Rating: 3.5 stars

You have been selected to attend Zodiac Academy, where your star sign defines your destiny.

If you’re one of the Fae, elemental magic is in your blood. And apparently it’s in ours. As twins born in the month of Gemini, we’re a rare breed even in this academy of supernatural a-holes.

Changelings were outlawed hundreds of years ago but I guess our birth parents didn’t get the memo. Which means we’re totally unprepared for the ruthless world of Fae.

Air. Fire. Water. Earth.

No one has ever harnessed all four of them, until we arrived. And it hasn’t made us any friends so far.

As the rarest Elementals ever known, we’re already a threat to the four celestial heirs; the popular, vindictive bullies who happen to be some of the hottest guys we’ve ever seen. It doesn’t help that they’re the most dangerous beasts in the Academy. And probably on earth too.

Our fates are intertwined, but they want us gone. They’ve only got until the lunar eclipse to force us out and they’ll stop at nothing to succeed.

We never knew we had a birthright to live up to but now that we do, we intend to claim our throne.

We can’t expect any help from the faculty when it comes to defending ourselves. So if the dragon shifters want some target practice, the werewolves want someone to hunt or the vampires fancy a snack then we have to be ready. But we’ve been looking after each other for a long time and fighting back is in our blood.

Today’s horoscope: totally screwed.

The Awakening, the first book in the Zodiac Academy series, was a fantastic read from start to finish. It started off slow when I began but as the story went on, I found myself immensely interested in the world Tory and Darcy found themselves in. This book was a very fast-paced, interesting read as it went on. And I found myself feeling for Tory and Darcy so much as they went through a lot once they arrived at Zodiac Academy.

What I enjoyed about this first book in the Zodiac Academy series is the world the main characters are in. I enjoyed learning about the academy, about the four elements and seeing the students when they were in their Order showing off what they were. I found the magic within the pages of this book very intriguing, and I wanted to learn more about it. I enjoyed learning more about this school and those who attended it despite everything that happened within this book’s pages. Its an interesting school with a variety of characters with their own unique personalities and I felt myself drawn into the story being told about them.

I especially enjoyed seeing this book shift back and forth between Tory and Darcy’s point of view. As the main characters of the story seeing a world they didn’t grow up in, it was cool to see how in awe they were of the world they found themselves in and of the magic they found flowing within them. It was also great to read a story told from the perspective of a set of twins who you were able to easily tell apart due to their difference in personality and how they handled the situation they both found themselves in. You could also tell from their perspectives how close the both of them are to each other since growing up they had nobody to rely on but each other. And I really enjoyed seeing that, especially with how difficult the Heirs at the school made their lives once they arrived there.

Speaking of the Heirs, I found myself feeling both intrigued and disgusted by them throughout this book. I’m intrigued by them as they are interesting antagonists in this story, and I find myself wanting to learn more about them. I want to learn more about what they are and their upbringing as I feel like that would give me a good understanding of why they act the way they do throughout this series. At the same time, however, I’m also disgusted by them and their actions throughout The Awakening. I feel like all four of them are terrible people and I don’t feel like they deserve what they have. As I read this book, I found myself interested in learning more about them, but found myself excited to see Darcy and Tory make them pay for how terrible they acted towards them and anyone they deemed below them.

And that’s one of the things about this book I didn’t enjoy when reading it: seeing the amount of abuse and bullying Darcy and Tory underwent by the Heirs. Anytime I thought things couldn’t get worse for them, the Heirs proved me wrong at every turn. As a result, even though I enjoyed reading this book and am continuing to read the rest of the books in this series to see how it all plays out, I strongly warn anyone who can’t handle reading books that have abuse, violence, and assault  against reading this book and this series. While I know I can handle books with these topics as I’m fine reading stories that are dark and take on heavy subject matters, I know that’s not the case for everyone so want to at least warn anyone reading this who might be considering picking up The Awakening, the first book in the Zodiac Academy series.

I still recommend this book as I find those topics need to be discussed in books without flinching away from it but want to let those who might not want to read about them know so they don’t pick up this book and find it affecting their health. This book not having any sort of warning about this is another criticism I have regarding it as I feel like people who don’t feel comfortable reading about any sort of abuse need to know ahead of time before they start reading this book so they can prepare themselves before delving into the story. Nonetheless though, I enjoyed reading The Awakening and am looking forward to continuing this series to see if Darcy and Tory are able to get back at the Heirs for everything they’ve done to them and to see how it all plays out.