Book Review: Awakening, by Natalie King

Available in bookstores now. 

When Zelie Taylor moves with her family to cv_awakeningNew Zealand, she has no idea how drastically her life is about to change. She is suddenly surrounded with strangers, can’t stop thinking about the charismatic Otis Hayes, and is trying to move on after the sudden death of her mother. Zelie’s first week in New Zealand has been a hectic one, but things are about to get a lot stranger…

Fragile Kate Hearn certainly doesn’t seem like a witch at first; and yet all of a sudden, she has tricked Zelie into retrieving a pendant from the icy depths of Lake Tekapo. This is no ordinary pendant, however – inside it lives the mind and soul of a seventeen-year-old boy from 19th century Europe. By the time Zelie has tried on the pendant on Kate’s orders, it is too late to go back. A spell has bound Zelie’s life to the life inside the pendant – and if she takes it off, the boy inside will die.

Several things become quite clear over the next few days; first of all, Tamas is not going to be easy to ignore. Just as confused as Zelie is, he demands news about the modern-day world, exhausting her mind as he scavenges for information. Then there’s the problem that Tamas sees everything through Zelie’s eyes, completely invading her privacy. This means never being alone at any time, and at first Zelie can’t stand it. She is desperate to get rid of the pendant – and Tamas – as soon as possible…all she needs to do is wait until he is strong enough to survive without her. But Tamas is no ordinary boy – it soon becomes obvious that he has powers even stronger than Kate’s.

Zelie is slowly drawn into this bewildering world of magic, and realises that when the time comes, Tamas will no longer need her. Will she be able to forget about the brave and witty soul that she has known for what seems like years? Or will Zelie never be safe from the magical dangers that sweep around Lake Tekapo? Only one thing is certain as Zelie tries to decide what the right thing to do is – nobody can be trusted, and nobody is safe…

Awakening by Christchurch author Natalie King is a novel for young adults that will thrill and inspire, intrigue and mystify. An addictive fantastical romance, readers will find themselves reading for hours on end as the complex relationship builds between Zelie and Tamas, and as they try to identify the true villain who is hidden in plain sight. This book is certain to become a huge hit with New Zealand teens, as it is sophisticated yet never dull. Unpredicable and filled with both relatable and eccentric characters, Awakening teaches readers that they needn’t go looking far to find their own adventure.

Reviewed by Tierney Reardon

by Natalie King
Published by Penguin Books NZ
ISBN 9780143570790