Sunday, February 22, 2009

Review: Dawn's Awakening by Lora Leigh

Title: Dawn's Awakening
Series: Breeds
Author: Lora Leigh
Read copy: Mass Market Paperback
Published: February 5, 2008
Publisher: Berkley
ISBN: 0425219755
ISBN-13: 9780425219751

The runt of the lab she was created in, Dawn Daniels endured years of torture by her pride brother and the council soldiers. Finally freed from her torment, she's now a Breed Enforcer, in control of her own life. Until she's assigned to protect the one man destined to be her mate—and realizes it's far too easy to lose total control.

One of the Breeds' most important supporters, Seth Lawrence has spent years trying to forget Dawn, knowing that her lost innocence has made it impossible for her to get close to anyone. But suddenly neither of them can find the strength to fight the overwhelming passion between them.
At least until the most brutal tormentor from Dawn's past reappears—and threatens to destroy their newfound love, along with their lives...

My rating:

Absolutely adored this story. I'm unable to write a summary of it yet, I'm still shaking. In my opinion this is the best story in the series to date and I doubt one could surpass it. It was simply amazing...Actually there are not enough superlatives to describe it.

It was one heck of an emotional roller coaster, ranging from terror, despair, anger, hate, love, and everything in between.

The characters were rich, well-developed, and superbly drawn. They came to life under the readers eyes, making us feel their pain, cry at their memories and sacrifices, and laugh with them when they finally found love.
Dawn was beautiful, and so amazingly simple in her complexity is was a pleasure living her story with her. This woman that has lived through hell, letting the flames there shape her and hone her, became one of my favorite female characters in fiction to date. The emotional turmoil when at the beginning she learned what (almost) happened was heart-breaking and agonizing to read, yet the incredible inner strength she possessed helped her go through it, helping her become the woman she needed to be. The woman Seth needed her to be.

Seth. Oh, God, what to say about Seth. Romantic and carrying his heart on his sleeve, waiting, constantly waiting for the right moment that almost didn't come.
I've fallen in love with him from the get go, and it's been heart-wrenching ever since reading of what he felt for her, knowing his deepest fears stemming from his deepest desires. He's waited a decade for this woman, ten years of agony and terrifying knowledge of what she's been through, and when he came to terms he could never have her and gave up completely, his body "betraying" him, the two of them, my heart simply shattered...But yet again, he proved himself a better man, despite his fears of the opposite, and the tenderness and protectiveness inside him would've melted even the most hardened of heart.

These two were truly made for each other. It was as Cassie predicted, Dawn would awaken and they both would suffer. But it was the testament to their love, their strength, that they survived through it, emerging even stronger for the fight.
And when it finally happened, when (almost) all barriers fell, and they finally made love for the first time...That 11-page-long scene was one of the most romantic, seductive, tender, sensual, giving, sexy, hot love scenes I've ever read. Perfect, completely "in character", flowing with the story and history these two shared. Amazing and utterly purr-worthy. Rawr.

Kudos for the suspense subplot. The unknown threat constantly shimmered at the edges of the story, a constant presence infusing just the right amount of the unknown and terror into the story to keep the reader at the edge of the seat yet not taking over, weaving in and out of the plot, furthering the characters development, and serving as an additional means of resolution.

The entire story was beautifully written, the interweaving of the different element expertly done, creating a truly superb example of romantic fiction, building the story on emotions and inner turmoil rather that something more palpable and easier resolved and dealt with.
Not only are the characters in emotional turmoil, the reader is sucked into the primal vortex, living it all right beside them, hoping, crying, and praying with them.

And the epilogue was a work of art in itself. Many authors would've finished such a story with the leading couple basking in their happy bliss, yet Ms. Leigh changed directions once again. Closely tied in with the last few chapters it gave us an irresistible peak into the future...I can't wait for that future to come.

Hugely recommended not just for the Breed series, Lora Leigh or paranormal fans, but for all those who like a good romance book with great emotional span, wonderful characters, and amazing story-telling.

Update (November, 2009): I get a strange compulsion to re-read this story whenever I hear a song "just right" on the radio, browse my CD collection or my iTunes library. It's all about the lyrics, and it's usually a love-song that triggers the compulsion.
On a previous re-read I listened to Bleeding Love and I Will Be by Leona Lewis. This time it was all about Shania Twain and her From This Moment On. Awwwww.


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