Awake at Dawn (Shadow Falls #2)

Awake at DawnBy C.C. Hunter

Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Publication Date: October 11, 2011
Genre: Young Adult Paranormal
Source: Netgalley

Now that she’s settled in at Shadow Falls Camp, Kylie Galen’s determined to discover the extent of her supernatural abilities. But with a ghost insisting someone Kylie loves is about die, a rogue vampire on a murdering rampage, and her sixth sense telling her someone is watching her, Kylie’s quest for answers is quickly put on hold.

To make matters worse, just when she’s about to give her heart to Derek, a half-fairy, he starts pulling away. When Lucas, a werewolf with whom Kylie shares a secret past, returns, Kylie’s feels more conflicted than ever. Her weekend with her mom should have been the just the break Kylie needs, but it turns out to be her breaking point. Someone from the dark side of the supernatural world has plans for Kylie–and it’ll take all her resources to get back to Shadow Falls alive…

Goodreads Summary

*There may be some small spoilers for the first book, Born at Midnight (Shadow Falls #1)*

Kylie Galen is finally beginning to fit in at Shadow Falls, even if no one knows what exactly she is. Surrounded by werewolves, vampires, shapeshifters, fairies and witches, she’s…unclassified still. She’s still sort of, maybe kind-of dating Derek, a half-fairy, her roommates Della and Miranda are about to rip each other’s throats out and camp counselor Holiday is lusting after FRU agent Burnett.

Things are pretty normal until she drinks blood and likes it, grows half an inch and gains a cup size and gets a visit from a bloody ghost who warns her that someone close to her is going to die unless she saves her. There’s also a homicidal blood-soaked vampire gang member who has the hots for her and worst of all, her dad (not the dead one, the one she caught with the young chick who had her hand down his pants) keeps pushing for a visit.

In spite of a couple of what I thought were small suspense storylines, I still thought this book, like the first, was mostly character-driven without a lot of external conflict and I liked it that way. I was more interested in Kylie and her friends than I was with the ghost that haunted her this time or the reappearance of the vampire gang members. The best action took place in the relationships – romances, friendships, breakups and enmities.

Kylie continues to manifest new abilities and camp leader/counselor Holiday still can’t or won’t tell her what she is. I loved that when each new gift appeared, Kylie wasn’t simply happy to have it – she worried about what it would mean based on the prejudices she’d seen at camp and an underlying fear that she wasn’t going to be human anymore, which was her own prejudice. There’s so much that’s normal about Kylie in this abnormal situation, from her going to Holiday for advice and the two of them going out for ice cream when they’re having romantic relationship issues, to her taking cake decorating classes and remembering a hated birthday cake to taking it in stride when her roommate turns her beloved cat into a skunk.

I liked Derek a lot in Born at Midnight and was a little on the fence about whether Kylie should be playing with Lucas, but I didn’t really care for him in this book. He seemed flat to me and I just didn’t find the same chemistry between them. It’s true that he was pushing Kylie for an answer about their relationship, but things just didn’t feel the same to me this time. In contrast, even though Lucas left camp under dubious circumstances and he had a far smaller role in terms of time on the page, I thought he was a more important presence and one I wanted more of with Kylie. He was a more introspective, mature version of the person he was in the previous book and his quiet reappearance in Kylie’s life contrasted sharply with all of the hard edges of the way she and Derek were handling themselves.

Kylie’s friends and their stories are almost as good as hers and really make the entire camp come alive. Vampire Della with her sullen relationship with her family and her volatile relationship with roommate and witch Miranda has a crisis of conscience and there’s continued fallout because of her connection to the vampire gang. Miranda has some crazy relationship problems because of her non-romance with the formerly easy-going shapeshifter Perry and Holiday and vampire FRU official Burnett continue to antagonize each other, which means they want to tear each others’ clothes off.

Kylie’s home life even gets addressed finally and some progress is made between her parents – alive and dead – although a lot is left unsaid and unforgiven. The appearance of the ghost Daniel, her birth father, sends her on a personal quest that leads into the next book. There’s a nice teaser chapter at the end of this that’s just enough to make me say, “grrrrr.”

The weak spots for me were the time away from camp. The mystery of the ghost coming to Kylie was still interesting as long as it happened while she was manifesting new powers and Holiday was trying to help her use them to work with the ghost. Once she figured out what the ghost wanted, I was disappointed.  I’m dropping the warning behind some white text if anyone wants to be spoiled:

The ghost was warning Kylie about something that was going to happen with her best friend Sarah. I was disappointed because I thought the story could have been more interesting if someone other than a friend or family member of Kylie’s had been the target. There are only going to be so many times a loved one of hers can be in danger – worse, the storyline just sort of fizzled out once the big reveal happened.

I thought the inclusion of the vampire gang felt rushed and a little out of sync with the rest of the story – as written, it was important enough that it either should have been the focus or toned down. I felt like the relationships were primarily the focus and the rest of the book split between the ghost story and the vampires and it was too busy.

My Summary: Despite the two external conflict storylines that didn’t really work well for me, I enjoyed this enough that I’d buy it again. Even though Kylie’s being pulled between Derek and Lucas, I never felt it went far enough to call it a love triangle and I think Hunter played the trio exactly right for their characters. I just can’t say enough how much I love the rest of the crew at camp. They all brightened the story so much, I feel like I know them and I’m invested in their stories as much as Kylie’s. I have an idea where some of the plot is going in the next book and I can’t wait to get my hands on it.

My Rating: A-

Barbara

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Comments

  1. I really loved the first book, but this one sounds like a filler novel. Is this a trilogy or is this a longer series?

  2. Wow, now I really want to read this series. I've heard good things about it, but never quite so detailed(;- Asher (from Paranormal Indulgence)

  3. I adored this one! C.C. Hunter is just so amazing at creating this world. I compare this series to Hex Hall. Love the mixture of supernatural.

  4. Cait – Sure, you made me go look. 😉 It's a series – I wouldn't say it's filler though. The vampire gang plot is supposed to carry through from the first book, through this one into the next and all of the relationship issues carry through of course. I think if you loved the first book, you'll love this one too.Hi Asher! You definitely want to read this. Go, go. (I enable, therefore, I am) I did get a little bonkers with my details, I think. Eek.I agree Rie. 😀 I loved the way Hunter blends all the supernaturals together and I just love, love the whole camp/school setting. I was worried about sequel letdown, but this really came through.

Trackbacks

  1. […] next Shadow Falls books has been growing each time I finish one. I bought Born at Midnight. I found Awake at Dawn on Netgalley. I stalked the publisher for Taken at Dusk and I might camp out on St. Martin’s […]

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