Sequel to FALLING UNDER (Review)
By Gwen Hayes
Available now from NAL Trade (Penguin)
Last year, I knew nothing about FALLING UNDER when I read it. I'd never heard of Gwen Hayes. I hadn't requested it for review; it just showed up on my porch one day. But I loved it. I enjoyed heroine Theia Anderson's proactivity, the strong female friendships, and the swoony romance.
When DREAMING AWAKE, like FALLING UNDER, showed up randomly on my porch one day, I was surprised. I didn't think FALLING UNDER needed a sequel. Theia and Haden had saved each other. End of story. But as I read, DREAMING AWAKE convinced me that it did deserve to exist.
Yes, Theia and Haden saved each other. But at what cost? Mara, Queen of Nightmares, is pissed. She was thwarted, yes, but not forever. And she wants revenge. Even without an evil, powerful queen to worry about, Theia has problems. She's no longer completely human. She has new powers and hungers she must learn to control. In addition, Theia and Haden have proved that they will go to great lengths for each other. But they're still young and newly in love. They've got a lot to learn about communication and compromise.
Donny and Amelia, Theia's best friends, continue to be integral to the story. Parts of DREAMING AWAKE are even in their points-of-view. Donny and Amelia are part of what make Gwen Hayes's world so absorbing. The heroine doesn't exist in a vacuum of new boy and new powers. She had a life before Haden that continues on. It raises the stakes, as well. Theia has people to fight for outside of the world of Under.
I don't recommend reading DREAMING AWAKE if you haven't read FALLING UNDER. Too much of the story focuses on the consequences of the previous book. I do recommend reading both, however. This is young adult paranormal romance at its best. (And with the ending of DREAMING AWAKE, I am now hoping for a third book.)