Official Rating: 1.5/5
Though music is forbidden and could get me in big trouble with the Ministry, I nevertheless often find myself singing softly in spite of the danger. Little do I know just how much hot water my strange compulsion to sing will actually land me in.
What is happening in the world around me? How is it happening? How does the stranger Noah fit into things? And most importantly… why me? I’m no more special than the next person.
So many questions and so many dangers. All I can do is trust that whatever is happening, it is good. I can see that it’s good, and I refuse to let anyone convince me otherwise.
This was a weird experience and not in a good way I’m afraid. A world where singing, humming, and music in general is banned is difficult to imagine. It is undoubtedly a horrifying thought. Yet, this is the world that Jaelynn lives in.
I think that maybe Awakening was some sort of a “pre-book,” but there is no excuse for the rather poor quality. It was not engaging, it was not descriptive, it was emotionless, severely under-developed, and drab. Now here’s why.
Jaelynn Rose is the heroine. Why? I have a strong guess, but for now, I don’t know and neither do you. Since neither you nor I know why she’s the heroine, I would assume that Stone would give hints. Maybe try to make it less obscure as to why she decided Jaelynn is the heroine I want to spend some of my limited time on earth reading about. Instead, all I am given is that when she sleeps, she hears songs. Phenomenal. Not to mention, at one point, Jaelynn isn’t sure what her own name is. She introduces herself as Jaelynn and her parents call her Jaelynn, but then she called herself Jaclyn when she was thinking. It happened once, but it was there. I for one would be terrified if I relied on a heroine who forgot what her name was.
I felt that Jaelynn was pretty naive. A few sentences here and there did their best to make her seem intuitive and always questioning things, but it didn’t happen. If anyone’s ever experienced a really long winter with a ton of snow, they know that there are huge potholes in the road and they easily fill up with water. Now, anyone with common sense wouldn’t look at a pothole filled with water and think “Haha! I’m going to jump in, it can’t be that deep.” because that’s just not a good idea. Sadly, that was mostly what Jaelynn did. She had no self-control whatsoever for example: “Whoa! A strange man is approaching? I’m totally safe if this fence is between us. Let’s exchange names! I want to tell you my secret that could get me and my family killed.” or even “I barely know you, but let’s cramp ourselves in this very small room all alone and hope nothing bad happens.” Really? Are you kidding? That is very dangerous, please don’t do that. Her inability to lie to her parents was eye-roll worthy. Of course she can’t lie to her parents, what does she have to lie about? She doesn’t do anything at all, besides a mundane routine and then hears some songs in her dreams. I’m sure this is just a tool to make sure in later books it seems like her “innocence” is being taken away because of the government. I didn’t see a leader in Jaelynn and while it could be a way to show character development throughout the later books, this wasn’t the way to do it. Instead of making me interested in seeing Jaelynn develop, it made me write her off the “Could Be a Heroine” list.
Noah had some mystery to him, but he was a little creepy. There was a lot of insistence on faith from him, which I will address later, but I didn’t feel like it matched his character. He was too calm, too collected, too controlled. I won’t give away spoilers, but he just seemed to know everything and that put him on a level that wasn’t human. It’s not natural to not eat for two days and still be able to walk for some amount of miles and still be cheerful. It’s definitely not natural to continuously shrug off everything/everyone who could cause you harm because you somehow know that you’ll be fine. I felt it made him creepy. He suddenly shows up from nowhere, somehow meets up with Jaelynn, she just automatically trusts him for whatever reason (that’s more her fault though), he’s trespassing on her property at night then is shocked when he realizes that scared her, and he’s totally comfortable with answering the door to the shed in his underwear. The last one makes me question why he ever thought that was appropriate. You just met this girl, she’s risking her life by hiding you, and you decide, “You know what? We’re on underwear basis now. I hope you enjoy striped boxers, Jaelynn, here I come!” What would you have done if she had come to tell you to run? It was an obvious and tasteless way to push the two characters together to create a love interesting. Three words: Please Do Not.
The plot was weird and created many questions with no answers. Why is there no rain? Why is music banned? Who is the Ministry and why are they called that? How did the world get to where it is? Why is there so little food when rationing? Is the government so heartless that they’re starving their citizens? And if so, I’m sure the government doesn’t control the whole world, why not leave?
Then there was the religious aspect. It came off so forced that I was uncomfortable. Noah constantly insisting that there is a God made him sound preachy and it annoyed me. I’m not sure if it’s supposed to be a Young Adult Sci-Fi novel with religion in it, but it didn’t seem to fit. Maybe it will work better in the next books, but I suppose I will never know.
This section seems short because it is. There wasn’t much meat to the plot. All I knew was: Jaelynn and Noah are special. There is a God. Ministry hates music. They’re coming.
Not much to go on.