Review: Awakened by James S. Murray and Darren Wearmouth


The star of truTV’s hit show Impractical Jokers-alongside veteran sci-fi and horror writer Darren Wearmouth-delivers a chilling and wickedly fun supernatural novel in the vein of The Strain, in which a beautiful new subway line in New York City unearths an ancient dark horror that threatens the city’s utter destruction and the balance of civilization itself.After years of waiting, New York’s newest subway line is finally ready, an express train that connects the city with the burgeoning communities across the Hudson River. The shining jewel of this state-of-the-art line is a breathtaking visitors’ pavilion beneath the river. Major dignitaries, including New York City’s Mayor and the President of the United States, are in attendance for the inaugural run, as the first train slowly pulls in.Under the station’s bright ceiling lights, the shiny silver cars gleam. But as the train comes closer into view, a far different scene becomes visible.All the train’s cars are empty.All the cars’ interiors are drenched in blood.As chaos descends, all those in the pavilion scramble to get out. But the horror is only beginning. High levels of deadly methane fill the tunnels. The structure begins to flood. For those who don’t drown, choke, or spark an explosion, another terrifying danger awaits-the thing that killed all those people on the train. It’s out there … and it’s coming.There’s something living beneath New York City, and it’s not happy we’ve woken it up.

Awakened (Awakened # 1) by James S. Murray and Darren Wearmouth.  Audio book, published June 26th 2018 by Voyager, 9 hours and 12 mins.  Narrated by James S. Murray.

I love creature stories and when I saw this title come out back in June, I couldn’t wait to get my greedy little hands on it.   Underground creatures attacking a subway? Hell yeah!! Right on up my alley.   Awakened definitely did not disappoint in the creatures, either.  You saw them plenty.  There was much death and destruction, with a side helping of lots of gore, at the hands (claws) of these unknown beasts.  Like I said, I love creature stories, and I read as much as I can, and I do not recall seeing anything exactly like these monsters.  Through the whole book, these creatures kept growing and evolving, their powers becoming stronger.  And there are just so many of them!  The main characters in this book really have their work cut out for them.

Along with the creatures, we are introduced to several human characters.  The main characters are made up of a few of the people who are stuck down in the tunnels and a few of the people who go in to the tunnels in order to rescue the people in trouble.  There is another group of humans caught up in the mix and this group is just as bad as the creatures.   At first it seems like there are too many characters going on, but it surprisingly never gets too overwhelming.

Awakened is book 1 in the start of a new trilogy.  These creatures are a world wide problem.  There is a shady secret organization pulling a lot of strings in the background.  This group has known about the creatures for decades and plan on using them to their own devious designs.  This organization and the random strangers brought together to fight the creatures (and the organization) in this book form the set up for book 2.  There was a lot of set up, especially in the last half of the book.  With the set up they did, I’m really looking forward to where this trilogy goes in book 2!  Author James S. Murray has said that he had worked on Awakened for 14 years.  He had trouble at first finding someone who would publish the novel, so it sat around on his computer for years before his friends told him to get back out there and pass the manuscript around again.  This time Awakened, as well as future books 2 and 3, were bought by Harper Collins.

It did not take long for the action to start in this book.  Pretty much right from the start there was crazy action.  It feels like it NEVER slows down after that.  It really hooks you at the beginning and you can’t wait to see how it all ends.  It was a 9 hour audio book but it did not seem like it was that long at all! The hours really flew by.

The audio book was narrated by the author James S. Murray.  Mr. Murray is not your typical voice worker.  He did not narrate this with all the bells and whistles you normally hear on an audio book.  Most of the characters sounded exactly the same and the women didn’t sound that much different then the men.  What he lacked in voice range, he made up with passion and energy.  He LOVES each and every character.  He LOVES this story he created.  Listening to Awakened is like hanging on every word that falls out of the camp counselors mouth as he tells a scary story around the campfire.

Awakened is a fast paced horror ride that catapults you straight in to on coming traffic.  And by “on coming traffic” I mean thousands, and thousands of horrifying creatures that will destroy you and everything in their path.   This was a solid start to a new horror trilogy and I’m looking forward to where the authors go in the next installment.   While author James S. Murray may not have a versatile range with his voice acting, he makes it work by giving the audio book life with his energy and passion for his work.



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