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Monday, October 12, 2015

Be careful what you wish for... The Dark Rituals: Awakening by Catrina Burgess

Hi guys and gals!
Welcome back to Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers.

Today, we're exploring the darker side of the Young Adult spectrum with a magically enhanced read that is sure to get your attention.  It's the first book in The Dark Rituals series and well frankly, it blew my mind.  I started in expecting a decent read for the spooky season, and came out with a thirst for the rest of the series...though my current reading schedule won't allow their inclusion yet. (*adds to wish list*) Ladies and gents, prepare to meet the next title on your MUST READ list...

The Dark Rituals, Book 1
Catrina Burgess
About the book...
In Awakening, the first installment in the Dark Rituals series, a former healer turns to the Death Arts to seek revenge.

Seventeen-year-old Colina was born a healer. But after a horrific event forces her to leave her clan, she becomes desperate to learn the dark magic of the death dealers, mages who draw their power from the spirits of the dead. Colina was taught to fear and hate death dealers, but becoming one of them is the only way for her to get the revenge she seeks—and the only way for her to survive.

Colina asks a young death dealer named Luke to help her, but he’s reluctant to train her in the Death Arts. Little does she know convincing him to teach her will be the easiest part of her journey. To become a death dealer, Colina will need to undergo three dark rituals, each more terrifying than the last. At the same time, she’ll have to deal with her growing feelings for her mentor. Too bad the first ritual involves him strangling her to death.

As Colina undergoes the trials, she discovers an untapped darkness within herself. If she survives the horrific rituals and gains dark power, what will she become?


Did I say I was blown away?
Because I was.

Sometimes you have a feeling about a new-to-you-author or series.  Going into it, you just have this inkling that something magical is about to take place.  This one?  Initially, I was clueless about what I was getting into, but once I starting reading, there was no question.  This is one of those series that may have managed to slip partially under the radar, but fully deserves the WHOLE spotlight.

Darkness breeds darkness, but in this story, we learn there are many shades in-between.  Colina's journey away from her Healer roots starts with the abrupt and violent end to her family.  Everyone wiped out in the blink of an eye.  Can you imagine?  No wait, don't.  It's too tragic.  That tragedy pushes her just far enough to cross the line to the path of a Death Dealer.  It sounds ominous, I know, and the dark powers they wield can be frightening especially when compared to the lighter path of healing, but as we learn, it's about the wielder's intent.  Good thing Colina's are pure, right?  Umm...sure... *-*  Anyway, her sights on are on the final prize, seeing her family's murderers pay for the lives they've taken...but unbeknownst to her there are MUCH bigger things brewing that all seem to lead back to her.  Will she succeed in her mission?  Better question still, who will Colina be if she makes it out alive?
Story wise, I was drawn deeper and deeper into the world of the author's creation.  There was just enough "history" to give it heft but not so much as to feel like a study in magic.  (Nice balance!) The emotions flowing through it all were certainly palpable.  One moment you were seething with anger and the next feeling the flutters of desire.  Turn the page and we're being driven down into the darkest corners of ourselves by some unknown force while yet another flick reveals a tender heart filled with sorrow.  It's a roller coaster but a GOOD one at that. 

Though the cast of characters was varied, they were all well represented.  From the feared banshees to those spirits that were simply finding their way to the other side, those in the magic community with good intentions and those that were best left to the shadows, everyone had a moment in the spotlight worthy of note.  My favorite character?  Luke!  Hands down.  Sorry Colina, I know this was predominantly your show and your journey was certainly nothing to shake a stick at, but there was just something about him that really struck me.  All those times she was questioning his motives and thinking the worst, I stayed true to my belief that he was hiding nothing.  Was I right?  Ah, the million dollar question.  I'm afraid I can't confirm that because it would be much to much of a spoiler but suffice it to say that things DEFINITELY get intense with everyone's fate balancing on the sharpened edge of a dagger. (Ha!  Great pun if I do say so myself...but you'll only get it after the read...sorry!)

Overall, it's quite the ride.  Though at times I wanted to strangle Colina for her timidity and wishy-washy decisions, she grew on me.  The more she let us see herself, the easier it was to understand where all of that was coming from and to overlook it. Though magic is a big part of things, it wasn't the only part, and it managed to give the story a human side that was easier to relate to.  It reminds us CLEARLY that vengeance is not the answer even if it sounds like the best option at the time and to be VERY careful what we wish for.  We just might get it and then some...

Recommended read for older Young Adult fans due to some intense situations, and violence.


About author Catrina Burgess...

I write because it helps keeps the darkness away and reminds me that there is magic in the world. I live with one husband, two dogs, and a cat named Shitty Kitty in a small mining town in Arizona. At night this place is definitely spooky. I swear I’ve heard the wind giggle, and sometimes there’s a very odd breeze. Luckily, I love all things that go bump in the night. I adore old movies. I’m a huge Joss Whedon fan.

I’ve been known to eat pizza and cold Chinese food for breakfast, and I’m the queen of the board game Stratego. I’ve never been beaten. NEVER!



Special thanks to author Catrina Burgess for the ebook for review.  (THANKS!)  For more information on this title, the series, the author, or the publisher, feel free to click through the links provided above.  This title is available now via Full Fathom Five Digital, so be on the lookout for it at a virtual dealer of your choosing.  ALSO, book two, Possession, is set to release 10/14/15 with the book three hot on its virtual heels!  No time like the present to get yourself initiated in the series...and all geared up for the finale FEBRUARY 2016.

Until next time...happy reading!


Tracy Terry said...

Wow, to say it blew your mind is high recommendation indeed. This sounds like a read I'd enjoy, perfect given that Halloween is just around the corner.

Barbara S said...

Great review I don't think anyone could resist reading this one cover to cover. I love a good scary book and this one seems like the one. So see y'all while I plan a chilling fright fest

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