By: K.T. Conte
Publisher: Sugarcane Publishing
Publication Date: February 1, 2024
Review Date: February 4, 2024
Mystery, romance, fantasy, and suspense mix in K.T. Conte’s first novel, Awoke, in her paranormal epic romance saga, The Unseen War Series. This riveting novel grips a reader from the start. Strange forces wreak havoc in Boston, and the rest of the world, creating earthquakes and unusual weather. Normal people see these events as natural disasters, but the main character, 18-year-old Katya Stevens, sees another reality: her supernatural vision allows her to see the strange monsters that appear in alleyways, on volcanoes, and even amidst the most mundane barroom brawls.
The story takes us into such a bar scene where Katya and her two best friends attempt to hit on a handsome man who turns vicious and offends the girls. Katya follows him outside to give him a piece of her mind.
Pursuing this stranger, Katya witnesses a bizarre incident in an alley, discovers she has paranormal powers, and faints. When she comes to, she slowly learns of her entanglement in a cosmic conflict in which human souls are at stake. It turns out that this gorgeous jerk that Katya and her friends were hitting on is a Scottish Grim Reaper with whom she develops a relationship that sparkles with engrossing eroticism. From this hottie, Katya learns that Stuffers, Cravers, and Wanters are creatures from the realm of the dead who were once human, but their souls are not at rest; so now they are destroying the world and stealing life force energy supplies, called Vis, from the living. Boston’s strange tremors have been due to the spirits of dead human beings roaming around, causing an imbalance in the Live Realm. Something needs to be done about these Wanters, but even the Generals in the ethereal realm of Ager are not sure how to restore balance.
“The Scot”/Grim Reaper refers to Katya as “the anomaly.” The beings of the afterlife realm have never seen a living human with so much life force energy (Vis). The Generals of Ager suspect Katya may be able to intervene to help stop the Live Realm from imploding. But she must find her secret weapon, and she has a lot of training and growing up to do.
This novel is engrossing and unique, but a little more plot development and a little less adolescent banter would help it move along even faster. In the divine realm, God is opposed by Drachen, and there's a battle brewing in which the fates of billions of souls are at stake; meanwhile, the way the friends talk to each other, trying to come up with the best clever come back, did not match the urgency of the plot. When Katya breaks up with Roger, or forces Gregor to apologize to her friend Aime, the plot highlighted these adolescent concerns. However, when the story turned to parts that seemed more reminiscent of spiritual battles in Japanese anime, the tension really turned up.
Eventually, the reader learns that Katya needs to know herself first, before she can become a hero. Her training with General Raf teaches her about herself. She matures, and the novel picks up the pace when she meets Mika, her ancient supreme consciousness. Along the way, Katya has some tough choices to make, and it’s satisfying to watch this character choose and grow. This book covers a spectrum ranging from emotional immaturity to experience and responsibility. It is enough to make a reader eager to read book two in this series.
Quill says: K.T. Cote’s Awoke grabs the reader’s attention, delivering a tale that is as suspenseful as it is emotionally layered.
For more information on Awoke: The Unseen War Series, please visit the author's website at: https://www.ktconte.com/