cover image The Awoken

The Awoken

Katelyn Monroe Howes. Dutton, $26 (416p) ISBN 978-0-593-18528-5

Monroe Howes’s frenetic if flawed debut imagines a dystopia in which people “awoken” from cryogenic sleep face a brutal extermination campaign. Outlaw “Resurrectionists” bring 23-year-old Alabine Rivers back to life 101 years after she died from cancer and had her body frozen in 2020. Reanimation has been declared illegal and the “awoken” are killed on sight in the reformed United America, where traditional gender norms reign and cultural and religious differences are repressed. The Resurrectionists, stationed at a camp in the largely deserted Chicago, explain to Alabine that she’s the poster child for awoken rights because of her boyfriend Max Green’s impassioned activism in support of reanimation before his death. Then the Resurrectionists’ leaders are arrested, spurring a failed rescue attempt during which government agents capture Alabine. Resisting the secretary of science’s demand that she betray her comrades, she escapes and becomes the leader of a Resurrectionist cell that’s determined to disrupt the president’s plans to blow up a massive cryogenic storage facility in Atlanta. However, when Alabine finds out Max’s body is being stored in New York, she decides it’s more important to travel there to reanimate him, setting up a showdown between Alabine and her supporters over their strategy. Monroe Howes’s inventive worldbuilding holds interest, but a few too many close calls and fortuitous escapes stretch believability, and the meaty ideas get lost in the jumbled plot. This doesn’t live up to its intriguing premise. Agent: Meredith Miller, UTA. (July)