Awakened / by Morgan L. Busse. (The Soul Chronicles, 2) 5.27.2019

Enclave ISBN 9781683700760

Adult Rating: 4

Award-winning author Morgan Busse pens another book in her steampunk series, The Soul Chronicles.

In Awakened, former bounty hunter Stephen Grey rescues Kat Bloodmayne from her mad-scientist father’s lab. But can she outrun the dark power he has awakened that continues to grow and threatens to consume her very soul? Stephen will do everything he can to help Kat overcome the monster within–even though she struggles to forgive him and barely trusts him. Will they find Dr. Latimer, the only person who might be able to save her from the dark power that threatens to consume her very soul?

Busse creates a believable world (Victorian steampunk era) with sky pirates, mad scientists, automatons, bombs, and bounty hunters. Kat battles with the evil within herself and questions the existence of God, while Stephen faces guilt over his earlier betrayal, but slowly comes to accept God’s grace. Both are broken people readers can relate to. Their relationship is a clean romance that overcomes incredible odds.

Although this is the second book in the series, one could read it as a stand-alone. The author has done an excellent job of providing enough backstory to the reader to follow the plot. After their escape, Kat is re-captured by bounty hunters and returned to her father’s lab for additional experimentation. Stephen and Dr. Latimer mount a rescue operation. Will they be able to save her before the monster within overcomes her completely? Will Dr. Latimer’s cure overcome the darkness and at what cost?

Recommended for high school and adult collections. Awakened is a Christy Award 2018 (Visionary) finalist and the 2018 Carol Award winner.

Carol R. Gehringer, CLJ