It’s Day Five of the tour for Jessaca Willis’ debut novel Blood Awakens and finally I get my turn to share my thoughts on this post-apocalyptic novel. If you fancy checking out the rest of the stops on this week long tour check out my blog post has links to every participant.
About The Book
People called Sean a blood guide, though he never fully understood why. As far as he knew, he could hear heartbeats and heal people. It wasn’t until he walked in on his brother’s brutal murder that he learned of the darker nature of his power: blood speaks to him, and he to it. With a simple song, he can command it to do whatever he wants, and in that moment, he showed his brother’s murderers no mercy. Now Sean must fight to keep his inner demons in check and his path to redemption begins with the establishment of sanctuary for people like him, people with powers, the Awakened.
Graciela is one of many who did not Awaken, but she’s watched as her brother’s power as an empath—the ability to sense other’s emotions—has brought him to the brink of death. Together, they set across Central America in search of a cure, or at the very least, safety. What they find is a sanctuary called Hope, the same one Sean governs.
But they soon discover that even from within the compounds of the sanctuary, no one is safe. Not when there are people in the world with unimaginable power and insatiable bloodlust.
Two years ago a widespread epidemic saw large numbers of the world’s population inexplicably develop supernatural powers, forcing both those Awakened and Un-Awakened into a world where fighting for survival is all that remains . Since then it’s been a case of hunt or be hunted with devastating carnage the only thing left in the wake of those striving to stay alive.
With the world changed beyond recognition Sean uses his own Awakened experience alongside his personal heartbreak to help create a sanctuary for those in need of shelter and help coming to terms with their new reality. Despite the supposed safety of the community Sean and his people understand just how vulnerable their position is, especially with attacks on nearby Awakened communities. They must be poised ready to fight should the need arise, but will they have the strength to prevail?
Graciela is one of the few Un-Awakened left, however instead of staying in her home she has been on the road with her brother Santiago for months after fleeing to help protect him. Santiago is an Empath, which means he absorbs the feelings of others around him. Unable to control his power Santiago is left constantly drained by the overwhelming feelings transmitted by others and Graciela doesn’t know how much longer he will survive in his weakened state without help. With one of the few Awakened sanctuaries as their destination they just have to struggle through each day as it comes and hope they make it in time.
Despite reading the blurb for this book I really had no idea how the story would play out when I initially picked it up, or in fact if it would be something I would enjoy. I need not have worried though as this book starts with one of the most dramatic opening scenes I’ve read in ages, leaving me completely blown away and with a host of questions I was desperate to read on and find out the answers to!
Willis has an absolutely incredible talent for world building, creating mind blowing post-apocalyptic scenes using highly descriptive language that played out vividly in my mind as I eagerly devoured each page. She has created a host of imaginative characters with unique powers, however many have also retained their human characteristics which really gave them that all important believable feel. Despite the desperate situations many of the characters encounter throughout the book there is an overriding theme of community, family, loyalty and hope that perfectly balances the horrors that this newly created world throws up.
Like most first books in a new series this one covers plenty of background detail and has cleverly laid the groundwork for the action seen at its climax whilst setting up the story for what’s in store next – especially with such a teasing cliff hanger which has me gagging for more!
As with all the books that I really fall in love with I have struggled and procrastinated a lot before writing this review so I hope it truly does this amazing book justice. Blood Awakens had me hooked from the first page and took me on a rollercoaster of a ride throughout, keeping me on my toes and unable to predict what would happen next. This is one of the very few books that I could see working perfectly as a film or TV series and I for one would be first in line to watch it if it was!
Blood Awakens is an exceedingly strong debut novel and I personally feel I have found not only a new favourite writer, but that is has a piqued a new interest in novels of this genre, so thank you Jessaca! Puppet Dream is the second book in the Awakened Quartet and I will certainly be first in line to find out the fate of the characters I have become so heavily in,
About The Author
Jessaca is a fantasy writer, with an inclination toward the paranormal, dystopian, dark, and horror sub genres.
Jessaca studied social work for both her undergrad and graduate degrees and incorporates themes from her education (i.e. systems of oppression, family dynamics, mental health) into her writing. She is a self-proclaimed nerd who loves cosplay, video games, and comics. She lives in Portland, Oregon with her partner and their human- and fur-babies. She is an amateur trapeze artist (though currently, she’s on hiatus after having a baby).