Prophet of the Badlands
The Awakened #1
Published: April 27th 2015
Publisher: Curiosity Quills Press
I was caught up in this story right off. I really liked Althea’s narrative style. Her philosophy to just go with the flow makes total sense to me. I really liked Den too and his simple love for Althea. The lover’s situation is quickly setup and the big question: will she be able to get back to Den? was burning a fire in me the entire time I read. This setup would not have been enough to support me reading non-stop if it hadn’t been followed by some really great plot that arose through a masterful weaving of character and plot. I’m talking about a hidden secret, a crazy female phantasm and the necklace vision just to give you a few clues! I loved how she would eat whatever she could find and that she was so proud of the leather strip skirt she made for herself.
As Althea moved through this world we got exposed to some masterful world building that really made Althea shine. Paired with varied battles and moments of extreme survival and you were kept on the edge of your seat! We are essentially following Althea through the Badlands as she does everything to survive. As we do this Althea is slowly changed by every interaction she has with the denizens of the world around her. Althea made a perfect foil to these characters whatever their motivations she had a unique take on them and how to interact. The flow of the story was quite well done as Althea made choices that separated her or brought her together with people/creatures that she felt strongly about. You got a very real sense of being this 12 year old girl even if you totally disagreed with the choices she made…
Part of what makes Althea’s story so entrancing is how firmly she narrates the story. The subtle change in terms like for sex = wife her really helped establish her character. The way thing are described is very detailed, for the most part in a good way if a touch dense. The pacing was a little plodding at times as the story started to feel repetitive, especially once we left the Badlands.
Althea was not the only bad ass character, I also adored Karina and Father. I was sad about the dog man and Shepard. The twists with Rachel, Aurora and Mike the cop were startling. The villains were crazy, like totally unequivocally crazy! Things shifted and changed with every interaction. At one point you think Althea will surely slip out of this one due to “this” but then she surprised you and it was through another way! I loved how nothing is repeated as we followed Althea through this world!
This story could quickly get distasteful if not for the juxtaposition of Althea’s disposition to the hardness of the world. The switches in setting and the constantly changing survival situations were spot on. The end and the end end and the end end end were all so cool to me!!
BOTTOM LINE: Perfect balance of a hard apocalyptic world against the innocence of a child. 5 stars.
Thanks to Curiosity Quills Press for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review.