By Jordan Dane
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Publication Date: December 18, 2012
Genre: Young Adult Paranormal
Because of what you are, the Believers will hunt you down.
Voices told Lucas Darby to run. Voices no one else can hear. He’s warned his sister not to look for him, but Rayne refuses to let her troubled brother vanish on the streets of LA. In her desperate search, she meets Gabriel Stewart, a runaway with mysterious powers and far too many secrets. Rayne can’t explain her crazy need to trust the strange yet compelling boy—to touch him—to protect him even though he scares her.
A fanatical church secretly hunts psychic kids—gifted “Indigo” teens feared to be the next evolution of mankind—for reasons only “the Believers” know. Now Rayne’s only hope is Gabe, who is haunted by an awakening power—a force darker than either of them imagine—that could doom them all.
Did you know there is actually a thing called a theory about Indigo children? I may be living in a cave, because I had no idea (no comments from the peanut gallery about my age and caves). I ended up losing an hour once I started on the Wikipedia page and then went off following links – it’s fascinating, even if you don’t buy the ideas. Calling Mulder and Scully!
Lucas has just escaped from the mental institution that his oldest sister had him committed to and as the drugs he was given wear off, he begins hearing voices and music in his head. One particularly strong voice of a girl tells him that he needs to find her and hide from everyone who’s looking for him, including his other sister, who’s desperate to reunite with him. When he finds the girl, he finds a community of kids just like him, led by Kendra and hunted by the Believers who had kept him captive for all of those years in the institution.
In search of Lucas, Rayne ends up hunted, rescued by a mysterious boy named Gabe. He has unique talents that can help her find her brother and reluctantly agrees to do it – very, very reluctantly. He can do some freaky things and there’s a reason he’s kept himself off of the radar. Looking for Lucas will expose him to the Believers and something in him knows that’s bad.
I liked the pacing of Indigo Awakening. It helped that there were so many shifts between characters, but from the start, there was a lot of action and suspense. Gabe’s gift or talent seemed so different from Lucas’ and the other Indigo kids’ that I wasn’t exactly sure what to make of him for a while. Dane did a great job with illustrating the psychedelic fight scenes and I definitely got the flavor for her version of the city. I could almost smell the crumbling, wet cement. There are also a ton of pop culture references which I feel a little ambivalent about. On one hand, they were funny and snarky but on the other, they’re going to date the story quickly.
Since this is a series, I hope it will change, but I had a hard time connecting to any of the characters. There was always a little something that missed someplace, a little inconsistency or spark that just wasn’t there between other characters that kept me from fully engaging even though technically I should have loved them. Lucas was very sweet and there was an initial focus on him that showed a lot of promise, but it petered out and who he was seemed to get lost. The same went for Kendra – she started out as a strong presence in Lucas’ mind, directing him and appearing as a big potential romantic interest/part of a triangle, but as the story played out, I felt a little apathetically about her and I really don’t know where the love triangle angle, if there is one, is going.
The characters who intrigued and perplexed me the most were Gabe and Rayne. When the story started, I pictured Rayne as a YA urban fantasy heroine, off in her leather coat on her Harley, kicking ass and taking names at seventeen. She turned into more of a girl who followed someone else and needed someone to tell her what to do – and while I got that she was lost looking for her brother and needed Gabe, she seemed so passive. Gabe was at least consistently inconsistent and since that was the point of his character, I didn’t mind it as much. He’s so very emo, it’s a little depressing though. By the end of the book things had changed for all of the characters, which is why I’m holding out hope for the series, but it’s definitely a process getting there, especially for Gabe.
The villains are really delicious, although I have to confess, I didn’t get all of the connections between everyone and the Church of the Believers, especially Lucas and Rayne’s sister, Mia. From the Church leader Alexander Reese to the icy cold, plotting Fiona and the hired master thug O’Dell, they’re all creepy and evil and fun to read. I love that they double-cross each other, go behind each other’s backs and get what’s coming to them yet keep coming back like roaches. The last line of the book that explains a relationship one villain has with one of the main characters is a doozy.
On balance, I still liked Indigo Awakening and will be looking for the next book in the series because I want to know where Dane can take the story and I still think the characters can evolve even if all of the romantic relationships don’t completely gel (after all, Lucas is only fifteen). There were some interesting developments at the end and I can’t help it, one of those villains is so insane, he made me swoon. Of course, it’s the thug.
My Rating: B