Author: D. L. Blade
Genre: Supernatural, Young Adult
East Greenwich may be a small town, but it is riddled with secrets. Mercy knows this more than most – she still suffers from the scars. The trauma from the ultimate betrayal has caused her to keep her distance from everyone she holds dear. A stranger who lingers in her subconscious seems to be the exception to the rule. His comfort is a refreshing distraction from her tormented fears.
Unbeknownst to her; the past is weaving its dark web, waiting to strike. Upon a startling car accident, Mercy is shocked to find that her enigmatic mystery man, Caleb, is real – and she belongs to him. He reveals that Mercy’s family is strongly linked to an ancient coven; the roots slowly dragging her back to Salem again.
There may be a spark between Mercy and Caleb, but she is torn between wanting to kiss him – and running from him. Evil forces are awakening, growing bloodthirsty as the days and nights pass. Mercy must Awaken the dormant powers inside her, tackle the lies, betrayal, and blood-drenched past lives rotating around her in never-ending cycles. Can she bear the burden? Will she find it in herself to trust Caleb despite the shadowy past?
To slay a monster; you might need to become a monster.
If The Dark Awakening by D. L. Blade wasn't in my list of books to read as it was rather a last minute event, I don't regret it. It's been ages since I last read a novel mixing young adult and supernatural, especially with witches as the central point. I love witches stories (former fan of Charmed and Sabrina the Teenage Witch speaking here) so it was a rather refreshing ride.
For the first part of the book, D. L. Blade introduces to us her heroine, Mercy, an average teenage American girl who just graduated from high school. Before the story even starts, Mercy has got through a very hard event; her mother trying to murder her. This is a sign of a complicated life, where she had lost all her bearings, and it's about to get worse when Mercy meets Kaleb. She discovers her true nature and the destiny she was born to fulfill.
What I first enjoyed about The Dark Awakening is the everyday life of Mercy. It might sound a bit weird for you folks who read this post, but as I'm your average French person, living in France, I used to daydream about living in the US when I was younger. Still do, in a way. So I enjoy books in which we get a glimpse of the daily lives of young adults in the US. Meeting for lunch, having a relative working at a café, having your driving licence at sixteen and all that cliché jazz you see in movies or on TV shows.
The way the author introduces the main character, her family and friends and the supernatural gradually entering her life is nicely done. The characters are relatable and all have their own personality. At first, I was afraid there'll be a love triangle between Riley, Mercy and Kaleb (I don't really like love triangles, it's an overused drop according to me) but fortunately, the friendship between Riley and Mercy is just that, friendship. I think my favourite secondary character was Lily, Mercy's aunt.
What I also appreciated is that Mercy doesn't experience love at first sight with Kaleb. The guy is gorgeous and makes her weak to the knees, but he's kinda controlling and creepy, and for once it's refreshing to see a heroine who doesn't fall for the stalker guy. I mean, Bella and Edward, brrr. And being a former Twilight fan, I know what I am saying. No, Mercy tells Kaleb to piss off, c'mon dude, she won't trust you if you keep being creepy and doing things against her will. Mercy's feelings for Kaleb evolve during the story, but she can't forget the way he acted with her.
I also enjoyed the ever-present action. There's not a moment I've been bored during my reading. There're twists and turns for the characters, several enemies and danger revealed all along the novel and it's nice. I also liked the background D. L. Blade has created for her story and characters and the fact they're a lot of various supernatural creatures, from witches to vampires to demons to angels.
My only regret may be the impression that the story and events were a bit rushed. It might be a personal preference, but I found the characters (especially Mercy as we live the story from her point of view) lacking a bit of depth in their psychological development. Not that they're unsubstantial or empty shells, but I enjoy when characters reflect more on their emotions or what's happening to them. Maybe it's a specificity of YA novels, but I love thoughtful and brooding characters so… the perk of being high IQ I guess, I know a lot of people who are fed up with my own characters mental monologues lol. I have to admit that I didn't manage to get attached to characters such as Dorian or Camy, but it's only the first book in the series, so I can't complain ;)
To conclude this review, I want to say that I really enjoyed The Dark Awakening and will be waiting for book two. It's D. L. Blade's first novel, and it's nicely written and very well structured with good characters and actions, with a nice supernatural touch which will bring you to another world for a time.