Title: Journey of Awakening
Author: Shawna Thomas
Publisher: Carina Press
Journey of Awakening is not the usual romantic fare from Carina Press. Though there is a touch of romance, it is not the main focus of the story. Rather this is a traditional fantasy, a story of a young woman finding her strength and the path she must follow to fulfill her destiny.
Sara is an orphan raised by her grandfather for one task, to return the ancient stone she wears around her neck to its rightful owners and to reunite it with its two companion stones. When the three stones are together again, peace will return to the land. The land in question is the mainland across the ocean from the island Sara grew up in. When she thinks she is ready to begin her quest, she sets sail with her grandfather, but only she makes it to the mainland alive. Lost and alone, Sara is lucky to be taken in by a kind woman and when Sara realises that she must move on. Her husband takes her to her next stop, a healer further inland. From there, after practicing her healing arts, she travels again and meets a race of nomads who live on a plain. She falls in love with their handsome and charismatic leader and becomes embroiled in their politics when his son is kidnapped.
Over all, the story is one of meeting wonderful people, then leaving or loosing them and having to move on again. There is a deep sadness in the book, the kind of heaviness you often find in traditional fantasies, and the only light to penetrate this darkness is the nobility of Sara’s mentors and her own desire to do what is right. Without this enlightened vision of solving problems without falling into obvious, and violent, solutions, the book would have little to set it apart from the many other books in this style.
The characters, apart from the red man who stays on the fringes for this book, are extremely well drawn, and the relationships and motivations of the characters very realistic. The elegant prose is also an enjoyable aspect of the book.
It is a good story with a well-paced solid plot and the right balance of description, action and character development, but it is the wisdom in Sara and her mentor’s approach to life that gives this book not only light, but also life.
Book one of the Triune Stones
After her grandfather’s death, Sara inherits an ancient pendant and a near-impossible quest—master the mysterious pendant’s source of magic. Driven to do so, she must find the other two stones of power, long considered lost, while preventing an unknown enemy from finding her first.
Unprepared and alone, she travels to where the keepers of the stones, the Siobani, were last seen. Along the way she meets Tobar, leader of the nomadic Heleini tribe. As Sara wrestles with feelings for this intriguing man, she is also invigorated with her grandfather’s passion to find the ancient Siobani race.
After a rival tribe kidnaps Tobar’s son and heir, Sara must harness the stone’s healing magic to unite the tribes and save the boy. But as the dark power stalking her gains ground, will she continue on her quest to reach the Siobani or risk everything to save the warring tribes from eliminating each other?