AWAKENING
Rebecca Vinyard


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Book One of Destiny’s Dreamers
Awe-Struck E-Books, Apr 2004
Reviewed by Joy Calderwood

Sci Fi Romance

Jack and Kaylith have been meeting in dreams ever since they were children. They have never seen each other in person, but there has never been anyone else for either of them. You could say they grew up together, even though Kaylith was born 150 years before Jack.

As we meet Jack, he has finally found Kaylith’s ship Talon, floating derelict in space. The hole in its side indicates sabotage. Kaylith is the only person on board who survived, because her stasis tube is the only one that was not purposefully destroyed. She has been in suspended animation for generations. Kaylith was outlawed by every planet except the blue Tjoran warriors at the time she disappeared. It was only later that she was credited with founding the interspecies Unity which governs the galaxy. In Jack’s time she is revered as The Legend.

Who were the attackers who destroyed Talon? The power hungry Elvan Mindmasters? The cheating Corban traders? The unscrupulous Terran diplomatic corps? Each species is greedy for palacite, the stone which enhances ESP powers. Palacite is found plentifully on Sentarl, Kaylith’s home planet, but the Sentarli are intensely xenophobic, and will never deal with outsiders.

Jack and Kaylith have a great deal of adapting to do. Kaylith has awakened far out of her time, the stories of her life severely distorted from reality. In Kaylith’s presence, Jack’s mild ESP powers are expanding by leaps and bounds. Kaylith’s dead crew have an unexpected effect on Jack’s crew. Then suddenly Kaylith’s attacker is back, insinuating him- or herself into the mind of one of the crew.

Author Rebecca Vinyard guides us deftly back and forth between three time lines: The embattled youth of Kaylith, as she and Jack meet and learn to depend on each other in dreams; the lifelong determination of Jack to find the ancient Legend who is his lover; and the mysterious events after they meet. The dates at the head of each chapter help readers to keep track, but Vinyard has done a good job of balancing each time line and giving us the clues we need to know where we are.

Two character groups stand out for me in AWAKENING, aside from Jack and Kaylith. Kaylith’s deadly mother and certain of her other children are chilling. All of Meeral’s children are experiments in crossbreeding with other humanoid species, in an attempt to produce strong competitors for the throne. In contrast, the unique acquaintance between Orna of Jack’s crew and Roar Far of Kaylith’s crew is heartwarming. It seems strange that such an angry fighting spirit as Roar Far – perfect name – can be cute, but she is.

AWAKENING is the first of a trilogy. The end of AWAKENING is definitely not a stopping place in the story. We have resolved the immediate situation, but now Kaylith and Jack and their people have to deal with a long term power play by the Elvans and sheer lunacy by the Sentarli. AWAKENING is more like the first of three chapters in one book than it is like three books in a sequence. We have to wait for the next chapter to continue the story.

March 2004 Review

 

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