Awakenings by Edward Lazellari
Source: From publisher for review
Cal MacDonnell is a happily married New York City cop with a loving family. Seth Raincrest is a washed-up photographer who has alienated even his closest friends. The two have nothing in common—except that they both suffer from retrograde amnesia. It’s as if they just appeared out of thin air thirteen years ago, and nothing has been able to restore their memories. Now their forgotten past has caught up to them with a vengeance.
Cal’s and Seth’s lives are turned upside down as they are stalked by otherworldly beings who know about the men’s past lives. But these creatures aren’t here to help; they’re intent on killing anyone who gets in their way. In the balance hangs the life of a child who might someday restore a broken empire to peace and prosperity. With no clue why they’re being hunted, Cal and Seth must accept the aid of a strange and beautiful woman who has promised to unlock their secrets. The two must stay alive long enough to protect their loved ones, recover their true selves—and save two worlds from tyranny and destruction.
A private detective, and disgraced former lawyer, is asked to find a list of people for the strangest, and creepiest, group of men he’s ever seen. Not only do they secure his services, but they secure them for quite a price: his heart.
NYPD cop Cal MacDonnell and his partner, Erin Ramos, respond to a call about an intruder with an ax at a rundown tenement. Things quickly get out of hand, and Cal soon realizes that his life will never be the same.
Seth Raincrest was put in foster care at 13 and doesn’t remember his life before that. Now he makes his living photographing porn, and basically acting like a scumbag (trust me, you’ll want to smack him more than once). Seth has spent years alienating friends and inspiring zero loyalty. When Lelani, a beautiful, mysterious girl, comes looking for him, claiming to know the secrets of his origins, he thinks she’s crazy, but when his building blows up, he thinks she might not be so crazy after all.
13 year old Daniel Hauer is a young student with a talent for drawing. He also has a stepfather that’s a mean drunk, and a mom that’s hooked on pills. When he gets sent to the principal for drawing on the desks, and ordered to pay an exorbitant amount to replace them, he has no idea how to explain things to his stepdad. Things soon escalate to the boiling point for Daniel, forcing him to flee his home, heading toward an uncertain future.
Cal and Seth eventually come together because of Lelani (did I mention she’s a butt kicking centaur?)and slowly but surely their memories are restored. Finding out you came from a world called Aandor and that you were sent to protect the heir to the throne would throw anyone for a loop, and Cal also discovers things about his past that may threaten his wife and daughter in this world. Awakenings is a delightful hybrid of traditional fantasy and modern urban fantasy, and the author does a wonderful job melding the two genres. Cal, his wife Cat, Seth, and Lelani are in a race against time to find the heir and have to fight for their lives in the process. Gnolls, giants, heartless (literally) human puppets, and other baddies are around every corner, being led by a villain that will make your toes curl and who will stop at nothing to make sure that he is the one that finds the heir. He has his own plans for Aandor, and it doesn’t involve anything good for its people. Adventure, exciting fight scenes, and heroes to root for ((including a sentient tree named Rosencrantz, and his charming caretaker), make Awakenings a refreshing, entertaining read! Things are wide open for a sequel, and I’ll definitely snap it up as soon as it drops!