3 out of 4 stars
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To turn to diamond or to dust: that is this book’s question.
Deanna R. Sweeney has gifted paranormal fantasy readers with a visually stunning reimagination of the caged lion waiting to pounce free. The biocentric imagery and metaphoric detail presented throughout Legions of Lilith: The Awakening inspires audiences to embrace nature’s beauty surrounding them and acknowledge the power of hidden life forces snaking around every corner.
Sweeney’s book follows a young woman who has been emotionally tormented throughout life. Shunned by society for her oddities and even chastised by her own mother, Veronica Strange is presented to readers as someone who has mostly given up. Much of the book’s first half is riddled with her inner dialogue working to blend into the crowd by masquerading the charade of normalcy expected by the community. What becomes blindingly clear to the audience is that this dormouse is poised to either crumble under the sadness of her pretense or break free and welcome her true self.
Branded a psychotic, Veronica hides her supernatural traits until disturbing events turn her mundane life as a resort manager into a fight-or-flight situation. She is forced to choose between impending destruction and brandishing the truth of her powers and past. One of the most alluring parts of Legions of Lilith: The Awakening is the reincarnation of mythical characters from Judaism, ancient Egypt, and Arthurian legend into Veronica's present-day story. This exciting twist reveals a fresh perspective on the timeless war between good and evil.
Fantasy lovers from many subcultures will find enjoyment in this book as there is a bit for everyone: beloved characters from lore, friendly and fearsome ghosts, action scenes, epic weapons, and even animal companions. I rate this book 3 out of 4 stars. The imagery painted by Sweeney doubtlessly meets design-loving fantasy fiends’ standards. She is particularly adept when describing the locations and moods of her scenes and deftly places readers behind the eyes of the characters.
I was halted from rating a 4-star review by a few rough patches regarding the writing specifics. Although Sweeney proved she can orchestrate an intricate picture, there was something left to be desired concerning the character dialogues and scene transitions. There lacked the flow and seamlessness of real human conversation, and at times those presented were wordy, or robotic. I would have also enjoyed more background on the supporting cast members, specifically with reference to popular lore. The introductions of characters with known storylines (Lilith, Merlin, Neith) were a bit jarring. Simple segues could have explained the presence of these characters who exist in previously written tales; for example, “Common folklore portrays Lilith as . . . But in actuality . . .”.
This book ends by setting up a continuation, and readers wonder if the dormouse will finally relinquish her hold on the inner lion. There are many fresh ideas to be expanded within Sweeney’s world, and I am anxious to see what comes next!
Legions of Lilith; The Awakening
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