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Reviewed by Rosie Malezer for Readers' Favorite
Awakened by Tempest Saunders is the first book in the Mystic Academy series. Aurora is a twelve-year-old girl who receives an acceptance letter to a boarding school in Massachusetts which she has never applied to nor heard of. After her parents reluctantly allow her to attend, Aurora breaks the news to her friends in New York that she is leaving. Once at her new school, she makes friends easily and quickly discovers that the school is for supernaturals-in-training. Aurora fails to see how she fits into the supernatural world, even after finding a mysterious note within her dorm room with two names on it. She arrives late to the first Lammas Circle and the High Priestess berates her constantly because of it, but is quickly put in her place when she continues to refer to Aurora as ‘Straggler.’
Aurora, soon after, passes out with a fever and wakes up two days later in the school hospital. After she reports pain in her back, staff are shocked to see runes that show Aurora to be Sharra, the daughter of Odin and Tara, and founder of Valhalla’s Valkyrie army. Each day, Aurora discovers new powers within her, including her ability to bend the will of the Quadrant Guardians after bringing a large forest fire under control within minutes. As both a warrior and Goddess, Aurora seems to be able to defeat any threat against her, but when the people she is closest to suddenly start dying, she is powerless to help them.
With a perfect blend of Buffy, Harry Potter, Charmed, and traditional Pagan lore, Tempest Saunders has created an enchanted world which many fans of the paranormal genre could easily relate to. The added Pagan element to the story brings awareness of Paganism, destigmatizing it, educating and enticing the reader to read up on Norse mythology. However, while the first half of the book is entertaining for all ages, Awakened does have some graphic deaths that may not be suitable for younger readers.