Book Review: Awakening by KM Fortune

In a future of seemingly eternal winter, a plague has rendered females virtually extinct. A colony full of clones works hard for any research than may produce a more natural way to produce humans, all the while controlled by a powerful and mysterious religious leader.

Raven wakes to find the twenty-first century world she knew is long dead. Instead, she finds herself the project of a scientist, Matthew, who accidentally revives her in his efforts to harvest her eggs for his research. When she wakes, Raven challenges all he has been told about the mythical  evils of the female half of the species, proving to be intelligent, capable, and kind.

However, not all are sympathetic to Matthew’s research. Samuel, cloned and raised to be a historian, is more than a little concerned about the presence of a woman in the colony. Even dead, she is a threat. His efforts promise to have Raven killed and destroyed unless Matthew and Raven can find a way to delay or escape Samuel. The one thing they have to their advantage- Samuel has no idea that River is awake.

Awaken puts forward a unique post-apocalypse plot in the shortened form of a serialised novel. This is a tough task, and unfortunately, the length puts a high demand on the world and character building, while not allowing for plot progression to suffer. In the case of Fortune’s book, this has been achieved through expositional info dumps. For me, I found this made it very difficult to immerse myself in the world created by Fortune, a difficulty that was compounded by one-dimensional characters of questionable motivation.

One of the most disappointing parts was Matthew’s motivation. More to the point, he didn’t seem to have any, aside from some form of ‘something’. It was always ‘something’ that felt wrong, or ‘something’ that makes him push against his beliefs. I say disappointing because the title could be as much about Matthew’s awakening from an indoctrinated mono-culture colony as much as Raven awakening from her cryogenic freeze. Her world is destroyed, and his is completely different to the reality he has been taught. However, as a purpose bred scientist, it is hard to believe his views would so drastically change on such little evidence. As it stands, there is no awakening for Matthew, simply a child-like crush that leads to his complete rejection of his religion, beliefs, and all he has worked towards for his entire life.

The other challenge is that with only a handful of characters, all need to be unique. Again, the length gives little time to develop these characters, so it is imperative that they are all as distinct as possible from the start. Unfortunately, with the exception of the Creator (creepy, arrogant, and in my opinion the best-written character of the book), the characters seem to have the same voices and reactions.

The truth is, KM Fortune clearly has writing ability. More than enough is shown in this book to demonstrate that, but the story falls down on a technical level, and this produces a subpar version of what could have been. It is a great concept, that just needed more time in development, and potentially to have expanded to include more than a single challenge for the protagonist.

I would give it two stars out of five, though I desperately wish I could have given more. Compared to other post-apocalypse stories, Awakening could have been a unique, enticing and engaging read. Unfortunately, it spends too much time directly telling all it can, and leaving no work left to the reader’s imagination.


 Awakening 

By KM Fortune

A future dystopian wasteland. A woman awakens from the past. She is the key to restoring humanity, except not everyone believes humans are worth saving.

The Forever Winter Chronicles make up a serialized adventure aimed at providing the reader a quick 90-minute escape from reality. It is being published in 12 episodes of over 20,000 words each with a volume being released every month to allow readers and fans to follow along as the story is written. The Forever Winter Chronicles star Raven Winter, a woman frozen in time from a freak accident, who is awakened over one hundred years in the future. The world has fallen through plague and nuclear war and she must learn to survive in a harsh winter dystopian landscape filled with peril. Using her own steadfast determination to persevere, and with the help of characters along the way, this ultimate women’s adventure emphasizes the message that if you believe in yourself good can prevail.

Raven Winter lives a normal everyday life. Until one day, while on vacation, she is involved in an accident which freezes her in time. A century later, her body is found by a scientist on an expedition searching for the key to humanity’s survival. Hoping Raven’s body was frozen before the plague and the nuclear wars which followed it, he revives her. Now Raven, confused and suffering amnesia, is in a world completely alien to her own. All she knows is nothing is as it seems in the underground colony where she is a prisoner. Only one thing is clear. The residents have revived her for a single reason – to take her possibly fertile eggs.

Matthew, a lead scientist in the colony, is shocked when his specimen awakens. Thinking she would remain in a coma forever, he finds himself enthralled by the beauty and intelligence of the woman from the ice. Before long he is faced with a horrible decision – to harvest her or give up all he has ever known to set her free.

Awakening is the beginning of an epic post-apocalyptic story written in the serial novel format. If you like a quick read filled with intrigue and adventure, mixed with conflict and heroism, then you will love KM Fortune’s new page-turning book. Buy a copy now to explore the world of “The Forever Winter Chronicles” today and begin an unforgettable journey with book one Awakening.

About the Author

An aspiring novelist, Nathan is a member of the Queensland Writers Centre and the Canberra Speculative Fiction Guild. With a bunch of qualifications in things that really don't bother most people, he spends his days pretending to sell insurance, while sneakily using clients as inspiration for his characters. It took him twelve years to realise he preferred writing, critiquing and reviewing novels than being in the military.