by Kelcy Williams
Reawakened, a great read for lovers of mythology, love triangles, Egyptian princes and adventure, is the first novel in the Reawakened series by Colleen Houck. The protagonist, Lily Young, is a seventeen-year-old living in New York City. During spring break she goes to her favorite museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and comes across the mummy exhibit. What she doesn’t expect is for the Egyptian prince Amon to awaken, handsome and shirtless, and inform her that he needs to borrow her life force until he can find his brothers. Lily, being raised in the present day, where shirtless men wearing skirts are not the norm, thinks he is crazy and has a plan to feed him and then return him to whatever mental institution she believes he has escaped from. Through a magical twist, she finds herself in Egypt on a quest to find his brothers, the personification of the moon and the god of the stars, so that they can defeat the evil shape-shifting god Seth and save humankind before time runs out. Quite a yarn.
I’ve found Colleen Houck is a captivating writer whose books I cannot put the book down, and she does not disappoint with Reawakened. She starts the book wonderfully, describing the basic genealogy of ancient Egyptian mythology which, unbeknownst to the reader, is the foundation of the whole story. Indeed, the tale of Amon and Lily’s demonstrates the author’s extensive knowledge of Egypt and Egyptian mythology, and she weaves together these myths into a fascinating narrative.
Houck uses inner dialogue and diction to add depth to the protagonist Lily, and to bring out the personalities of other supporting characters in this novel. For example, she uses interesting dialogue in the line “I flashed my membership card,” as an exciting way to show the reader that Lily loves museums and visits this one often, instead of saying that Lily goes to the museum every Monday and Wednesday and stays until closing. Houck has also mastered the art of diction. This novel features a lot of adventure, and Houck captures it all with her colorful words. This book made me talk at the pages like I would a movie, pleading for Lily to not touch that rock, or to watch out for booby traps; for her to listen Amon, when he tells her to wait inside. She allows the reader to not just read words on a page but to live them out through the characters.
One of my favorite quotes from Lily is in the beginning of the novel when she says, “Though in my heart I longed for some chaos and adventure, the truth was that I very much depended on order to function.” This is a great quote, because it is ironic and foreshadows the impending chaos and journey she will soon partake on. If she thinks she needs order to function now, then she will so be proven wrong when she is thrown into a heart-stopping adventure. Lily develops into a stronger character able to handle the new challenges that life throws at her.
If I have any criticism of the book, it is that the first part of the story escalates too quickly. Lily meets a strange man in the museum and thinks he is mentally ill, but then three chapters later she wants to kiss him. This introduction of romance into this novel seems rushed and awkward. From that point on, however, as the story begins to really unfold, both the romance and plot is set at the perfect pace. If you enjoyed the novels in her Tiger’s Curse series, then it may take a while to stop picturing her other heartthrobs, Ren and Kishan, in place of Amon and his brothers, but believe me, Amon’s features and mannerisms are definitely swoon-worthy. It’s a great read. Be careful when you read it, because the second book is not out yet and you may very well fall off of the cliff you’ll be hanging from.
Editor’s note: The second novel in this series, Recreated, will be published this summer.
Kelcy Williams of Maryland studies Mechanical Engineering and Professional Writing at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Worcester, Massachusetts, to be a Mechanical Engineering major, soon to have a Journalism minor. She loves books and Korean barbecue.