Exonerated by the Vampyre High Council and returned to her position of High Priestess at Tulsa’s House of Night, Neferet has sworn vengeance on Zoey. Dominion over Kalona is only one of the weapons she plans to use against Z. But Zoey has found sanctuary on the Isle of Skye and is being groomed by Queen Sgiach to take over for her there. Being Queen would be cool, wouldn’t it? Why should she return to Tulsa? After losing her human consort, Heath, she will never be the same—and her relationship with her super-hot-warrior, Stark, may never be the same either…And what about Stevie Rae and Rephaim? The Raven Mocker refuses to be used against Stevie Rae, but what choice does he have when no one in the entire world, including Zoey, would be okay with their relationship? Does he betray his father or his heart? As events spiral out of control, how far will the bonds of friendship stretch and how strong are the ties that bind one girl’s heart?
About the Author
#1 New York Times and USA Today bestselling author P.C. CAST is an award-winning fantasy and paranormal romance author, as well as an experienced speaker and teacher. Her novels have been awarded YALSA Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers, and have received the prestigious Oklahoma Book Award, as well as the PRISM, Daphne du Maurier, Booksellers Best, Holt Medallion, Beacon, Romantic Times Reviewer's Choice, and Affaire de Coeur awards. She lives in Oklahoma with lots of dogs, cats, horses, and a burro. KRISTIN CAST is a bestselling author who teams with her mother to write the House of Night series. She has stories in several anthologies, as well as editorial credits.Currently Kristin is working on her first stand-along novel, a dark, mysterious fairytale.
Read an Excerpt
AWAKENED (Chapter 1)
A disquieting sense of irritation awakened Neferet. Before she had truly departed that amorphous place between dreams and reality, she reached out with her long, elegant fingers and felt for Kalona. The arm she touched was muscular. His skin was smooth and strong and pleasing beneath her fingertips. All it took was that small, feather-like caress. He stirred and turned eagerly to her.
“My Goddess?” His voice was husky with sleep and the beginnings of renewed desire.
He annoyed her.
They all annoyed her because they were not him.
“Leave me … Kronos.” She had to pause, and search her memory to remember his ridiculous, overly ambitious name.
“Goddess, have I done something to displease you?”
Neferet glanced up at him. The young Son of Erebus Warrior was reclining on the bed beside her, his handsome face open, his expression willing, his aquamarine eyes just as striking in the dimness of her candlelit bedroom as they had been earlier that day when she’d watched him training in the castle courtyard. He’d stirred her desires then, and with one inviting look from her, he’d willingly come to her and futilely, though enthusiastically, attempted to prove that he was god in more than namesake alone.
The problem was that Neferet had been bedded by an immortal, thus she knew all too intimately just how much of an imposter this Kronos truly was.
“Breathe,” Neferet said, meeting his blue eyes with a bored glance.
“Breathe, Goddess?” His brow, decorated by a tattoo pattern that was supposed to represent ball and mace weaponry, but to Neferet appeared more like frilly Fourth of July fireworks, furrowed in confusion.
“You asked what you’d done to displease me and I told you: you’re breathing. And in much too close a proximity to me. That displeases me. It’s time you depart my bed.” Neferet sighed and flicked her fingers at him in dismissal. “Go. Now.”
She almost laughed aloud at his undisguised look of hurt and shock.
Had the youth really believed he could replace her divine Consort? The impertinence of the thought fueled her anger.
In the corners of Neferet’s bedchamber, shadows within shadows quivered in anticipation. Though she didn’t acknowledge them, she felt their stirrings. It pleased her.
“Kronos, you were distracting, and for a brief time you gave me a measure of pleasure.” Neferet touched him again, this time not so gently, and her fingernails left twin raised welts down his thick forearm. The young warrior didn’t flinch or pull away. Instead he trembled beneath her touch and his breathing deepened. Neferet smiled. She’d known this one needed pain to feel desire the instant his eyes had met hers.
“I would give you more pleasure, if you allowed it,” he said.
Neferet smiled. Her tongue flicked out slowly, licking her lips as she watched him watch her. “Perhaps in the future. Perhaps. For now what I require of you is to leave me and, of course, to continue to worship me.”
“Would that I could show you how much I long to worship you again.” The last word was spoken as a verbal caress, and—mistakenly—Kronos reached for her.
As if it was his right to touch her.
As if her wishes were subservient to his needs and desires.
One small echo from Neferet’s distant past—a time she thought she’d buried with her humanity—seeped from the entombed memories. She felt her father’s touch and even smelled the reek of his rancid, alcohol-soaked breath as her childhood invaded the present.
Neferet’s response was instantaneous. As easily as breathing, she lifted her hand from the warrior’s arm and held it, palm outward, at the closest of the shadows lurking at the edges of her chamber.
Darkness responded to her touch even more quickly than had Kronos. She felt its deadly chill and reveled in the sensation, especially as it banished the rising memories. With a nonchalant motion, she scattered the Darkness at Kronos, saying, “If it is pain you so desire, then taste my cold fire.”
The Darkness Neferet hurled at Kronos penetrated his young, smooth skin eagerly, slicing ribbons of scarlet through the forearm she had so recently caressed.
He moaned, though this time more in fear than passion.
“Now do as I command. Leave me. And remember, young warrior, a goddess chooses when and where and how she is touched. Do not overstep yourself again.”
Gripping his bleeding arm, Kronos bowed low to Neferet. “Yes, my Goddess.”
“Which goddess? Be specific, Warrior! I have no desire to be called by ambiguous titles.”
His response was instantaneous. “Nyx Incarnate. That is your title, my Goddess.”
Her narrowed look softened. Neferet’s face relaxed into its mask of beauty and warmth. “Very good, Kronos. Very good. See how easy it is to please me?”
Caught in her emerald gaze, Kronos nodded once, then fisting his right hand over his heart he said, “Yes, my Goddess, my Nyx,” and backed reverently from her chamber.
Neferet smiled again. It was unimportant that she was not actually Nyx Incarnate. The truth was Neferet wasn’t interested in being cast in the role of an incarnate goddess. “That implies I am lesser than a goddess,” she spoke to the shadows gathered around her. What was important was power—and if the title Nyx Incarnate aided her in the acquisition of power, especially with the Sons of Erebus Warriors, then that was the title by which she would be called. “But I aspire to more—much more than standing in the shadow of a goddess.”
Soon she would be ready to take her next step, and Neferet knew some of the Sons of Erebus would be manipulated into standing beside her. Oh, not enough of them to actually sway a battle with their physical force, but enough of them to fragment the Warriors’ morale by setting brother against brother. Men, she thought disdainfully, so easily fooled by the masks of beauty and title, and so easily used to my advantage.
The thought pleased her but wasn’t distracting enough to keep Neferet from restlessly leaving her bed. She wrapped a sheer silk robe around herself and moved from her chamber out into the hallway. Before she’d given conscious thought to her actions she was heading to the stairwell that would take her to the bowels of the castle.
Shadows within shadows drifted after Neferet, dark magnets drawn by her increasing agitation. She knew they moved with her. She knew they were dangerous and that they fed on her unease, her anger, her restless mind. But, oddly, she found a measure of comfort in their presence.
She paused only once in her downward descent. Why am I going to him again? Why am I allowing him to invade my thoughts tonight? Neferet shook her head as if to dislodge the silent words and spoke into the narrow, empty stairwell, addressing the Darkness that hovered attentively around her. “I go because it is what I wish to do. Kalona is my Consort. He was wounded serving me. It is only natural that I think of him.”
With a self-satisfied smile Neferet continued down the winding stairwell, easily repressing the truth: that Kalona had been wounded because she had entrapped him, and the service he performed for her was a forced one.
She reached the dungeon, carved centuries ago from the rocky earth that made up the Isle of Capri at the bottommost level of the castle, and moved silently down the torch-lit hallway. The Son of Erebus Warrior standing watch outside the barred room couldn’t hide his jolt of surprise. Neferet’s smile widened. His shocked look, tinged with fear, told her that she was getting better and better at appearing to materialize from nothing but shadows and night. That lightened her mood, but not enough to add the softness of a smile to temper the cruel edge of command in her voice.
“Leave. I wish to be alone with my Consort.”
The Son of Erebus hesitated only a moment, but that slight pause was enough for Neferet to make a mental note about being sure in the next few days that this particular Warrior would be called back to Venice. Perhaps because of an emergency regarding someone close to him …
“Priestess, I leave you to your privacy. But know that I am within the sound of your voice and will respond to your call should you need me.” Without meeting her eyes, the Warrior fisted his hand over his heart and bowed—though too slightly to suit her.
Neferet watched him retreat down the narrow hallway.
“Yes,” she whispered to the shadows. “I can feel that something quite unfortunate is going to happen to his mate.”
Smoothing the sheer silk of her wrap, she turned to the closed wooden door. Neferet drew a deep breath of the damp dungeon air. She swept the thick fall of her auburn hair back from her face, baring her beauty as if girding herself for battle.
Neferet waved her hand at the door and it opened for her. She stepped into the room.
Kalona lay directly on the earthen floor. She’d wanted to make a bed for him, but discretion had dictated her actions. It really wasn’t that she was keeping him imprisoned. She was simply being wise. He had to complete his mission for her—that was what was best for him. If his body regained too much of its immortal strength, it would be a distraction for Kalona, an unfortunate distraction. Especially as he’d sworn to act as her sword in the Otherworld and to rid them of the inconvenience Zoey Redbird had created for them in this time, this reality.
Neferet approached his body. Her Consort lay flat on his back, naked, with only his onyx wings as a veil-like covering. She sank gracefully to her knees and then reclined, facing him, on the thick fur pelt she’d ordered placed beside him for her convenience.
Neferet sighed. She touched the side of Kalona’s face.
His flesh was cool, as it always was, but lifeless. He showed no reaction whatsoever to her presence.
“What is taking so long, my love? Could you not have disposed of one annoying child more quickly?”
Neferet caressed him again; this time her hand slid from his face down the curve of his neck, over his chest, to rest on the indentations that defined the corded muscles of his abdomen and waist.
“Remember your oath and fulfill it so that I might open my arms and my bed to you again. By blood and Darkness you have sworn to prevent Zoey Redbird from returning to her body, thus destroying her so that I might rule this magickal modern world.” Neferet caressed the fallen immortal’s slim waist again, smiling secretly to herself. “Oh, and of course you shall be by my side while I rule.”
Invisible to the Sons of Erebus fools who were supposed to be the High Council’s spies, the black, spider-like threads that held Kalona trapped against the earth shivered and shifted, brushing their frigid tentacles against Neferet’s hand. Distracted momentarily by their alluring chill, Neferet opened her palm to Darkness and allowed it to twine around her wrist, cutting ever so slightly into her flesh—not enough to cause her pain that was unbearable—only enough to temporarily sate its unending lust for blood.
Remember your sworn oath …
The words sloughed around her like the winter wind through denuded branches.
Neferet frowned. She need not be reminded. Of course she was aware of her oath. In exchange for Darkness doing her bidding—entrapping Kalona’s body and forcing his soul to the Otherworld—she had agreed to sacrifice the life of an innocent Darkness had been unable to taint.
The oath remains. The bargain holds, even should Kalona fail, Tsi Sgili …
Again the words whispered around her.
“Kalona will not fail!” Neferet shouted, utterly incensed that even Darkness would dare chastise her. “And should he, I have bound his spirit as mine to command as long as he is immortal, so even in failure there is victory for me. But he will not fail.” She repeated the words, slowly and distinctly, regaining control over her increasingly volatile temper.
Darkness licked her palm. The pain, slight though it was, pleased her, and she gazed at the tendrils affectionately, as if they were simply overeager kittens vying for her attention.
“Darlings, be patient. His quest is not complete. My Kalona is still but a shell. I can only assume Zoey languishes in the Otherworld—not fully living and, unfortunately, not yet dead.”
The threads that held her wrist quivered, and for an instant Neferet thought she heard the mocking ring of laughter rumbling in the distance.
But she had no time to consider the implications of such a sound—whether it was real or just an element of the expanding world of Darkness and power that consumed more and more of what she once knew as reality—because at that instant Kalona’s entrapped body jerked spasmodically and he drew a deep, gasping breath.
Her gaze went instantly to his face, so she witnessed the horror of his eyes opening, even though they were nothing but empty, bloody sockets.
“Kalona! My love!” Neferet was on her knees, bending over him, her hands fluttering around his face.
The Darkness that had been caressing her wrists throbbed with a sudden jolt of power, causing her to flinch before they shot from her body and joined a myriad of sticky tendrils that, web-like, hovered and pulsed against the stone ceiling of the dungeon.
Before Neferet could form a command to call a tendril to her—to order an explanation for such bizarre behavior—a blinding flash of light, so bright and shining that she had to shield her eyes from it, exploded from the ceiling.
The web of Darkness caught it, slicing through the light with inhumane sharpness and entrapping it.
Kalona opened his mouth with a soundless scream.
“What is it? I demand to know what is happening!” Neferet cried.
Your Consort has returned, Tsi Sgili.
Neferet stared as the globe of imprisoned light was wrenched from the air and, with a terrible hissing, Darkness plunged Kalona’s soul through the sockets of his eyes and back into his body.
The winged immortal writhed in pain. His hands lifted to cover his face, and he drew panting, ragged breaths.
“Kalona! My Consort!” As she would have done when she was a young healer, Neferet moved automatically. She pressed her palms over Kalona’s hands, quickly and efficiently centered herself, and said, “Soothe him … remove his pain … make his agony like the red sun setting into the horizon—gone after a momentary slash through the waiting night sky.”
The shudders that wracked Kalona’s body began to lessen almost instantly. The winged immortal drew a deep breath. Though his hands trembled, he clasped Neferet’s tightly, removing them from his face. Then, opened his eyes. They were the deep amber color of whisky, clear and coherent. He was completely himself again.
“You’ve returned to me!” For a moment Neferet was so filled with relief that he was awake and aware that she almost wept. “Your mission is complete.” Neferet brushed away the tentacles that clung stubbornly to Kalona’s body, frowning at them because they seemed so reluctant to withdraw their hold on her lover.
“Take me from the earth.” His voice was gravelly with disuse, but his words were lucid. “To the sky. I need to see the sky.”
“Yes, of course, my love.” Neferet waved at the door and it reopened. “Warrior! My Consort awakens. Help him to the castle rooftop!”
The Son of Erebus who had annoyed her so recently obeyed her command without question, though Neferet noted he looked shocked at Kalona’s sudden reanimation.
Wait until you know the whole of it. Neferet speared him a superior smirk. Very soon you and the other Warriors will take orders only from me—or you will perish. The thought pleased her as she followed the two men out of the bowels of the ancient fortress of Capri, up and up until finally they emerged from the long length of stone steps onto the rooftop.
It was past midnight. The moon hung toward the horizon, yellow and heavy though not yet full.
“Help him to the bench and then leave us,” Neferet ordered, gesturing to the ornately carved marble bench that rested near the edge of the castle’s rooftop, affording a truly magnificent view of the glistening Mediterranean. But Neferet had no interest in the beauty that surrounded her. She waved away the Warrior, dismissing him from her mind even though she knew he would be notifying the High Council that her Consort’s soul had returned to his body.
That didn’t matter now. That could be dealt with later.
Only two things mattered now: Kalona had returned to her, and Zoey Redbird was dead.
AWAKENED. Copyright 2010 by P. C. Cast and Kristin Cast.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I love the series and every book has me reading until midnight, but the series is really dragging on now. I was ready for Zoey to save the world by the 5th book. I'm glad Zoey only has one guy now because it was getting pretty tiring of reading about her teenage anxiety over three guys when the world is at stake. Hopefully the authors will wrap this up soon. I personally dont want to read how the heroine postponed the big war for another book again, it's a waste of money. Somebody please tell me when the FINAL book comes out so I can just finish this already, it's taking up too much time and honestly, I've forgotten everything about the series just waiting to find out what happens next....
THIS SERIES IS AMAZING!! it is a must-read it had me hooked I was always left wanting for more from cliff hangers to shockers twist turn and then the sweetest moments..... if ure looking for a good series you just found it. This series made me cry laugh and say "aww." and start screaming :) this is one of the best series i have ever read
The first few books of the this series were excellent. The next few were good. The last two books......barely readable. This series has drug on for far to long and the quality of writing continues to decline. My recommendation...if you haven't started reading this series then don't begin. If you have already starting the series and curiosity forces you to read onward then go ahead, but don't read with any real expectation - you'll be more than sorely disapointed. I do believe I can say that this is my final read of the House of Night series.
I LOVE the House of NIght series! I have read all seven and am waiting for AWAKENED! If you are into spernatural books like Twilight, Fallen, Hush Hush, and Vampire Academy then you will more than likely love these books. They arnt that realistic but a lot of teens can realate to them (partly because a teen helped in writing the books)and they are, in my opionon, really funny! I recommend them to all book lovers.
I loved reading this wonderful book! It is a story that keeps you entertained for hours.
I believe that anyone and everyone who would read these books will enjoy and not want to put it down i actually love how this mother and daughter write
2 years ago i had NO idea this series even existed until i started browsing the website!!! i read the synopsis and thought it sounded kinda good. i was sooooo excited that i read the book in less than one day, talk about glued to my hands bahaha!!! all the way to book 7 and i am itching to get the 8th book. I never really liked Heath because he was too pushy and Erik, however hot zoey thinks he is, is a total doucher! But stark, mister warrior, is the perfect one for zoey and i have to agree that i dont think its going to be the type of relationship we might want for them, but stark is closest person to zoey and always will be so thats pretty awesome! i cant freakin wait for Awakened!!!
I had really high expectations for Awakened. I have loved the entire HoN series, and really enjoyed Awakened for the most part. Most of the book seemed a little slow moving, and then at the end, everything was crammed into just a few chapters and it felt so rushed. I won't spoil the ending... But....the next book comes out in November, 2011
Okay, when I first started reading this series, I was totally into it! But now, P.C. and Kristin Cast needs to wrap it up. They should have ended the series around book four or five. I mean seriously, book NINE and I heard there's going to be a book TEN. Good golly! I thought it was just supposed to be about Zoey vs. Neferet, but now we have Kalona. And aslo, what's with the x amount of boyfriends? C'mon, seriously, Zoey is not that cool or inticing and she's a really shallow character. I mean, she worries about which boyfriend to choose while the world is in mortal peril. Self-involved much? Anyway, they need to wrap it up!!!
Compared to the rest of the House of Night books, it's slow moving and loaded with language that no teen would actually utter. Bull poopie! Seriously! The heroine and her best friend have been through life and death situations, sexual encounters, and profound moral/ethical dilemmas. Their vernacular would demonstrate a little more maturity than it does in this latest book, "Awakened." Hopefully the next book in the series will reflect some development in their characters and will have a little more action.
I've been reading this series for about three years now. At this point I question myself as to why I haven't stopped when I read the first page of this book. The dialogue is horrible and to be honest I much rather prefer to be in Kalonas or Neferets head because their narratives are written so much better than any of the other characters. But why I endure the book until the end is all the twists and turns and wondering what's next that keeps me holding on. This book is about a four stars in story but two in writing so I rounded it to a three stars in quailty. If youre like me and stay true to a series until the end (four more books) then keep reading. This one was much better than the last. I just hope PC Cast can end the series and tie ALL the lose ends in the last book as she continues to weave a complicated web.
I am in love with this series!! I just ordered Awakened but have read the other 7 twice!! whoever says they aren"t great doesn"t know great! keep the series going!!
I have readed alot of books but this has to be my most favorite. If you love Vampires and a book with action. This is your serie. You dont have to be young to read this and love it.
Okay, so this one wasn't as good as the first 3, but was vastly better than the last 2. The plot has been slowly culminating towards the climax of the series, but I think it is finally picking up momentum. The problem is that the books are so short, and the release dates between them are around 6 months. If you haven't started this series, I would definitely recommend waiting until they are all written. If you enjoyed this series, you will definitely like the Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead, the Morganville Vampire series by Rachel Caine, and the Wicked Lovely series by Melissa Marr. For the adult stuff, readers will probably enjoy "Dead Witch Walking" by Kim Harrison.
OMFG this was the best and most sadest of all! (even though heath died in tempted) but it was the sadest!!!!!! its a MUST-READ!!! the whole series is flippen awsome!!! i love them!!! there the best! i recomend it to anyone who like action,romance,friendship that never ends, and most of all the action! i love this series its the best so that why i recomed it to anyone (mostly teens) xD
I loved this series and recommended it to tons of people, but now it's losing it's touch. Not only did it take FOREVER for this book to come out, but after reading 7 of these it just starts to get old. I expected alot more from this book than what was delivered and was slightly dissapointed. The Cast's need to end this series soon or no one will remember what's going on and many just won't care. If you liked the series I recommend reading it just so you can continue reading the series,but don't think you are going to get any closure from this book! Just like all the others, Awakened only opens up more doors and doesn't close a single one.
Awakened is the 8th novel in the House of Night series. As the character of Zoey Redbird was the clear main character throughout most of the series, I enjoyed seeing another take the forefront in this novel. The plot was more centered around Stevie Rae, Zoey's best friend and a new High Priestess to the red vampyres and fledglings. Her character became far more developed, putting Zoey in more of a supporting role. At times throughout the story, the continuing battle against Neferet and the Darkness she now commanded almost took a back seat to Stevie Rae's story. When that became clear to me, I was afraid that the story would begin to drag, as that battle is the center theme around which the series has been built. I do feel that at times it was almost too focused on Stevie Rae and her struggles, leaving out a lot of the interaction between the characters that gave the previous novels depth, interest and texture. At times, the battle with Neferet became almost an afterthought instead of a main plot point. I don't think these were the faults of poor writing, but rather too much attention to a single aspect of the story. There are series in which the different novels within it will focus on a different main character, a different point of view, within the same story line. This series has not been like that so focusing on a single aspect made the story lose just a little luster for me. That being said, I did love the ending. I thought I knew where it was heading, and that it would make for both a perfect ending and a perfect start for the next book. I was totally wrong. I like being wrong because it means it isn't predictable. The ending was a twist and allowed room for the next novel to explore. And once again, the cover art is beautiful, full of symbolism that directly relates to major plot points inside. All in all, I would recommend reading it. I may have found faults, but I definately did enjoy it. I give it 3.5 stars.
I know people always say things like this, but honestly this series is incredible. I love the books and characters and can not wait for the 8th one to come out. I absolutely adore Stark and hope to god that the Cast pair make his and Zoey's relationship good! I never really liked health; i felt like he was to pushy and he is a human so he cant really be with zoe anyway. Erik is a butthead and i'm glad tha zoe dropped him. the only part that i didn't really like was how Kalona is now bound to Nefert, or is soon to be bound i should say, because he didnt kill zoey. I feel like they're making her more and more powerful. i mean, with a god doing her bidding i'm not sure how the 8th book could possibly end. hopefully it all works out though!!!!! Everyone should read these books because they keep you on your feet and you'll have a hard time putting them down!!!! :)
hey like these books are awesome i love stark and zoey. if u liked twilight,hush,hush, and vampire academy then u will love these books just like i do!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I just finished Burned last night and LOVED IT! P.C. and Kristin Cast know how to write! :) I cant wait to see what happens with Stevie Rae! :)
I have been waiting for this book to come out for months, and I finally got it. When it arrived at my house I was SO excited to read it. It has been over two weeks since then, and I'm STILL reading the book. I just can't seem to get into it. Awakened seems to be all about one thing: sex. Not only is quiet disgusting, but annoying also. I'm not sure if I even want to finish this book. This series is going on way too long, and it needs to end already.
this series is the all time best vamp series there ever was,. from book 1 to book 7 i have absolutely loved them more & more becus they just kept on getting better & better,. P.C. Cast & Kristin Cast are the best mother,daughter authors you could ever ask for :) zoey & health were such a cute couple but now zoey & stark are just way better, but it worries me to say that i think things are going to be very different between them. But it's alrite becus zoey always has her best friend stevie rae no matter what. Kalona & Neferet need to go & stay gone!!
Ihavent been able to stop reading these books my mom gets on to me and says quote " you read those books about as fast as u eat chocolate " buti dont mind that she says that it takes me about five seconds to consume a chocolate bar and aboutone hour for me to read any kind of book and even less time if i like the book !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! over all i love this seriese and recomend it 100% !!!!!!!
I started reading this series a while ago and o havee recomended it to all of my friends and it is amazing. The book is well written and keeps the reader hooked until they finish. Love this series and would recommend it to anyone looking for a great read!
Couldnt put it down