In Fortuitous Awakening, book one of The Passage to Ascension Series, Heather Noëlle tells the tale of an ordinary young woman named Sam in the small town of Havenbrook. A new neighbor moving in next door seems to be the limit of unwanted excitement in her life. This changes when a rash of vandalism sweeps through her sleepy neighborhood.
When a shadowy figure breaks into her home, she realizes that not all is what it seems. As every answer leads to more questions, Sam and her new neighbor Caleb must set out to uncover the mysterious past of Havenbrook before dark forces fulfill their nefarious goals.
Fortuitous Awakening is a very well-written story that eludes genre definitions. From the start, the purposeful prologue hints at the tone which is reached mid-way through the book. Between, the story evolves quickly from a sarcastic anti-romance into a suspenseful thriller. The highlight of the action is right before the mid-point, and afterwards the novel shifts gears. From here out, the focus is on the relationships between the characters and a bit of self-discovery — which for spoiler reasons I can’t say more about. Trust me when I say that it’s a huge part of the story.
The majority of the book is in first person perspective in the present tense. A conversational tone is peppers each page delicately. This reserved tactic leads to a feeling of hearing the story inside Sam’s mind complete with her thoughts in the moment. It is not so prevalent as to break up the immersion into the story itself. Some chapters later in the book switch perspectives, and I believe this is hinting at things to come in the sequel.
The character of Sam is very lovable. From her revulsion to anything romantic to her regular geek-culture references; she is anything but the stereotypical romantic heroin. This contrast serves the book very well, for even as things spice up she still is cynical when it comes to relationships. This creates an internal tension.
I wish the main conflict had continued more into the second half of the book. The plot has a traditional three-act structure, but the third act takes up the second half of the book. Even though all of the interwoven plots hit their beats in expert manner, this slowed pace right after the tension peaks makes the reader wonder where things are going. Noëlle mixes together paranormal romance, occult mystery, and suspense thriller in an exciting blend of the genres. The book would feel more consistent if they were left in the blender a bit longer.
I’m sure that the sequel will fill these desires, and perhaps this is a genius lead-in to the rest of the series. In evaluating this as a single volume, however, I’m left wanting more resolution of the main conflict in this book. Being left wanting more might be a good thing, though! We shall see if the next book makes it worth waiting!
- Last week I was craving a BLT and figured now that I’m twenty-six, maybe I should give cooking another try. Big Mistake.
- Psycho racoon is fast – I miss it by inches that seem like yards.
- Are you friggin kidding me?
- The longer he takes, the more I feel like I’m going to catch fire or explode; my impatience is growing by the nanosecond.
You can find Fortuitous Awakening on Amazon.
About The Reviewer
B.K. is a full-time author of science fiction, fantasy, and horror inspired by the pulp fiction magazines of the early 20th century.