Sunday, May 22, 2016

April 2016 Book Review: Reawakened


By Colleen Houck 

~Book Review~

Warning! Major Spoilers!

THE EGYPTIAN LORE OUTSHONE the main plot and characters. The brief glimpse into Isis, Horus, and Seth was by far the most raw and intriguing aspect of this romantic adventure inspired by Egyptian mythology, but their story was told in heavy exposition. Reawakened sadly throws too many clichéd “Indiana Jones” and “The Mummy” references that destroyed any authenticity or respect for the book. When upper class New Yorker Lily's first impulse upon meeting Egyptian Prince Amon is to call him “Ali Baba,” I immediately detached from the story. Such a comment, and other names that she continues to casually refer to him, are inherently racist.

It would have been one thing if Houck had intended for Lily to be a rich, judgmental brat who slowly learns over time and demonstrates some humility. But she doesn’t. Within the first two pages, Lily dismisses a taxi driver and a passerby as “thickly-accented” and “creepy” for asking if she needed help. Later, she describes how she always can afford the best in designer clothes, but yet she manages to sneer at her friends for being so focused on appearances. These “friends” are pretty much the only female characters with speaking time, and they are referred to as “Redhead,” “Blonde,” ect.

Over the course of the story, Lily meets a reawakened Egyptian Prince named Amon, who needs her help to find his other brothers and stop the god of chaos, Seth, who is rising for no reason in particular. Amon and the brothers worship her from day one. Lily can do no wrong. As such, there is zero character growth on her part. She can’t even do much of anything, either. Maybe I missed it because I started skimming once too many chapters turned into inf0-dumps, but Lily’s only purpose seemed to be to replenish Amon’s energy. Super boring; she can’t even change into a hippo or something. I really don’t like it when the main character can’t contribute much to the mission.

I’m sadly not too familiar with Egyptian mythology, so I’ll have to research it further. I was confused on Seth (Set’s) role and Apophis (Apep). I thought Apophis was the snake of chaos, not a crocodile (I guess I’ve seen information that he can be both). Seth didn’t really show up in this book, so his personality and motivations are still very unclear. His absence caused a major lack of tension. Anubis shows up; of course he’s “super hot” like the rest of Lily’s crew, and it seemed like he had taken over Osiris’s role as god of the underworld.

The lack of Egypt was also disappointing. I couldn’t get a feel of it; at one point I didn’t even realize they were inside a pyramid because there wasn’t enough physical description. It was primarily dialogue and expository info-dumping. Also, the lack of female characters was disconcerting; it’s just Lily and her worshipful Egyptian royal bros tromping around with little conflict. At least have one of the brothers *not* like her and call her out on her ignorant comments. Unfortunately, the second book in the series, Recreated, sounds like it has even less of a plot. Yet another let-down in Egyptian mythology in the vein of TheChaos of Stars by Kirsten White. At least Rick Riordan’s Kane Chronicles was fun.

My biggest pet peeve was Amon calling Lily “Young Lily.” Oh. My. Gosh. It made me picture him as an eighty-year-old man every time.

Recommended for fans of: Cassandra Clare, Lauren Kate, Stephanie Meyer
Upcoming Book Review: Promise of Shadows by Justina Ireland

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