**I received this book for free from the publisher or author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.**
Series: Imnada Brotherhood #.05
Published by Pocket Books on November 20, 2012
Genres: Paranormal Romance
AMAZON • B&N • Goodreads
One very passionate and very scandalous kiss separated university student Justin McKeegan and professor’s daughter Kate Lacey. Now five years later, Justin, the new Lord Duncallan, receives an unexpected summons from Kate’s father begging him to come to Wales. When Justin arrives, he finds Professor Lacey has vanished while studying a mysterious ancient obelisk, and everyone blames the nightwalkers, sinister creatures said to haunt the surrounding remote Welsh mountains. Do these legends point to the existence of the Imnada, a race of shape-shifters said to have died off a thousand years ago? Or is the professor’s disappearance the result of a very human villain? Justin and Kate are determined to find out the truth, knowing it may be the only way to find her father.
Even as they work to unravel the mystery, they find that they’re not the only ones interested in the obelisk and the lost race of Imnada. Treasure hunter Gilles d’Espe believes the ancient dolmen is the focal point of the shape-shifters’ power and would do anything to lay his hands on the last of four silver disks he needs to unlock the dolmen. A disk that hangs around the neck of Justin McKeegan. While Cade, a local villager, is determined to refute both the claims of nightwalker sightings and the power of the dolmen as superstitious nonsense.
Justin and Kate soon find themselves fighting for their lives. Yet every hour they spend together makes it harder to lay aside the bitterness of the past and a very new and very real temptation…
I‘m honestly unsure how to review Awaken the Curse, author Alexa Egan’s prequel novella to her Imnada Brotherhood series. On the one hand, I think Egan succeeded in creating interest in a complex paranormal world and mythos. On the otherhand, I really could care less about the romantic relationship between the main characters who are central to this story.
Egan’s worldbuilding is interesting. There are humans, Others, and the Imnada. The Others are descendants of the Fae with varying levels of power and ability; the Imnada are a defeated and disgraced race of shapeshifters. The Fae and the Imnada became enemies when the Fae King Arthur, yes THE King Arthur, was betrayed by his Imnada lieutenant and murdered. This created an all out war against the shapeshifters who were decimated, the last of their kind sent into hiding and into the annals of legend. Do they still exist? Are they a threat? I liked the connection of the Imnada and Fae to the King Arthur legend. I also liked the visceral sense of anonymity between the two. I was, at first, a little unclear as to what the Imnada actually shifted into but that question is answered towards the end of the story. All in all, Egan piqued my interest. Add to this the period setting and I am into this world, no questions asked.
The romantic plot…meh. Katherine and James are ex-lovers who ended their relationship on what is essentially a mountain of misunderstanding. They are thrown together when Katherine’s father goes missing in the Welsh countryside. James is summoned to the house for research but finds himself thrown into the mystery of finding Katherine’s father. This, of course, is all tied into the legend of the Imanda. While working together they iron out their past issues but only after some very unbelievable conflict. I didn’t find myself interested in their story, their romance, or its resolution. Katherine was a bit annoying, the chemistry between the two non-existent, and I just found the continuous misunderstanding (mainly on Katherine’s part) to be forced. In the end, I couldn’t help but ask, what’s the point of these two? Do they play a bigger role in the series?
I’m giving Awaken the Curse two howls for the worldbuilding alone. The romance and relationship between the two leads was simply not compelling. Though I plan on reading the first full-length in the series, Demon’s Curse, I’m not sure if this prequel novella is necessary. 2 howls!