Fiction, Middle Grade, Paranormal

Review: The Awakening by AJ Donnelly

Mind Splinters: The Awakening book cover
Image from AJ Donnelly; used by permission

Title: The Awakening (Mind Splinters #1)

Author: AJ Donnelly

Genre: Paranormal

Every kid dreams of having super powers. So when 12-year old Max Daely realizes he can read minds, he can’t believe his good luck. Then reality hits. His new powers not only control him, they attract a nefarious cast of villains, all with dark designs on how Max can help them take over the world.

I’m not a big fan of mainstream paranormals, but anything with psychic powers trips my trigger. The summary was a little vague, but hey, telepathy. How bad can it be?

Max was actually a pretty normal preteen boy – which kind of surprised me. I expected him to maybe be a nerd, or a loner, or someone more likely to get psychic powers. I liked him, although I didn’t love him, maybe because I’m a seventeen-year-old girl and Max was a twelve-year-old boy.

Gray Towers (besides the fact that his name sounded more like a place than a person to me) was honestly pretty bland. I guess I expected him to play a bigger part. Besides recruiting Max for lessons, he didn’t really do anything else until about halfway through. I can see how he’s kind of the uninvolved mentor guy, but I think he should have done more in the first half.

I didn’t expect Max’s friend Burke to be an important character. I honestly thought he was there just to establish Max had friends. But then he turned up to play a major part in the end. He wasn’t a bad character, but he was just kind of bland – maybe because he wasn’t in hardly anything of the first half.

The plot took a little time to get started – the tension was pretty low in the first half, but there were hints of something going on. Then, in the second half, it picked up. And I mean really picked up. I’m not going to give away any spoilers, but let’s just say that once I got to the second half, the plot got amazing. And creative. And there were lots of psychic powers.

My only problem with this book was some character issues. In the first half, the major characters are Max, Mr. Towers, Wicksin the telekenisis teacher, and a little bit of Mya, a kidnapped telekenitic. I grew to like/dislike/feel bad for them. Then, about two-thirds of the way though,a bunch more characters showed up. I think I might have liked them if I’d have gotten to know them earlier in the story, but without knowing who they were, I just didn’t care.

The Awakening did need a little work, but overall, I enjoyed the story. The second book in the Mind Splinters series, The Fallen, isn’t at the top of my reading list, but I’d be interested in reading it. (Hopefully, I’ll get to know some of these characters a little better.)

I received a free review copy of The Awakening from the author. His generosity in no way influenced, or sought to influence, this review.

Mind Splinters series:

  1. The Awakening
  2. The Fallen
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