Book Review: Awakened (House of Night #8) by P.C. and Kristin Cas

Awakened is the 8th book in the House of Night series by P.C. and Kristin Cast. It was published by Atom on 25th October in paperback and the book is 304 pages long.

Plot
Exonerated by the Vampyre High Council and returned to her position of High Priestess at Tulsa's House of Night, Neferet has sworn vengeance on Zoey. But Zoey has found sanctuary on the Isle of Skye and is being groomed by Queen Sgiach to take over for her there. Being Queen would be cool, wouldn't it? And what about Stevie Rae and Rephraim? The Raven Mocker refuses to be used against Stevie Rae, but what choice does he have when no one in the entire world, including Zoey, would be ok with their relationship? Does he betray his father or his heart?

What I thought
When I began reading Awakened, I could barely remember what had happened in the previous book. It had been that long since reading it that I was now going into this book quite blind. As the story began to unfold though, it did all start coming back to me slowly. That is one of the good things about this series. Even though there are sometimes large spaces of time between books, each new one recaps on things that have happened before so that you can't forget anything important.

As with the rest of the House of Night series, Awakened is told from multiple points of view. As Zoey is the main character of the series, I would have preferred for her to have more chapters but it is also nice to realise what is happening with everyone else, especially as they aren't always together. This being said, I think it would probably have been better if other characters only got a chapter or two, instead of taking up whole chunks of the book. The series started with Zoey and what was happening to her and I think focusing on her would really bring the series back to being as good as it was to begin with.

The thing that I was happiest to see in Awakened was Zoey and Stark being back together. I loved Stark from the minute he arrived in the series and now he gets a much bigger part in the story overall. As Zoey and Stark have been through a lot together and have experienced things that no one else can understand, they share a very strong bond and I really loved how you could tell that they were now extremely close. As Zoey and Stark have been spending time on the Isle of Skye with Queen Sgiach, the story takes a very interesting turn when Zoey is given the opportunity of a life time. More and more is explained about Queen Sgiach and the things she believes in/ what she follows and I would have loved to have known more about this.

Due to the multiple narrators, the pacing of Awakened is all over the place. One character could have a lot going on and their storyline be very exciting but then another character would come in who has less going on. For me, this made the pacing really hit and miss throughout. I don't mind a change in pace, in fact, I think it's a good thing but here it was too much all of the time. Just when something would start to get a bit faster paced, the character narrating would switch and the pace would change to extremely slow or sad etc.

One of my biggest problems with this book (and the series...kind of) are the references to pop culture. I don't mind a couple in a book but Awakened is full of them. Having this in a book dates it very quickly and I think this is a massive negative thing for the series as a whole. There are other YA books that will be able to stand the test of time because they don't mention things that people will have forgotten about in a few years time. One mention that really bugged me was about Glee. Ok, Glee is extremely popular but the mention seemed really over the top and it wasn't needed at all. Considering the characters are always busy fighting off evil etc, when would they even have time to watch Glee?

Although there were some pretty big things that I didn't like about this book, there was also a lot I did like. Awakened seems to me like the book that sets up everything that is about to happen, a filler book. Each main character has a lot going on and is preparing to face down Neferet, hopefully once and for all. Towards the end of the book, everything began to get really exciting as smaller plot lines began to be revealed, not to mention the twist at the end. I really am hoping that Destined has some massive shocks in-store for House of Night fans. 

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