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REVIEW: Knight Awakened by Coreene Callahan

Dear Ms. Callahan:

I was excited when I received the pitch for this book because I hadn’t read a medieval in quite a long time. The added element of mysticism intrigued me. The setting is supposed to be outside the Carpathian Mountains near Transylvania but while that is where the book is situated, the language of the characters seemed from all over. There were “ayes” and “lasses” and “politesse” and “Sweet Jesu” (the hero’s favorite exclamation). I couldn’t figure out if I was in Normandy or Romania.

Knight Awakened Coreene CallahanI deliberately tried to ignore this and delve into the story. It’s a mystical, paranormal, I tell myself, stop trying to ground it in reality. Taking my own advice, I move forward, only to be brought up abruptly by the insta lust connection the couple has. Afina Lazar is sought by Vladimir Barbu who must mate with her to seize control of Transylvania. He sends out Xavian Ramir, an assassin trained by Halal and the Order of the Al Pacii. Xavian finds her and kidnaps her. Instead of taking her to Vladimir, he decides to take Afina to his keep where he can install her as a healer.

The initial conflict is that Xavian demands truth from her in all things and is terribly upset when she lies to him. But she’s your captive, I yell at the fictional Xavian, what do you expect? And Afina, why are you so taken with this barbarian who has kidnapped you and your child, I say, shaking her a little to jostle some sense into her.

My admonitions must work on Xavian because he forgets his pursuit of truth and just starts wanting Afina at every inopportune moment possible.  His trewes are in constant need of adjusting even during moments such as when two are standing on a literal precipice trying to out-run those who seek to kill them.

Afina’s assumption of power is brought about by the taking of her virginity. It’s power she does not gain and cannot control without her male soul mate.  And Xavian glories that Afina is dependent upon him, like she is a trophy.  Wouldn’t it have been lovely had she owned power of her own, independent of a man?

The mysticism doesn’t really kick in until about 50% of the book and at first I am intrigued and then disappointed because I’ve read previous Callahan books and it’s kind of a redux.  There are some glimpses of interesting ideas such as the Al Pacii, the cradle of blood from which these assassins turned…warrior knights are birthed. But too little time is devoted to creating a complex political subplot which seems to be promised but is never delivered.

We also get emotional canon shots – intense passion, near death, deep vows, but none of the build up so it seems like we are missing important parts of the story. I get the message and intent, but I also want to travel the journey with the characters.  I read one of the early reviews suggested you put your brain in neutral and I guess that’s pretty good advice here.  C-

Best regards,



Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She self publishes NA and contemporaries (and publishes with Berkley and Montlake) and spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com


  1. LisaCharlotte
    Dec 04, 2012 @ 09:05:38

    For some reason I stumble over this everytime I read it — Al Pacii.

    My brain keeps reading “Al Pacino”.

  2. Kaye Dacus
    Dec 04, 2012 @ 09:32:13

    “And Afina, why are you so taken with this barbarian who has kidnapped you and your child, I say . . .”

    “Afina’s assumption of power is brought about by the taking of her virginity.”

    I’m a little confused . . . she has a child, yet she’s a virgin????

  3. Jane
    Dec 04, 2012 @ 09:43:12

    @Kaye Dacus: Yes. It’s not an immaculate conception either.

  4. MrsJoseph
    Dec 04, 2012 @ 13:05:05


    Spill it! How is she a virgin but she has a child?

  5. Jane
    Dec 04, 2012 @ 13:07:55

    @MrsJoseph: It’s her dead sister’s child.

  6. kim
    Jan 07, 2013 @ 16:04:09

    I listened 2 this book on audible. I loved this book and the reader was wonderful. When is the next book due to come put? Cant wait!

  7. kim
    Jan 07, 2013 @ 16:21:07

    Did u read this book? The reason Vlad wants her is for the tailsman she has that lights up when the true ruler touches it. He also wants to bed her(really wants to rape her)to make her suffer! I really wish more people would listen to books its a completly new experience! Im addicted! But be careful! The narrator makes a BIG difference. Try this book on audible its great

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