The World Awakening (reviewed by Kay Kenyon)

Kay Kenyon recently got in touch with me to inquire if I'd be interested in a guest review for Dan Koboldt's The World Awakening. Of course, I was happy to oblige.

Here's the blurb:

Quinn Bradley has learned to use the magic of another world.

And that world is in danger.

Having decided to betray CASE Global, he can finally reveal his origins to the Enclave and warn them about the company’s imminent invasion. Even if it means alienating Jillaine . . . and allying with someone he’s always considered his adversary.

But war makes for strange bedfellows, and uniting Alissians against such a powerful enemy will require ancient enmities—as well as more recent antagonisms—to be set aside. The future of their pristine world depends on it.

As Quinn searches for a way to turn the tide, his former CASE Global squadmates face difficult decisions of their own. For some, it’s a matter of what they’re willing to do to get home. For others, it’s deciding whether they want to go home at all.Continuing the exciting adventures from The Rogue Retrieval and The Island Deception, The World Awakening is the spellbinding conclusion to the Gateways to Alissia fantasy series from Dan Koboldt.

Defections abound in Dan Koboldt's final tale of Alissia, a medieval land where, in contrast to the Earth, magic is real. CASE Global is a nasty corporation that has stumbled upon a gateway to the place and believes it is ripe for the picking. Twenty-first century military capability should make short work of a culture of swords and sailing ships--even if they have a bit of magic. Or will it?

CASE is now poised to take possession of Alissia by arms, goaded by a fear of Richard Holt, the Earth-born defector who has become a powerful Alissian leader. With his insider knowledge of the company's predatory ways, as well as the loyalty he commands from one of the major kingdoms, Holt must be deposed, and the team we've traveled with in the first two books now is tasked with his murder. Before book three, Holt has been a shadowy figure whose motives for going native might or might not be honorable. In The World Awakening his goals become clear, ultimately requiring all the central characters to finally choose (or reveal) their allegiances, whether achieved through dogged loyalty, moral conscience, or calculated self-interest.

Major character Quinn Bradley--he of the ready lie, ironic outlook, and spontaneous heroics--discarded loyalty early on and now is firmly in Holt's camp. His motives may not the purist--this is Quinn Bradley--but we root for him to succeed in stopping his former employer. For Bradley personally, the only remaining question is whether he'll return to Earth or stay on the medieval side of the gateway now that he's accessed true magic powers. He'd make a hell of a Las Vegas stage magician, his ambitious Earth-side dream. When an Alissian woman pierces his cheerful self-interest with the oldest magic of all--love--will he abandon his old life, hopes, and world?

Dilemmas and choices test other compelling characters in the Gateways to Alissia trilogy. Foremost is Logan, a black man whose career as a soldier puts him at odds with his conscience, now shaken by CASE's growing ruthlessness.

Koboldt deftly keeps all the balls in the air: Kiara, Holt, Veena, Mendez and the rival leaders of the Enclave who control magic. Shifting allegiances will bring love, death, and sacrifice. Pretty heady material for what might have been merely a delightful romp featuring a wise-cracking rogue with a good heart. Oh, how we love a charming rogue. Even if his charisma falls flat with Tiana mules (who demand an exaggerated politeness in all interactions).

By the end of The World Awakening, plots, subplots, and character arcs weave together for a rousing conclusion, one that lays bare the genesis and the future of the gateway, as well as the fates of the doomed, the redeemed, and the enchanted. A pitch perfect showpiece from a new and already accomplished writer.

--Kay Kenyon

For more info about this title: Canada, USA, Europe.

Kay Kenyon is the author of fourteen science fiction and fantasy novels, including The Entire and The Rose quartet. Her latest work is At the Table of Wolves, an historical fantasy of dark powers, Nazi conspiracies, and espionage set in 1936 England from Saga Press. The Dark Talents novels continues with Serpent in the Heather (April 10). The final book of the trilogy will be published in 2019.

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