A Mad Awakening by Sasha Hibbs

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A Mad Awakening by Sasha Hibbs
Publisher: Evernight Teen
Genre: Young Adult (14 – 18 y.o.), Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Romance, Contemporary
Rating: 3 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

The dead are meant to stay dead. Eighteen-year-old Albert Frank Young knows because he’s one of them. He had his life planned out with intentions of attending college in the fall with his brilliant girlfriend, Mary Shelley. What he didn’t plan for? Dying before his dreams were realized.

Over the course of one night, his life, and Mary’s, change forever. Mary’s brilliance quickly turns into a maddening obsession fueled by the death of Albert. Death took her mother away. She’ll be damned if death takes her boyfriend away too. In crossing the line between life and death, Mary damns them both before she realizes the realm of the living and land of the dead is an arena she has no right to meddle in.

A story of young love, the depths grieving drives the heart to, and the consequences that follow. This gothic tale proves love lives beyond the grave.

Love never dies.

The author did a good job of mixing the science fiction and romance genres, and I’m saying this as a reader who generally prefers to read books that focus on one or the other. I appreciated the hard work Ms. Hibbs put into ensuring that they were both given plenty of time to shine. Some scenes nudged a little further into one direction due to what the plot needed in that moment, but overall everything balanced out nicely.

It was confusing for me to hop between the perspectives of multiple narrators. As much as I enjoyed getting to know them, there simply wasn’t enough time to dig deeply into anyone’s personality or character growth due to how often readers needed to shift from one narrator to a different one. This technique would have worked better for a full-length novel, but eighty-nine pages simply weren’t enough for it to be effective here in my opinion.

I liked the way this novella jumped around in the timeline. There were some incredibly exciting scenes shared in the beginning that made me yearn to find out how they were connected to the quiet life Mary had when the audience first met her. Having that information so early on also made the foreshadowing pop out to me when it showed up. While I didn’t have the full story by any means, I knew enough to start putting the pieces together as soon as they arrived. That was a fantastic choice.

A Mad Awakening was a fun homage to Frankenstein.

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