Thursday, August 15, 2013

ARC Review: Awoken by Timothy Miller

Author: Timothy Miller
Publication: Spencer Hill Press (August 13, 2013)

Description: Fourteen-year-old Michael Stevens has never been ordinary; no orphan who hears music coming from rocks considers himself a typical teenager. But life gets a lot more complicated when two-foot-tall, albino, doll-like men sneak into his room one night, transforming the harmless music into a frightening ability he cannot control. Soon, strangers in black suits begin to ask unsettling questions while unnatural animals with mismatched eyes haunt the streets. They are hunting, and not just Michael: anyone he cares about is in danger. With the help of a mysterious drifter, an annoying girl he's accidentally mutated, and one of those creepy doll men, Michael finds himself in the middle of a war that could forever change the world he knows - reconstructing the very definition of humanity.

My Thoughts: AWOKEN was a fast-paced fantasy novel with lots of action. Michael is an orphan who has moved from foster home to foster home. He is is guarded and tends to react first with anger. He also hears music from rocks and always has. He is settling in at his new home when, one night, he notices a strange cat seemingly watching him and some little albino men coming out from under the porch to fight with the cat. He is freaked out but even more freaked out when one of the little men comes to his room and convinces him to drink from a strange stone cup and accept a strange necklace. It changes his relationship with stone and dumps him in the middle of a war between the People and the Ven.

After being warned to avoid the brown and the green, Michael goes to park and winds up running into some human bullies. He is rescued by Lina who is a poor-little-rich girl but just as tough, guarded and angry as Michael is. In the fight, he loses the necklace and Lina finds it. She rinses off the clay coating to find a jewel in a metal setting which bonds itself to her hand and begins changing her DNA.

Michael goes to his friend Diggs who is a drifter living by the river. Diggs knows what Michael is facing and together they are determined to get to the People who might be able to get the jewel off Lina and stop her mutation into something else. They also take one of the People with them that Michael names Jericho. The four of them have to defeat the evil scientist who wants to change the world and his hybrid mutants. 

Middle graders will enjoy this story. While I didn't like either Michael or Lina very much at the beginning because of their anger, I grew to like them and feel for the difficult decisions that both of them had to make. Short chapters would make it a candidate as a classroom read-aloud. 

Favorite Quote:
Michael grinned and set the open marble bag between them.

"Shazam." Every marble on the table rolled into the bag of its own accord.

"Cute. What about the ones on the floor?"

"Wait for it."

A marble peeked over the edge of the table, and then all the marbles from the floor hopped up onto the table and zipped into the bag. Scooping up the bag, Michael closed the drawstring with a flourish. "Ta-da."
I received this ARC from the publisher. You can buy your copy here.

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