Sunday, December 15, 2013

ARC Review: Dragon Awakened

Dragon Awakened (The Hidden #1)

by Jaime Rush 


They are the Hidden.
Not quite human. Far from normal.
And never, ever safe…
Playing With Fire
Ruby Salazaar wants answers…and revenge. Her uncle has just been murdered before her eyes and the name he utters with his final breath—Cyntag—leads Ruby into a world beyond her wildest imaginings. She soon learns that the dark, sexy Cyntag Valeron knows more about her than she does herself.
Burned By Love
Ruby changed Cyn's life before she even knew who he was. Now she charges into his life, a beautiful woman full of fire and questions. Cyn knew this day would come, yet he couldn't foresee the danger—and desires—Ruby would bring with her. He can teach her how to harness her newly awakened powers. But there is one force neither of them can control…


The first full length novel in the new Hidden series by Jaime Rush is one that will send you into a strange new world of dragons, magickals, and angels and leave you wishing that you too were one of the Hidden. I have read the first two published novellas in this series and while they were both great, Dragon Awakened was an awesome story with more of the depth and length that I crave.  This series is based on a very interesting myth surrounding the Bermuda triangle and Gods and creatures that came from them—Dragons, Deuces, and Caidos being the main types of descendants.  The Hidden is a whole different world, concealed in the midst of ours, corralled by energy needs to the south Florida area, primarily giving us Miami as a setting, and running alongside the world of the mundanes. Rush handles all the secrecy and fear inherent in these types of alternate truths extremely well and keeps the focus of the story on the characters themselves not just the circumstances that shape the world they live in.
With a single phone call from her Uncle, Ruby’s life is thrown into a tailspin leaving her completely foundering for understanding in her new world. Only when she discovers that her Uncle has been murdered, Ruby’s need for revenge leads her to track down Cyn, believing him to be behind the death, but she soon discovers that nothing is as it seems.  When Cyn confronts her with the truth, Ruby has to accept that she is not who she thought she was either, but is in fact a member of the Hidden, a magickal race of beings that live alongside the mundanes of the world.  And she is a target now too. Cyn has looked out for Ruby from afar since she was only a young girl, but meeting her again all grown up sends a fire coursing through Cyn that he hasn't felt in decades. Determined to protect her at all costs, even knowing that the dark truth that originally brought him to her life could rip them apart, Cyn takes her under his wing to train her to keep herself safe and to find out why she is being hunted. But as the lurking danger gets closer and closer, Ruby is forced to deal with the passion that Cyn incites in her and the truth of their past that could prevent them from ever being together.  So the question becomes, can she forgive an action as heinous as murder or will she forever be forced to lose the people she loves?
From the second Ruby sees Cyn, heat builds within her, brings her senses to life and pulls her to him.  The passion that flares is fascinating as they both try to deny it, for different but no less valid reasons, but when the tentative trust they are building is shattered that passion seems to be the only thing between them any longer.  Cyn is the quintessential tortured prince character, doing penance for his past after a shocking event sends him to change his ways and question his motivations.  His past weighs heavily on his mind, but the awakening Ruby causes makes him wish he was a different man, one that is worthy of her.  Ruby sees his arrogance and bossiness, but doesn’t understand his need for control stems from the fear of losing her—until she finally has her eyes opened.  Ruby’s own past has shaped her into the woman she is, one that needs control in her life to find her balance, but when that balance is shifted forever she finds herself leaning on a man for the first time since her parents’ death. She hates being dependent on him in this new and dangerous world, but her desire for independence puts them into some dangerous and awkward situations, and when she is in mortal danger she begins to believe that Cyn might just feel something for her, deep beneath that unfeeling shell he shares with the world.  While the emotions of the story rage, betrayal, fear, understanding, and forgiveness, beneath it all is the obvious desire between Cyn and Ruby, sometimes pushed aside or denied, but never forgotten or neglected.
Dragon Awakened is a twist on the classic coming of Age story, though Ruby is a bit older than most; finally being Awakened to the world around her and her own inner nature leaves Ruby often with more questions than answers, but only when she embraces her true inner nature does she find the missing piece of her soul. Cyn is the only man who could lead her through this initiation, but he has his own fears and issues to come to terms with as he trains her and brings out her inner beast. Though he tries his damnedest to maintain distance between them, the magnetic draw is just too much for even one as strong as him, and when he sees the attachment forming between them, he can no longer hid the truth from her. The dangers lurking around every corner though make him want to put off the confrontation for as long as possible.  The evil plot that has wrapped around Cyn and Ruby was well written and seeing the lengths the some creatures will go to just to ensure their race’s superiority never ceases to amaze me. I thoroughly enjoyed seeing Cyn and Ruby trounce the bad guys and prevent disaster, and I wonder if there will be even more consequences to deal with in the next story.  Can’t wait for more of this amazing parallel world and the creatures that are Hidden in it. 

Rating: 3.75 stars

Rose Rating: 

*eARC provided by publisher (via netgalley) for the purpose of an honest and unbiased review.  No compensation was provided. 

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