May 15, 2013

Spotlight on: Awakening by Nicole MacDonald

Title: The BirthRight Trilogy
Author: Nicole MacDonald 
Genre: Fantasy

Yesterday, the focus was on Book One in the Birthright Trilogy, The Arrival.  Today it's all about Book Two, Awakening.  And after the way book one ended, I couldn't wait to jump into this one.  Here are all the details!  (My review is at the bottom)

Be careful what you wish for...
A seemingly innocuous love spell caused Catherine, Sian, Laura, and Kassandra to cross worlds in search of their soul mates. But more than love drew them to Gar'nyse. Truths are revealed and lives forever altered after an attack at the castle. An age old feud between two archaic families threatens to tear the world they've arrived in apart. As the ultimate weapons in such a war the four girls are the only hope for peace.
But one of them lies unconscious from the attack, and the destiny that awaits her when she wakes will change everything.

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Sian tipped her head up to press a kiss to Daron's jaw then scooted off the bed and went to look out the windows.
Outside the forest darkened as the sun dropped, and the sounds of the animals changed. The day dwellers were going to sleep, and the night dwellers began to venture out. The sense of awe at such a sight struck her again. The window misted with her breath when she pressed her forehead against it, looking up.
'Daron, what's that?'
Daron glanced up to see her pressed against the window, staring in fascination at something. Marking a place in the book, he climbed off the bed and joined her at the window. Flickering lights had begun to appear in the air, and clusters of nightbloom were opening as twilight turned to dusk. The glow of the delicate flowers was a soft gold in the dark and made him smile as he remembered trying to pick one for his mother.
'Those are nightbloom, Pix. They only open at night and are very delicate. You can't pick them,' he said wryly and she smiled.


Daron nodded and opened the door to the balcony, gesturing for her to go out. Shutting the door behind them, he wrapped his arms around her as they gazed out.
'I really wanted to pick one for my mother when I was eight. My sister told me it wasn't possible, but I didn't believe her.' His older sister always knew the best, one way or another and even now, still loved to boss him and his younger brother around.
'She was right, as always. As soon as you touch a nightbloom they wither. Just those firefae can feed from them.'
'Firefae? Like Cat's fire?' Sian watched as one flitted close.
'No, they don't burn. They just glow. During their mating season they turn pink.'
One rested on the handrail. Sian watched as Daron coaxed it onto his hand.
'Have a look, Pix.'
She gently cupped his hands and bent to stare at the little creature. The tiny firefae watched her with large dark eyes. It glowed, a lovely orange shade, and the energy it used hummed through Daron's hand and hers.
'It's beautiful.'
It was kind of like the pictures of fairies she'd seen on Earth. A human-like shape but you couldn't tell its sex. Its tiny body was covered with fine, hair-like filaments, so it almost looked fuzzy. The wings that it flitted around with were shaped like a fan, the edges almost ragged, floating softly in the night air. Its large eyes were surrounded with beautiful long lashes, making the little creature look adorable. A second firefae landed next to it, and Sian quietly gasped. This one had hair, or what looked like it, that surrounded its head in a golden mane.
'That's a male,' Daron breathed the words as the two fae seemed to dance on his hand.
'How can you tell?'
'The gold mane.'
She watched the two interact together, marveling at their tiny hands and feet. Each digit had a slightly bulbous end, reminding her of frogs' feet. The fae wandered about Daron's hand for a bit longer, then pushed off, their delicate wings fluttering as they flew away to the nearest nightbloom.
They spent nearly an hour out there, watching as the forest turned to inky blackness. There were quite a few plants and creatures that were luminescent. It made the dark beautiful and eerie, reminding Sian of footage she'd seen of deep undersea dives. When they retired to bed, she snuggled up to Daron as he gently stroked her back.
'Pleased to be here?'
'I am. It's really lovely,' she yawned. 'I'll have to give Gredel a big hug for this.'

I definitely have to give props to Nicole MacDonald - she definitely knows how to write a good story!  Usually I find that with the second book in a trilogy, it is in a "transition" phase.  It's still trying to wrap up details from book one, while also trying to set the scene for book two.  They never really stand on their own.  This book accomplishes the two above goals, plus still manages to tell one hell of a story.  I know that I am beginning to sound a bit repetitive, but I just have to say one more time how glad I am that I didn't walk away from book one, The Arrival.  It's still a little early to say for certain, since I haven't read book three yet, but this is fast becoming one of my all-time favorite fantasy series.

I also need to say that I feel like I was really harsh of my criticism of the multiple POV's in my review of book one.  I will say that it still was really confusing for me to follow dialogue and who was thinking what all through The Arrival, but I'm either getting used to it, or the different formatting in book two made it WAY easier to keep up with the shifts.  In fact, the changing POV's didn't bother me at all in Awakening.  And yay for that, because I was so engrossed in the story that I would not have welcomed any distractions caused by confusion!

This book made me laugh and made me cry!  (The scene where Cat is searching for someone to look after Audi in preparation for leaving for the battle had tears running down my face).  There are not many books out there that pull me in so far that I'm invested enough to do that.  I love all four of the main character:  Cat, Kassie, Loi and Sian.  They are all so strong in their own ways, but yet each still shows real and honest vulnerability.  And their relationships with their men are beautifully touching.  Not to give too much away, but the ending of Awakening was so devastatingly sad, and so unexpected, but I knew something like that was more than likely going to happen.  Everyone was just a little too happy, you know?  Plus, I love the new little twist that MacDonald throws in by revealing that there is a snake on the home team that is only looking out for what they want - even if it means killing one of the good guys.

I highly, highly, recommend that if you are a fan of Fantasy, Romance, or just a really good book that you pick up this trilogy.  The Arrival is free everywhere (link here to read my review, and see all the purchase links), so hurry up and download it!

Author Bio
Nicole MacDonald is a thirty something year old Kiwi who loves to read and moonlights as a novelist. From a young age she fantasized about being the heroine in the books and/or movies she watched and credits the series ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’ for really inspiring her. Writing only occurred to her a few years ago after reading an abysmal tale with silly useless females where upon she decided to write a tale solely for herself where the girls got to kick butt without the usual sob story—betrayed/abused/abandoned etc. That little tale eventuated into the BirthRight Trilogy.
Nicole’s current daydream is that Joss Whedon (aka the genius of film) will discover the BirthRight Trilogy and demand the film rights to it. Until then, she’s working on several other writing projects and aiming to explore the world with her partner.

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1 comment:

  1. Eeeee!! Totally did a *squee* at the last line in your first paragraph! Can't wait to see what you think of book three ;) Thanks so much for the reviews (and for posting them on Amazon, much appreciated).


Thank you so much for your comment! I read each and every one of them, I swear. :)

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