Book Review: Awakenings, by Edward Lazellari

Tor
348 pp.

Fair warning: I did not care for this book at all. I am also going to say up front that you should not read this book if you are triggered by body horror and gore. In fact, you should not read the review because of spoilers. If you are offended by obnoxious ethnic stereotypes, horrible hillbilly caricatures, and creepy Madonna/whore and sister complexes, you will likewise not want to read this. (If you do like all of the above, then this is definitely the book for you.)

Awakenings is a standard variation of the “character has amnesia and discovers that he is not who he thought he was,” trope. In this case, a sleazy photographer and a cop both discover that thirteen years previously they had arrived on our Earth with the intention to raise the Special Child o’ Prophecy with the Significant Birthmark. Unfortunately, something went very wrong, everyone in the party lost their memories and were scattered. Now the bad guys have come to find said Special Child and kill off the kid. (I am slightly reminded of Thirteen Orphans, except Thirteen Orphans was actually entertaining, which this book was not.)

A few of the reasons why I didn’t like this book:

There is a scene where the cop and his partner arrive at the scene of a domestic dispute. An ethnic couple have just had a very violent fight concerning the husband not taking no for an answer. The cop decides that the husband is too old to go to jail so he issues the husband a ticket stating that he can have sex twice with his wife twice a week. His (female) partner notes that this is not a legitimate ticket but does not seem bothered by it or by cop’s statement that the ethnic couple would not realize that it was not legitimate. (Mr. Author, would you mine telling us in what country this would be legitimate EVER?)  

 A few other problems:

  • There is a sequence where the Child o’ Prophecy apparently does not have access to paper and chooses to vandalize desks. The principal is unhappy with him and this begins a downward spiral where Daniel ends up in a series of fights that eventually ends with him getting half killed by his stepfather. This is also not the problem! Nor is the problem that this entire sequence of events is in part related to the stepfather having a sexual relationship with the principal’s daughter. (I think it was the daughter.) The problem is that if this sequence of events was meant to make me sympathetic for the character, it failed miserably.
  • This sentence: “She had that ‘freshly fucked’ look cosmopolitan women strived to imitate at great expense…”
  •  This sentence: “Even when he shamelessly fondled Carla in the bath in another vain attempt to reclaim his humanity and maybe help her snap out of her stupor…”
  •  All of the other creepy sentences I am too lazy to go looking for.
  •  The villain is a comic book villain from the fifties, only with a super creepy sister complex. 
  • A lot of the male characters seem to have sister or Madonna/whore complexes.
  •  The not very bright hillbillies who horribly mutilated and murdered a centaur for religious reasons, because they thought he was the result of bestiality. (Why in the world would you send a centaur into a world where there were only humans? WHY?! That makes no sense!)

 In conclusion, this is a standard fantasy using a lot of clichés with a very creepy vibe.  

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Filed under anomaly/nexus, fantasy, Review: Book, urban

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