Title: Knight Awakened
Author: Coreene Callahan
Genre: Adult Historical Paranormal Romance
Release Date: December 4th , 2012
In AD 1331, warlord Vladimir Barbu seizes control of Transylvania. But in spite of his bloody triumph, his claim to the throne remains out of reach. The king of Hungary opposes his rule, the Transylvanian people despise his brutal ways, and the high priestess needed to crown him has vanished without a trace. But Barbu hasn’t come this far only to be thwarted by a woman. He unleashes his best hunters to track her down and bring her to him—dead or alive.
For Xavian Ramir, killing is the only life he has ever known. Torn from his family when he was a child, he was trained from an early age to be an elite assassin. But now he longs for something more, vowing to start anew after one last job. The bounty on his target’s head is enough to set him up for good—if he can resist the long-dead conscience that stirs to life when he meets his beautiful mark.
Afina Lazar never wanted to become high priestess, but the brutal murders of her beloved mother and sister leave her no choice. Now she is running for her life, desperate to protect the magical amulet entrusted to her care. But when Barbu’s assassin comes for her, she realizes her only chance of stopping the warlord’s rise to power is to convince this enigmatic—and handsome—hunter that she is more valuable alive than dead.
Dramatic and fast-paced, Knight Awakened is a stirring love story between two people searching for a second chance in a magical world of assassins, warlords, unearthly beasts, and nonstop adventure.
Summary from Goodreads.com
My Review: I am a big fan of Coreene’s Dragonfury series, so when Coreene contacted me to see if I was interested in reviewing Knight Awakened I jumped at the chance. I do not read a lot of historical romance, but there is enough paranormal in this book to keep me satisfied. And I actually found myself really loving the language of this time and the historical elements that were woven into the story. Since this is the first book in the series Corenne did have a lot of information to give us to develop this world, but she gave it to us in small doses and avoided the info dump that can often come with a new series. I appreciated getting just bits and pieces of the puzzle as the journey unfolded before us.
In Knight Awakened, we follow Xavian and Afina. Xavian is a trained assassin who has escaped his maker in an attempt to start a new life. He no longer wants to bend to someone else’s will, but desires freedom. Some have followed him and he has become their unintentional leader. While he still has killer instinct he tries to go about every situation fairly and does not punish those who do not deserve it. He is a complete alpha male, but is broken inside and needs someone to help him realize that he too deserves to be happy. Enter Afina, she has also been dealt a bad hand in life and has no family to speak of, except her sister’s daughter who she now cares for. She is on the run from Vladimir Barbu who wishes to use her for political gain. She starts off a little skittish and is unsure of her own strength, but she quickly develops into a head strong woman who is brave, caring and fights for what she knows she deserves. While both characters go through physical obstacles, Knight Awakened is really a novel about self-discovery. Xavian and Afina are just now learning what they are truly made of and how to heal a lifetime of hurt so they can let someone else in.
The romance in this book was a slow build since the two characters do not trust each other right away, but the tension was extraordinary to watch! Xavian and Afina both need someone to help heal their pasts and together they form a fragile bond that is tender and very sweet to watch as it slowly grows stronger. They are both inexperienced when it comes to divulging their feelings and I enjoyed watching them learn how to love together.
The action in this book was non-stop and really exciting. There were multiple people coming after both characters and danger lurked around every corner. We do get to see inside the enemies heads which was very intriguing. They are after Xavian and Afina for different reasons, but they are both evil to their core. They were villains that were easy to hate and I am sure we have not seen the last of at least one of them.
The world itself was so alluring. I soaked in all the vibrant details that Coreene gave us. We travel alongside Afina and Xavian as they journey cross country and I could picture it all as a map unfurling in my head. Since the characters do not remain stagnant and the scenery kept changing, it kept my mind fully engaged in the world and even when there was a lull in the action I was still fully immersed in the world.
Overall, Knight Awakened is a stellar start to a new series. Coreene has blended together a magical world filled with fierce warriors, an intriguing prophecy, malicious villains, mythical creatures and scorching hot romance that will burn up the pages. Even though this book was four hundred and fifty pages, I devoured it in one sitting, it was just that amazing! I loved every second I spent in this world and can only hope Corenne will continue the journey and let the other warriors have their own books as well. I am personally hoping to see more from Henrik.
FTC: I received this ARC from the author. Thank you!