Series: ARTEMIS AWAKENING
Plot Type: Science Fantasy
Ratings: Violence—3; Sensuality—2; Humor—2
Publisher and Titles: TOR
Artemis Awakening (hardback, audio, e-book—5/2014; paperback—3/2015)
The first half of the book follows the group as they make their way to Maiden's Tear, find some artifacts, and discover one of the seegnurs' hidden facilities. This last event happens about a third of the way into the book, and that's where the plot bogs down a bit as Griffin and Terrell spend a LOT of time trying to figure out the seegnurs' technology and attempting to communicate with a damaged electronic monitor that has access to a wealth of knowledge about the facility. Their dialogues at that point are extremely technological in nature, full of complex concepts that are sometimes difficult to understand.Now that Griffin and Terrell have a nascent telepathic link, they are able to communicate through their dreams. They have become friends, but they are still rivals for Adara's attentions.
Amongst the chapters dealing with their explorations, Lindskold scatters chapters that give us a peek at the Old One's activities as he develops an elaborate plan to track down Griffin's group and take all the seegnurs' powers for himself. As Griffin explains to his friends, "the Old One Who Is Young does not consider himself evil. He considers himself a scientist, a benefactor who seeks to lift the people of Artemis from the primitive morass into which they have been plunged through no fault of their own He seeks to be their savior."
And don't forget those mysterious invaders. When they arrive, we learn their shocking identities and get answers to some questions about Griffin's past.
With the exception of the slow-paced chapters that focus on the analysis of the seegnurs' technological mysteries, the plot moves along at a fast pace, particularly as it nears the end. Most, but not all, of the conflicts are resolved, so there is plenty to keep the intrepid trio busy in the next novel, not least of which are Adara's unresolved romantic intentions and her extremely complex relationship with Artemis. Artemis has just awakened after a 500-year sleep, and she is having trouble acclimating to her new existence, which is causing Adara some problems. "Artemis has been dead and come to life. How could she not feel afraid that something will make her unalive again? Of course it is possible to feel fear without sensation—and who is to say Artemis does not experience sensations of her own?" Adara still has no idea how her relationship with Artemis will develop once Artemis overcomes her fears and the two settle into their interconnected roles—whatever those might be. (Note: At least one question from book one is answered in this novel: Where did that spider warbot come from—the one that tried to kill Griffin at the beginning of book 1.)
Once again, Lindskold masterfully and elegantly maintains her complex and very interesting Artemis mythology. She has created a fresh and inventive world in this series, along with a fascinating cast of primary and supporting characters. Particularly emotional are Adara's scenes with her parents when she learns the true reasons why they sent her off to train with Bruin at such a young age. Adara's scenes with her mother are deeply emotional, and they provide a window into her soul, explaining how she developed such an independent spirit, but still yearns for love and a sense of belonging.
One warning: A new character turns out to be a sociopathic sexual pervert, but his perversions are never graphically described. Oddly enough, that makes them even more horrific because we see the emotional effects they have on his victims and must imagine just what he did to cause so much anguish and rage.
This is definitely not a stand-alone novel because it relies heavily on the events of Artemis Awakening. Click HERE to read the first chapter of Artemis Invaded, which summarizes pertinent details from the first novel and gets Adara, Griffin, and Terrell started on their journey.
Here's the publisher's blurb that describes the series: "The distant world Artemis is a pleasure planet created out of bare rock by a technologically advanced human empire that provided its richest citizens with a veritable Eden to play in. All tech was concealed and the animals (and the humans brought to live there) were bioengineered to help the guests enjoy their stay…but there was always the possibility of danger so that visitors could brag that they had 'bested' the environment.
Ever since the destruction of their technology, the Artemisians have lived in what amounts to an early agricultural society: no electricity or power of any kind, no technology except for primitive pulleys and levers, and no food except what they grow for themselves. The Artemisians live mostly in small, isolated communities with little interaction between them. Most of the mythology of this world is supplied clearly and concisely in the second chapter of Artemis Awakening when Adara explains the lore of Artemis to the newly arrived Griffin.
Now, after generations of cross-breeding, many Artemisians are almost completely human, while others have adaptive natures and are, in fact, called the adapted. Each of the adapted has a specific skill. Adara is one of the adapted, and she is a hunter who is descended from an altered beast. She has catlike characteristics: slitted eyes that can see perfectly in the dark and fingers that can turn into claws. Each hunter has a demiurge—an animal with whom they share certain characteristics and with whom they can communicate telepathically, kind of like a witch's familiar. Adara's mentor, Bruin, has a demiurge in the form of a bear named Honeychild.
Click HERE to take an online quiz to determine what would be your profession is you were an Artemesian.
Basically, the first half of the book describes Griffin's arrival and his introduction to Artemis, and the second half deals with the nefarious deeds of the Old One and the efforts of the three valiant protagonists to stop him. Along the way, we get to know all of the main characters quite well, both the good guys and the villain. Thankfully, this villain is portrayed in a relatively nuanced manner. Even though he is committing unspeakably evil acts in the name of science, he is not a raving, power-mad lunatic out to take over the world. He's more like a mad scientist who has an insatiable thirst for knowledge and a basic lack of human decency that allows him to rationalize his horrific behavior.
The relationship among the intrepid protectors of the planet—Adara, Griffin, and Terrell—is extremely complex and constantly in flux. Both Griffin and Terrell are historians and have many of the same interests (including Adara), but Griffin sometimes lets himself get carried away by his research at the Old One's Santum because he is desperate to find a way to go home. Of all the characters, Griffin changes the most. When he first sees the Artemisians, he views them as "noble savages," primitive artisans and farmers working the land in their own resourceful way, but he is soon ashamed of his own pompous presumptions when he recognizes the Artemisians' high levels of intelligence and intellectual curiosity.
displacing awareness. Awareness becoming purpose.