The Awakening Review: Pros and Cons of a Portal Fantasy

June 14, 2021 by Bec | 3 stars, Books, Reviews

The Awakening Review: Pros and Cons of a Portal FantasyThe Awakening by Nora Roberts
Series: The Dragon Heart Legacy #1
on November 24th 2020
Source: Borrowed
Genres: New Adult, Fantasy
Amazon | Book Depository | Publisher | Angus & Robertson | Booktopia | Barnes & Noble
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In the realm of Talamh, a teenage warrior named Keegan emerges from a lake holding a sword—representing both power and the terrifying responsibility to protect the Fey. In another realm known as Philadelphia, a young woman has just discovered she possesses a treasure of her own…

When Breen Kelly was a girl, her father would tell her stories of magical places. Now she’s an anxious twentysomething mired in student debt and working a job she hates. But one day she stumbles upon a shocking discovery: her mother has been hiding an investment account in her name. It has been funded by her long-lost father—and it’s worth nearly four million dollars.

This newfound fortune would be life-changing for anyone. But little does Breen know that when she uses some of the money to journey to Ireland, it will unlock mysteries she couldn’t have imagined. Here, she will begin to understand why she kept seeing that silver-haired, elusive man, why she imagined his voice in her head saying Come home, Breen Siobhan. It’s time you came home. Why she dreamed of dragons. And where her true destiny lies—through a portal in Galway that takes her to a land of faeries and mermaids, to a man named Keegan, and to the courage in her own heart that will guide her through a powerful, dangerous destiny…

The Good Things

  • My first Nora Roberts book! I’ve been meaning to read her stuff for ages. The Awakening is the first book in a New Adult/ Adult fantasy series.
  • I felt so much nostalgia reading this portal fantasy. The writing style reminded me of old-school fantasy series, and it’s filled with classic fantasy tropes and creatures.
  • There are dragons and faeries. Do you need more reasons?
  • I related to Breen so much. Her struggles with self-doubt and introversion in particular where aspects of her personality I identified with.


The Not-So-Good Things

  • I honestly found this book a bit underwhelming overall because I thought there’d be more to the story.
  • The entire book read like a set up for bigger plot things to come. It felt like an extended training montage. It was act one of the overarching story and there wasn’t really much action overall. Breen’s personal growth and introducing the world was very much the focus.
  • Because there wasn’t much action, the pace was really slow. As interesting as I found the characters, I did frequently get bored. I do expect the sequel will be better.


The Awakening was a little disappointing. It did not give me as much plot as I wanted, at least action-wise. At the same time, the writing and story elements filled me with so much nostalgia I couldn’t help but enjoy it overall. I’ll be continuing the series and hope that we get some faster paced plot points in the future.

Rating: 3 out of 5

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Bec is an Aussie blogger and reader who loves all types of novels. Fantasy, sci fi, and historical are my usual go-to genres. If I’m not binge reading, I’m usually gaming, trying to take decent photos for bookstagram, or freaking out about silly things.

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