Monday, August 17, 2015

Book Review: Reawakened by Colleen Houck

Title: Reawakened
Author: Colleen Houck
Publication Date: August 11, 2015
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Pages: 400
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When seventeen-year-old Lilliana Young enters the Metropolitan Museum of Art one morning during spring break, the last thing she expects to find is a live Egyptian prince with godlike powers, who has been reawakened after a thousand years of mummification.

And she really can't imagine being chosen to aid him in an epic quest that will lead them across the globe to find his brothers and complete a grand ceremony that will save mankind.

But fate has taken hold of Lily, and she, along with her sun prince, Amon, must travel to the Valley of the Kings, raise his brothers, and stop an evil, shape-shifting god named Seth from taking over the world.

From New York Times bestselling author Colleen Houck comes an epic adventure about two star-crossed teens who must battle mythical forces and ancient curses on a journey with more twists and turns than the Nile itself.

I LOVE Ancient Egyptian mythology. In fact, I love all mythology. I'm a classics minor. But Egyptian mythology was my first love. I started studying it on my own in middle school and still enjoy reading Egyptian myths today. So when I found out about Reawakened I was ecstatic! I'd never read anything by Colleen Houck, but I've heard a lot of praise for her Tiger's Curse series. I knew I'd have to read this one as soon as I could get my hands on a copy, and that's what I did. Unfortunately...

Welcome to my first one star review of the year! I'm going to be honest. I was totally shocked I didn't like this book. I went into it expecting to completely love it because everyone I know has loved it! In reality it was painful to read. It took me five days to get 263 pages in. Five agonizingly slow days in which I had to literally force myself to read this while gazing longingly at Harry Potter. After that I admitted defeat and skimmed the rest.

I like action. I like adventure. I like romance. I like mythology. So what did I not like about this book? Well, for starters I didn't like the characters. Lily is a privileged rich girl from New York City who complains about the box she's confined to. She complains about how she got into every college and now has to pick one (the horror!), complains about her big fancy house (the agony!), and basically just complains about everything. I can't stand it, guys. I can't handle filthy rich characters who complain about their privilege. Then we have Amon. I get it, he's old and has godlike powers and he's really, REALLY gorgeous.

The romance between these two is Stockholme Syndrome at its finest and made zero sense to me. They knew each other for all of five minutes before Lily was whining to herself about how Amon wouldn't kiss her (while also reminding us that she does not suffer from lack of confidence). All of this while she laments the way he uses his god powers to control her will. Um... yeah, so there's that. Literally the entire book is them darting from location to location while Lily whines about how Amon won't kiss her. Never mind that he's trying to save the world and all.

Which brings me to the "action." I think the problem is I can't stand the writing style. It's basically, "We went to this place and there was lots of sand and then a bad guy came and then we beat it and then I felt sick and then Amon wouldn't kiss me and then we went to another place and..." You get the idea. The best way I can think to describe it is that the author inserted YA plot points in a middle grade book. The world building also left a lot to be desired because it is basically what I've just laid out. I didn't feel like I was actually in any of the locations described. There was a lot of telling and not a lot of showing, if that makes sense.

Not only that, but my god, the info dumps. I really love mythology retellings. I do. But this one was like a mythology textbook (in serious need of fact checking) and a YA romance met and had a baby. The stories about the gods and goddesses could have been fun, but it they way it was done ripped me out of the story every single time.

I could really go on and on about the issues I had with this book. The cover was gorgeous and the premise was fantastic and I would love to read this idea written in a better way. A lot of the mythology was off and the Big Bad was predictable and ridiculous. The romance was unbelievable and the ending made me roll my eyes so hard I got a headache. I've read that the writing in this book is actually a step up from The Tiger's Curse Saga (although the story is apparently a near-carbon copy), which is really sad because I have that one on my shelf, but now I doubt I'll read it. I really couldn't recommend this to anyone, but I know that I'm in the minority on this one!