A secret society of Druids.
An ancient Reptilian foe.
Earth teeters in the balance.
Bankrupt and broken, Emily would give anything for a safe place to hide from the witch Shalane. But when her long-lost Druid family tracks Emily down and offers her haven, she balks at the "Must Save Earth" clause. As fate in the guise of crappy luck reveals her to her witchy stalker, Emily is forced to accept the Druids' proposition despite its blatantly outrageous terms.
At their headquarters in Atlanta, Emily learns several shocking secrets. She was kidnapped by the mother who raised her on the run. Her real father and his Druid followers believe Emily is Earth's only hope. And a dark, forgotten foe lurks beneath Humanity's feet.
As these Reptilians engineer a plan to breach Earth's unsuspecting borders, Emily desperately seeks to unleash the powers the Druids swear she possesses. Can a sexy druid priest, his teenage nephew, and their animal Elders tilt the odds in Emily's favor?
Find out in Awen Rising, the first book in the Awen Trilogy. If you like compelling stories with a strong but believable female lead, quirky sidekicks, and worthy adversaries, read Barré's groundbreaking urban fantasy. Get it now. Or better yet, grab the whole series!
A clear love of ancient belief shines throughout the novel, with Barré’s attention to the smallest details of pagan rituals and Druidic worship, in particular, laying a solid foundation to build a story and series upon. Emily’s journey from someone oblivious to a crucial member of an international Druidic order offers readers a delightful hint of wish fulfillment fantasy, immersing them in Emily’s life and allowing them to see the world through her eyes.
This strength may also be part of the story’s weakness: the roller-coaster of events that sweeps Emily across a damaged country flies at blazing speed, dropping her in what is essentially a whole new world, complete with a family she’d all but forgotten and a magical legacy. Even seasoned readers of urban fantasy may find it difficult to suspend disbelief as the many fantastical elements–everything from Emily’s mentorship with Shalane the famous spiritualist, to dragons, to the subplot about rise of the lizard people–clash together, diminishing the impact of each inventive idea. However, the polished, flowing prose delights, and Barré memorably evokes the very distant past as it’s resurrected in contemporary times.
Takeaway: A supernatural melange of mystical creatures, pagan rituals, and a world out of balance.
Great for fans of: Steven A. McKay’s The Druid Warrior, David A. Wells’s Thinblade.
Design and typography: A
Marketing copy: A
With a long book – such as Proust’s In Search of Lost Time, you immerse yourself in a world that is enveloping, absorbing, that takes you on a long journey. You get your money's worth...
The latest trend is to read books around 200 pages -- something you can digest in an evening. But that is hardly worth the effort of page turning, is it?
Game of Thrones taught us the pleasure of immersing ourselves in a complex, magical world of conflict, ambition, and dueling strong-willed characters. Want dragons? Awen Rising has them. ... and reptilian adversaries on par with the danger of the White Walkers.
Emily Mayhall is an overwhelmed woman few, especially Emily herself, would think of as a champion for a world bruised by natural disasters and supernatural attacks. A Druid heritage and supernatural beckonings are insistent Destinies that refuse to take NO for an answer. Set in a time only a decade or two from now, O. J. Barré's tale is one that will catch you up and not let you go. Give it a try. You won't be disappointed. ~ Roland Yeomans, Author
What a wonderful example of urban fantasy! This is a futuristic world after we have run Earth even further into the ground that we have already, with catastrophic results. In this novel, we see a little bit of our own potential fates, combined with a wonderfully rich mythological culture. The druid lore lends itself to the most creative and detailed kind of 'secret society' on earth. I found myself hoping this could be a reality and the druids could help pull us out of the mess we have made! At first, the reptilian demons int he UnderEarth that use technology set me back a bit, but I found them a very sinister adversary (in a good way!). The complex relationships and development of the characters will keep you intrigued and the revelations of the lore as Emily discovers more about her true self are delightful. I am looking out for the next one in the series! ~ Megan Forrest, Educator
'Awen Rising' by O. J. Barre
Five Stars. A thrilling near future world on the brink of apocalypse!
Awen Rising by O. J. Barre is an urban fantasy spanning time. This epic tale starts 1000 years in the past with a druid priestess and William of Normandy and then hurtles into the near future. We find ourselves in a world that is on the brink of crumbling completely; parts of California have succumbed to the ocean, sink holes have obliterated major roadways in Atlanta, buildings have been falling into disarray and are condemned, leaving many homeless and displaced. It’s 2042 and hot on the heels of a civil war in the US that has led to its slow death. But here there be magic; psychics and sorceresses and dragons, intermingled with science and government agencies attempting to stop the fast decline of the planet. All the while, below their feet, a world of reptilians plots to take over the Earth above.
Emily, sometimes known as Ebby, is a fun character as fiery as her hair. A skeptic so desperate to believe; an orphan who hungers for a family she only just found out she has. She makes an unlikely hero. She’s smart, funny, irreverent, has low self-esteem, is traumatized by life but still holding on and looking towards the future. She’s an independent, if sometimes goofy, woman but still gets weak in the knees for a handsome face. She’s as three dimensional as they come and is someone readers can identify with.
This magical world is just as intriguing as the protagonist, with ancient enemies of Humans hiding below their feet, an evangelical mystic, dragons and druids… all in the middle of a modern world any of us would recognize, and fear could be our actual future, of rising oceans, natural disasters, and dwindling resources. The world is steeped in both paganism and Christianity as well as taking pages from other world religions and even conspiracy theories, but the treatment doesn’t tread so far as to turn it into speculative fiction. The tale’s foot is firmly in the fantasy realm.
The writing is smart and often humorous. The story ticks forward without any unneeded pauses or side trips, keeping a flowing narrative that I found to be a real page turner. I had a rough time stopping to take care of other things that needed my attention, and the dishes have proven more than once that they will not do themselves. If only I had some magical powers of my own!
This book provides everything I like in a story: entertaining, relatable characters; steady, consuming plot; enough twists and turns to keep things interesting; and questions that are answered but bring up more questions in a pattern that doesn’t end until the book does. This one also adds a smattering of fun, mystery, suspense, and romance. And speaking of endings, this one may not have been a surprise or have a twist, but the last few chapters were filled with heart pounding excitement that left me wanting more. I have no wish list for this story, except maybe that it didn’t end. Good thing it’s number one in a trilogy!