Nobody can forget The Awakening, but everybody remembers it differently.
The Awakening changed the face of reality itself - a cataclysm of dimensional proportions, unleashing all manner of demonic beasts upon the world of man. Now, only fractured remnants of humanity survive; locked in an endless battle against the forces of darkness.
In Awakening Fractured Memories, you’ll delve into the recollections of five pivotal characters in the realm of The Awakening – each reliving a foundational event that set them on the course toward turning back the tide of evil.
Venerable wizard Dezmond must revisit the tragedies of his past if he hopes to provide his granddaughter with a future. Academy athlete Seth needs to learn to bend the rules if he hopes to win a game of life-or-death. Scheming William develops an obsession with an ancient text, which threatens to turn his closest friends against him, while demon hunter Astral has to fight for her freedom from the very depths of Hell itself.
Finally, in the lair of mad scientist Mallack, an abominable chimera is unleashed – forging a twisted alliance and throwing everything Mallack thought he knew about demonic lore into question.
Fast-paced, tautly written, and rich with dream-like symbolism and visceral detail, Awaking Fractured Memories is a collection of five linked stories that will plunge you deep into A. V. Dalcourt’s The Awakening universe.
Fans of George R. R. Martin, Terry Brooks, and H. P. Lovecraft will love this collection of fast-paced, eerily visceral short stories.
Excerpt from Arcanum Mutatio
“Clear your mind and focus,” Mathias instructed. “Let all thoughts melt away. Listen only to the sound of your breathing.”
The apprentices sat across from their master, mimicking his position. They sat in silence, eyes closed, breathing in a slow and steady rhythm while focusing on Mathias’ voice.
The world melted away for William. He sensed Astral near him and his father across from him.
Before long, his companions vanished from his imagination, leaving him in a place of complete stillness. He couldn’t hear his father’s voice, the voice that he so often sought to block out. Inside of himself was the only place that he could manage it so completely.
He felt that these meditation sessions were a complete waste of time. What did clarity have to do with fighting a demon head-on? What mattered was being able to keep your head when you saw one.
He figured he’d entertain himself for a while and take the time to think back to his dream. He mimicked the cues he dreamed up, imagining a ring of fire around him. Fire made him feel strong, dominant. Only the strong could tame fire and bend it to their will.
He visualized himself tracing what he remembered of the glyphs into the air. The first glyph flashed and seared the surrounding air, reappearing outside of the conjurer’s circle. He traced the remaining two, each reappearing in the corner of the unseen triangle.
As though obeying a command, the fire rose around him and swallowed him whole. In a moment of panic, everything went black.
Excerpt from Guiding Light
As though walking through a cave with a thick veil blocking out the light, she entered the sanctuary. It was a wide open space, in a reality that didn’t fit the world that she had come from. The room was white. Not a sterile white as seen in hospitals, but the pure and brilliant white that one associated with heavenly bodies. The ceiling was so high that mist had formed below it. It reminded Astral of a thin shimmering veil. Occasionally, she saw stars and the void beyond as the fog rippled.
The walls were an easy hundred feet apart. Though she had just entered the room, she stood in the middle of it.
There were people in the room with her, all broken. Some of them were solid and bore cracks on their skin from which light escaped. Others were shapeless and featureless entities, barely conscious of their new companion. There were a few hundred, all in varying stages of transformation.
Her physical form was altered. In this world, she was a being of darkness that shone with the same ferocity as the light in this room. It welcomed her as though having expected a return visit from a long-time friend.
She inspected herself, arms and legs, still attached; all ten digits, check. She didn’t feel any different. Her motives were still the same. She had a mission to complete, people to save, and a spell to disrupt.
She heard chanting. It wasn’t coming from this room, which existed in its own reality. It was coming from somewhere beyond the walls. When she looked around to find its source, she instead found that a pedestal had appeared before her with a thick ratty old book sitting atop, almost like a pet greeting its master.
She reached for the book, stroking its surface. A glyph burned into its cover and it snapped open, the pages within turning with savage ferocity as it searched for the page. She could not read its text.
The people in the room had stopped their aimless wandering. For the first time in a very long time, they were coherent. With their lucidity came fear and confusion.
There was shouting in a language that seemed familiar, yet so foreign from beyond the wall. Astral realized that the window of opportunity was narrow. They would regroup and try again, whatever they were doing.
She shouted at the damaged souls. “Get out! You’re free!” Run they did, vanishing into the light as they conjured their own exits, formed no doubt by their own personal realities. It didn’t matter if they made it to the real world, as long as they were no longer in this fading existence.
The pure energy of the sanctuary changed. Oozing fissures broke the pristine barriers, replacing it with pulsating fleshy walls. Blood oozed from the damaged walls, transforming the floors into vile sludge, picking its way toward the Demon Hunter.
The room groaned, allowing thirteen shadow figures into this new reality. They moved as though they were beasts pretending to be men, stopping after a few steps, unable to breach the wide untainted area that Astral was in.
Excerpt from Shadow Prey Part II
“Someone turn off that goddamn alarm!” Mallik slammed the empty specimen container onto his desk and collapsed into his chair. He doubted that his voice carried over the scream of the Council’s security alarm.
It wasn’t like his staff could do anything about the alarms. At least, not without triggering a secondary system that would reveal his lab beneath the capital city’s walls, the same walls that kept the demons out.
He glared at the empty specimen container and swiped his desk clean. Another failure. That sample had cost him more than just a few credits.
He watched the rhythm of his lab from the elevated observation deck. The space was wide, housing rows of enclosed work stations. Assistants pushed research crates with care while workers swarmed to dismantle the bubbles that created the quarantine areas for the experiments.
“All personnel, prepare for evacuation. Sign-in projects to your assigned stations before proceeding to the evacuation center,” the female automated message repeated. Her condescending maternal tone grated on Mallik’s nerves.
Getting staff to obey the procedures took generations of refining but hadn’t been without the occasional casualty. His great-grandfather modelled the instructions after the systemic use of government propaganda, indoctrinating the workers into a state of fear-based obedience. The lies were simple: the lab was in an isolated location. The world outside is dangerous. See your contract through and everything will be fine. As long as the staff had hope of returning to civilization, they would fall into the routine set out for them.
Mallik tapped his fingers against the surface of his desk. The capital’s defense maintenance tests were becoming less predictable, springing into action every few months, sometimes as much as every two weeks. The extra disruptions had a negative impact on his project timeline. His benefactors expected results. Soon.
Another day lost…
His employers weren’t after solutions to the demon issue. What they wanted was control over their competition, control over the human threats to their dominion. They wanted weapons to use against each other. Caught up in the stress of exposure, Mallik had forgotten the reasons his ancestors had set up the rigid evacuation protocol to begin with.
The day didn’t have to be a complete loss…
He exited through the back of the room. Workers gave him a wide berth as they removed the last of the quarantine structures from the lab.
Lights flickered as though tapping out a message. He counted out the rhythm, tapping against his leg as he waited for the elevator to reach the lowest level, a half mile below ground level. The door to his spartan dwelling slid open as a fleeting shadow dashed down the hall. Such tricks of the light were not uncommon for the exhausted mind. He’d rest… soon, when he finished this batch of tests.
Worth the Read, Worth the Time
Oh man, there's lots about the book that I loved, from the slow growing anticipation that crawls through your mind to the quick pick tense moments. Highly recommend giving this book a read.
Loved the insight into the world and characters of Awakening
The world is highly complex with its rich culture and history of having both science and magic. There is war, emotion, mysteries, action, death but also humor. You see the world from the eyes of different people's perspectives.
How I liked the stories(without story spoilers):
I liked the second story the most. It had humor, adventure, science fiction, action, criticism of society and characters with depth.
The first story I found both confusing and fascinating.
The third story I liked because the experience of the protagonist was described so well.
The forth story again was a bit confusing with the magic system not really clear to me by now but apart from that I still enjoyed reading it.
The fifth story I also really liked but it stopped too soon, I want to read more of it!
As a whole I really loved the deeper insight I got into the world and characters of Awakening. I enjoyed reading it and am missing it now.
Anybody who like a multilayered fantasy worlds, dark fantasy, a plot which is not straight forward or philosophical questions about the nature of evil and society will love this collection.
Who should not read Fractured Memories:
Anybody who needs romance in a book to enjoy it. Also if you don’t like changing main characters this book is not the best for you. And for those with more sensitive stomachs the blood and death in some of the stories might not be good.
Demon hunters and dark fantasy - highly recommended
Loved this collection of short stories! The six stories are linked, each a fractured memory. They describe important pivotal events in the early life of Astral, an apprentice demon hunter.
This is post apocalyptic world where humans live in safe compounds, the wealthy underground in the capital. On the surface dwell farmers and others who toil to provide food and safety for others. The surface dwellers' diet is supplemented by nourishing food cubes; most fresh food is reserved for those underground. Outside the protected areas roam demons. There is magic too. A complex well structured world, with great characters. A must read. Great to have stories without the romance and insta love.
Having read this again it still takes me into the world never wanting to get out. I cannot wait until I can read this author's up coming novel that will allow me to really delve deep into everything that makes the stories so interesting. Beta game testing is one of my favourite stories the dialogue between the characters makes me laugh out loud in a crowded room regardless of who is watching as the adventure and twists take me for a ride.