REVIEW: Dark Awakening by Kendra Leigh Castle

Publisher: Forever
Where did get this book: e-ARC
Release Date: Out now

Enter the world of the Dark Dynasties . . .

For centuries, shapeshifting vampire Tynan MacGillivray has prowled the night as an outcast, valued only for his ferocious hunting skills. When a feud among the immortals escalates into all-out war, he is ordered by his ruthless queen to locate a Seer-a human woman with a special gift-who can secure victory for their clan. Ty’s search leads him to a quiet New England town, but once he has the Seer in his grasp, her touch awakens within him a hunger like he’s never known . . . Lily Quinn has always been different. Since childhood, she’s had vivid nightmares and an eerie sixth sense. When a sexy, silver-eyed stranger demands her help, Lily plunges into a new world of danger and sensuality. With Ty, she discovers sizzling passions she cannot deny and powers she cannot control. Soon, it is clear that Lily is much more than a Seer-she holds the key to ancient secrets and unthinkable destruction. But will a vampire’s vow of eternal protection stop these evil forces . . . or unleash her dark destiny?

*Blurb from goodreads*



Lily Quinn isn’t having a great evening after it has turned out to be a bit of a dud, but when she encounters a handsome and mysterious stranger, Ty MacGillivray, who claims that he needs her help because of the terrifying psychic powers that she has kept hidden could help to trace the vampires who are attacking his bloodline which is on the verge of disappearing.  Her life changes irrevocably forever and Lily soon is drawn into deepening danger that threatens her life. But as Lily reluctantly agrees to help him, and even though she is  deeply attracted to Ty, he might be the reason who endangers her.

Dark Awakening had a really promising start. I really enjoyed the opening scene when a young woman is about to be turned as a vampire and join a vampiric dynasty line, but is interrupted when bloody mayhem ensures when the ceremony goes tragically wrong. At this point I thought that this was going to be a great read. However, this wasn’t the case as the promising beginning ebbed away with the tension and lackluster characterisation.

I was most disappointed with the romance, which I found didn’t have a great basis for romantic tension and the characters, especially Lily’s was inconsistent. When she is initially approached by Ty, they were drawn together,  and initially that was a great start. However later when she’s forced to flee with Ty due to his enemies pursuing them both  and she realises that he is a vampire, she is understandably  afraid of him and is suspicious of his intentions. But the attraction that plays out never really transitioned well because as their romance evolved, there were a few scenes where he would use his powers for seduction as a way to subdue and seduce her, and I never really felt she wanted him and was compelled to.  Although later on in the book, this improved with both Lily and Ty mutually feeling the same, but I found her feelings inconsistent because there was no explanation on how she came from that point to falling in love with him. At that point, I never really believed and felt the basis of their  romance worked.

Another aspect that made this book a bit of a slog to read, was the TSTL elements with the characters. Throughout the book, Ty and Lily were warned about a trusted vampire leader, time and time again, and it got to a point where it was obvious that they were partly behind the attacks on vampires and the reason why the vampire court was in disarray. Yet, Ty was determined to ignore the warnings and his own misgivings  and to deliver Lily to them so she could help trace who was behind the attacks. But it was only until he was pointed out by another character that it was dangerous to trust this leader, that Ty realised this was a mistake, even though his best friend and others have said it was a bad idea. Another factor was Lily’s phone-call to her best friend to let her know she was alive and safe after she absconded with Ty. It was one thing to let her know but it fell into a cliched trap that had major consequences to Lily and Ty  and the telephone call conversation was pretty awkward. I knew this was a way to push forward the plot and mystery but it was very predictable that these plot points and characterisations fell into cliched pitfalls that never really helped to give tension and mystery to the plot, which was a shame because the premise was interesting.

I loved the idea of vampiric dynastic lines and the different types of vampires and their powers and shapeshifting shapes, as well as other supernatural creatures. But that initial promise never really lived to that expectation. I also felt the the pacing really dragged in the middle of the book and I almost DNF, but even though it picked up at the end, I wasn’t engaged enough with that to really enjoy the book.

Overall, I would have loved to enjoy Dark Awakening because I found the premise and opening enjoyable. I found that the cliched traps that led to TSTL moments and inconsistent characterisation didn’t appeal to me. I did actually enjoy the side characters of Jaden, Ty’s best friend, and Damien, who was his nemesis of sorts, who were intriguing. And I may check out their stories but with this book, although it held great promise, the execution didn’t tick my boxes.

I give Dark Awakening a D+

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6 thoughts on “REVIEW: Dark Awakening by Kendra Leigh Castle”

  1. I really liked her MacInnes Werewolves and was hoping to like this new series as well. I think I rated it a 3 for the same reasons you mentioned. I’m hoping that with the worldbuilding already set up I’ll enjoy the next book (Jaden’s story) more.

  2. I’ve got her MacInnes wolves on the shelf but I’m burned out on Vampires lately 🙁 Cliches and TSTL moments don’t get my world rocking either :S

  3. @blodeuedd – It wasn’t that bad, there was an interesting world-building but the TSTL scenes which were cliched made it very frustrating for me to read.

    @Mandi Same here! I really liked the premise but the execution and the romance didn’t work for me. I think if there was more time expanding the plot instead of relying on cliched elements it may have been more enjoyable.

    @Patti I really liked Jaden and the glimpse of his heroine was intriguing – I may pick up the second book because of them but may wait on reviews. I also liked Damian – I was just disappointed and frustrated with Ty’s feelings and his actions in the book.

    @Leontine Me too – I was burned out on PNR but I am getting back my mojo back. I think this is partly the reason why I disliked the book, because I am getting really picky now and less patient.

  4. Pingback: Dark Awakening by Kendra Leigh Castle | Literary Escapism

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