I love Ancient Egypt. Ancient Egypt is honestly my first folkloric love. While I first cut my teeth on Greek and Roman myth, it was with Egypt that I really started to like it. The cosmology, the focus on order against chaos, and just the fact that everyone loves Egypt, but not many people seem to really get it right was always something that I really enjoyed learning about.
Which is why I dislike this book on such a personal level.
Reawakened should be a book that I like. After all, it’s dealing with a concept that interests me, and has a plot that practically writes itself with the concept of an ancient Pharaoh coming back into the modern world to deal with some of the threats that he once defended Ancient Egypt from.
In the end, though, I hate this book.
Now, I don’t like House of Night. I really don’t like House of Night, but this…this is far more personal. Particularly as I’ve played with similar ideas to this in the past.
So, this is not Colleen Houck’s first rodeo. No, she first started with the Tiger’s Curse books. An uncomfortable series where a living and rather wide spread religion was dumped on, teenagers could travel alone with dangerous animals, Italians all talked like Mario, and any potentially interesting ideas were ignored in the face of more awkward characterization that involved a prince cursed to be a tiger by this evil brother. Who is also apparently Loki. Because…reasons.
Houck also has a perchance for arrogant, cursed men. Who usually have nothing about them that actually backs up their arrogance.
Tiger’s Curse also made an ungodly amount of money, and Houck, not one to change up a good scenario, decided to keep going and decided to do…basically the same idea only in Ancient Egypt instead.
Only, she’s going to try to cram Ancient Egypt’s mythology into a more modern, Christianized one, and it’s going to be painful.
So, before we start of, I’m gonna give you a crash course in Ancient Egypt or at least how much we know about it.
We know a lot about Ancient Egypt. We sort of have this conception of Egypt as this super mysterious place where we know almost nothing about them, but in reality, we probably know a lot more about them than we know about most civilizations. Mostly because they were extremely literate for their time, and they liked to write everything on A) stone or B) paper that given the climate tended to stay in pretty good condition. They also liked to pile up important and every day items in tombs that weren’t always robbed.
As such, we have lot of their poetry, literature, mythology, and even personal letters intact. This is going to be important, as Houke has literally no excuse for the garbage that she’s going to pull.
The first thing that I want to say is ‘busy’.
Other than the eye in the center as a focal point, everything else just sort of gets lost in the blue haze of everything else. Nothing really stands out, and while there are some interesting pieces, it’s actually hard for me to pick them out or to really notice them. I’ve got an impression of hieroglyphs, and maybe stars, but the falcon heads, and everything on the edges just fades out in a haze of blue.
While the book is honestly trying, the fact that everything is the same color just makes it all blend together into a mess where I can’t really see anything.
What’s more, the way that the eye is done, so that it’s both realistic and based off of the Eye of Horus…just makes it look like it needs a nap.
Maybe it’s seen what’s ahead in this book and is just tired and wants to stop.
The font is…dull, but the blocky sans-serif does lend itself to the fact that everything else just has so much going on, that it catches the eye. A more fancy font probably would have ended up being too much.
At the same time, it does give the impression of Ancient Egypt, and that’s a lot more than I can say for the Casts or Clare.
So, this thrilling piece of literature begins, as all awful lit seems to begin, with a random quotation.
Oh! when my lady comes,
And I with love behold her,
I take her into my beating heart
And in my arms enfold her;
My heart is filled with joy divine
For I am hers and she is mine.
Oh! when her soft embraces
Do give my love completeness,
The perfumes of Arabia
Anoint me with their sweetness;
And when her lips are pressed to mine
I am made drunk and need not wine.
This time it’s an Ancient Egyptian love poem called “The Wine of Love”.
It’s…credit where due…a decent translation, and it’s exactly what I’m promised. A vaguely sexy Ancient Egyptian love poem. Even better, the Ancient Egyptians were surprisingly big on love poetry, so by invoking this, Houck is actually placing this thing in flow and mindset of something from that time. There’s no academic dishonesty, no attempt to use fancy language to hide what the poem is actually talking about. Nothing.
It’s a love poem from Ancient Egypt. That is it’s significance. It is there to signify that this is a romance and Ancient Egypt is involved.
Congrats, Houck, you made it through the quote. That’s more than I can say for the Casts or for Cassie Clare.
Too bad that’s not going to last much longer.
5 thoughts on “Reawakened: Introduction and Initial Thoughts”
I’m kind of excited for this. I’ve never read this book, but Nella from Team NChick used to have a hilarious “Tiger’s Curse” sporking that, tragically, seems to have been erased from existence when the Chez Apocalypse website went down. I remember reading the summary for this series and just thinking, “This is the exact same thing, but with ancient Egypt.”
So yeah, good luck!
I remember that sporking! It was too bad that it vanished. Did you ever read their parody book?
Honestly, you’re pretty much right, it’s a lot of the same thing only in Ancient Egypt. Only with about 50% more missed opportunities for something good that end up being awful.
I do own it, actually! Too bad it looks like it won’t have a sequel (unlike every other YA Paranormal Romance ever).
Why do I have a feeling my final thoughts on this will be “Yu-Gi-Oh did it better”?
Because honestly, Yu-Gi-Oh did it better and was more entertaining in its deviations.