The Awakening (Underveil, #1) book review

By imh No comments

Underveil: The Awakening is unfortunately a book I struggled to enjoy, primarily due to the prose and the characters.

The prose is weak, both heavily reliant on the passive voice, which saps the sentences and events of impact while often making those events feel simplistic, and on exposition both within the narrative and via the characters expositing information they already know to each other for the reader’s benefit. The prose also suffers from repetitiveness, sometimes conveying the same information twice in the same sentence, or multiple times over the course of a paragraph. The repetitiveness relaxes as the narrative progresses, but still crops up intermittently.

I found the character work a more significant issue though, in that none of them where likable. Alexa, our MC, flies into rage repeatedly and at the drop of the hat, and by repeatedly I mean several times whenever she interacts with a primary character. Often times for superficial reasons. An example of this is that during course of the narrative she translates an ancient scroll with the aid of an immortal demon-like character, and then when confronted about how she translated this scroll (despite a lack of key) flies into a rage. All this results in a character that feels bipolar and toxic
Victor is little better, often flipping into rage at slight provocations and being actively stalkerish toward Alexa (albeit that has narrative reasons, but it’s still unlikable behavior.)

The final primary character is Cain, and he’s decent as he lacks the predilection for abrupt rages. (And when he does rage, he tends to have reasonable motivation, such as giving Alexa a warning, that she then utterly ignores resulting in the release of an evil spirit.) At least ‘decent’ if you ignore his desire to ‘own’ Alexa and making her swear to ‘belong’ to him twice through the course of the story.

The pacing of the story is decent: rushed at the start through the scenes and character interactions, but slowing down after they reach the island where the primary plot takes over.

There’s other minor stuff that subtract from the narrative, from Alexa being obtuse when the plot demands it, to expressing distinct attraction for Victor to the readers in the start of the book before vehemently rejecting the prospect of dating him later on it in the narrative, and reprimanding him for suggesting it, etc.