. I think it could’ve been streamlined into the story more.
I wish Sandler spent a little more time world building. It seems like she’s created this wonderful place, but we only get to hear about some of its nuances from time to time. From the first book, I knew they had two named suns, but it wasn’t until this book that we learned they also have two moons. Also, the religious beliefs of the various social classes should be explored more since the trueborn don’t believe as the GEN do, and the lowborn have their own take on what the GEN believe. And religion plays an important part of the story in these books, especially what the GEN believe.
After the ending of this book, there’s no doubt there will be another. It ended on a very tense cliffhanger, and I’ll definitely be awaiting the next book.