cover image The Awareness

The Awareness

Gene Stone and Jon Doyle. The Stone Press, $14.95 paper (221p) ISBN 978-0-615-94464-7

Across the globe, nonhuman mammals suddenly gain humanlike awareness: an understanding of themselves, the world around them, and the way in which they have been exploited by humanity for centuries. Soon war begins, with the newly awakened animals attempting to kill the human population, which is caught off guard by the attack, but quickly begins to fight back. The novel is told from the perspective of four animals: a circus elephant, a slaughterhouse pig, a wild bear, and faithful pet dog. The premise is a fascinating one, but the authors offer no explanation for the animals' sudden intelligence—and this will prevent many readers from buying into the narrative. Additionally, the book's ending is rushed, and the use of four protagonists hampers readers' ability to engage fully with any of them. Still, this novel is thought provoking and will make readers question their relationships with animals and the planet.