Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Book Review: 'Awakening' by Tiera Rice

New York author Tiera Rice makes her writing debut with this exotic thriller that seems as though she is successfully branching out into a new career. Tiera is also a realtor, has earned a degree in criminal justice from Temple University, is a cancervivor, the founder of Laughter and Lemonade: a project that focuses on motivational posters for those experiencing a chronic illness, and co-founder of #26forTiera: a foundation that provides financial resources to single parents battling life-threatening illnesses. She gives emotionally to mankind and now gives solid entertainment to what will likely become a large reading audience.

Mention the word Romania and immediately the vampire realm comes to mind. And that is where much of Tiera’s book dwells, but it is the manner in which she admixes history, mythology, and modern day characters that makes her journey into the unknown more powerful. It takes a bit to adjust to the vocabulary and names (there is a glossary at book’s end to help). Sample the Prologue set in 1996 in San Francisco – ‘“You understand why I am here, Vrajitoare,” he said. “I do.” Gently holding her swollen belly, the woman shifted in her seat to regard the Keeper. “We have avoided the affairs of the Strigoi for many centuries, but I have foreseen what destruction awaits us should we fail in this task.” The woman gazed at her belly sadly and let out a deep sigh before returning her gaze to the Pazitor. “We must do everything necessary to prevent that from happening— the Order of the Dragon must not gain control or all will be lost.” The Keeper merely nodded in agreement. “Where is the fiinta?” she asked. Reaching inside the collar of his jacket, the Keeper pulled out a small corked potion bottle affixed to his necklace. Inside the bottle was a swirling mass of brilliant white light. “She’s beautiful,” the woman whispered in awe, eyes reflecting the glow of the light. She held out her hand and he handed her the bottle. “Indeed,” he said in return. The light continued to dance in the bottle. At the touch of the woman’s hand, it changed from white to green. The Keeper’s eyes widened as he watched the light continue to change to red and, finally, to gold. “I have never seen the Essence take that color before.” He beamed at her— for the first time, he was hopeful. Still mesmerized by the light, the woman uncorked the bottle and put the rim to her lips. She closed her eyes, tilted her head back and drank the contents in a single draught.’

From there we jump back in history to the year 1480 where we meet Antanasia and learn the history of Romanian vampires – or as the summary distills it, ‘Antanasia knows better than anyone that being royal comes with lots of expectations. Born into war as a Vampyre Witch, she has to battle the ultimate enemy: her own blood. When she has a terrifying Vision, Antanasia fights harder than ever to prevent it from coming to pass. Will she succeed? Or does she die trying?’

Next we meet Nadia, a modern New York City teenager struggling with her personal identity and journey to adulthood ‘whose day turns upside down when she starts developing unusual abilities that make her question everything she knew. Searching for answers to her predicament, she finds herself trusting Nicolae, a stranger with a familiar presence. Why does she feel so drawn to him? Will Nadia find answers to the questions about her past and take on her new role willingly? Or will she choose to remain in the dark and deny her destiny?’

A lot of story, very well ‘researched’ and written in accessible but often elegant prose, AWAKENING has all the elements to keep a reader involved and pledged to follow the subsequent installments in this series. Grady Harp, December 16

Editor's note: This review has been published with the permission of Grady Harp. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.

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