Book Review

The Awakening – Book Review

Book Rating: ★★★☆☆ (3.5 / 5 stars)

Henry thinks he’s going insane. After hearing voices, his brother and best friend, Benjy, commits him to a psychiatric ward. But as soon as he arrives, he is shipped off to North Caroline, to the Institute…home of Psionic Arts. After discovering his newfound psychic abilities, Henry and his friends – Tamra, Milton, and Kylie – must undergo a process known as an awakening. But, the awakening might not just awaken powers this time…and are they strong enough to face the challenges it will bring?

In a story that has elements of Inception and Harry Potter, we are taken to the Institute and introduced to a diverse cast of characters, as well as the complex and terrifying world of the Psionic Arts. Cody Blake Wilson helps establish this world as an overlay to our own; psychics are among us, but some of them might just be janitors.

I really loved the concept of this story. Who wouldn’t love the idea of getting whisked away to a psionic institute, hidden in North Caroline of all places? I’ve always loved psionic arts as a theory, and seeing it explored on page is enthralling.

In addition, the story is made by the diversity and realness of the characters. In the short amount of time, we fall in love with Henry, Milton, Tamra, and Kylie, as well as Tony and Benjy. Their characteristics are clearly displayed, perhaps in a way that psychically embeds them into our minds, and we see them develop over time. This is most evident with Henry, who opens up, and Milton, who shuts down, each based on their own experiences at the Institute. The two serve as a clear foil to one and other, showing how not everyone will respond equally to the same experience.

As often is the case, I do wish the book was longer. It fell victim to its fast pace and length, unfortunately. From a personal standpoint, I prefer books that are a bit longer and give us a chance to grow with the characters. In the span of 200 pages, we cover a year, and Henry learns about all type of psionic arts. But we don’t actually learn with Henry. Instead, we are told all the details after the fact. This also adversely impacts how we experience the Institute, as well as Henry’s relationships; so much is told to us rather than giving us a chance to experience with him.

That being said, I don’t think it took away from the overall story. Ultimately, the Awakening is about more than psionic abilities. It’s about awakening who you are and your place in the world, no matter your age. Henry, as a person in his late twenties, shows that even after college, you might not know who you are yet. And that’s okay. Sometimes, you just need to be woken up to your true calling.

I can’t wait to read more of Wilson’s Awakened Universe. I think there is a lot to explore…and for some reason, I don’t think that was the last we’ll see of the monsters lurking in the shadows of Henry, Milton, Tamra, and Kylie’s minds.

What’s it about?

When Henry starts hearing voices and seeings things, he thinks he must be going insane. Instead, Henry finds himself at the Fullove Institute for the Psionic Arts, a training ground and governing body for emerging psychics.

In order to fully access their powers, all psychics must undergo an Awakening, a trial within the mind to uncover the source of their power. But what was supposed to be a routine procedure quickly becomes something much more dangerous for Henry and his new friends. Now, Henry, Tamra, Milton, and Kylie must each wrestle with the notion of who they thought they were, and who it is they are quickly becoming.

The first book in its urban fantasy series, and the first installment within The Awakened Universe, The Awakening explores how each of us finds strength, power, and love both within ourselves and each other.


Indie Authors: A Community of Support

As a part of my launch event this past weekend, I interviewed and featured a handful of authors, all of whom represent different factions of the indie author community. One thing is universal among everyone I spoke with: we are a community. It is our job as indie authors to support one and other, because authors are not just authors…they’re readers too.

Indie authors get flack for not publishing traditionally. We all had our reasons though, and very rarely does it come down to our idea was rejected by agents. That’s not the case. We wanted to independently publish for a reason. Whether it was to get the story out there, having control of the process, or something else entirely.

I had the honor to meet a group of wonderful independent authors over the last week. You can meet them all below:

Eme’ Savage

Eme’ is the author of Echoes of the Gidat and Tetarul Parallel. We had a wonderful discussion about her novel and process, as well as self doubt and how that comes into play while writing.

Cody Blake Wilson

Cody is the author of The Awakening, the first in his series. We discussed his first novel as well as LGBTQ+ representation in media.

Rachel Garcia

Rachel is the author of Illthdar: The Guardians of Las, the first book in an anticipated 10 book series! We talked about how she handles her wide array of cast, as well as diversity in writing.

Rachel Shaw

Rachel Shaw is the author of Last Memoria. We spent time discussing her duology, as well as how biology and memory comes into play in her novel. In addition, we also discussed how to produce an audio book.

Lane Northcutt

Lane is the author of the upcoming novel, The Delivery Co. We had a fantastic conversation about his experience as both an actor and writer, as well as his process. Unfortunately, technology got the best of us, crashing post interview and deleting the video.

That being said, you can still read about our discussion HERE.

Lori Yerxa

Lori is the author of the non-fiction book, Pushing Through, which is about Rex Patrick, Paralympic Medalist. We discussed the differences in writing a non-fiction novel, and what she learned about herself along the way.

Sterling Blue

Sterling is the author of This Isn’t the Zombie Apocalypse. We discussed her novel, her creative process, and her current work on a graphic novel.

Kaitlyn Legaspi

Kaitlyn is the author of The Dark Irregular Trilogy. We spent time discuss her trilogy as well as her countless number of projects that she can handle all while in college!

Yet, with all these interviews, I didn’t just stop there. I featured a few other authors throughout my launch.

All of these authors combined gave away 10 books in total, reaching readers whom they might not have due to indie authors supporting one and other. And I am so glad to have spoken with all of them, since each of their stories sound unique and have made it to my “to-read” list.

Speaking with each of these authors has helped me find a new sense of community among indie authors. It’s why I am trying to start up a book club, and will continue to read and review books written by my peers.

So I implore you, please check out all these authors! They’re amazing!

And I will continue featuring and supporting them, and I hope you will as well!

E.S. Barrison