I finished Awakenings, too....

Just a little while ago, so I need some time to digest it fully.

One issue that I'm puzzled about was that there seemed to be no overall sense of... urgency? Fear? Conflict? Why do the relics need to be found? To restore balance/order? faith in The Master? harmony between man, fairy, and nature? Does someone not want that to happen? Why? What purpose?

Maybe what has me puzzled is the fact that the book is more of the Inspirational-genre, not the classical Fantasy-genre wherein the Heroes need to stop the Villains from ruling the world, or something of such nature.

Things in this story's world are okay, but they were once better, so our Heroes are trying to restore their world to its former glory? They're not trying to prevent things from becoming horribly worse, just better than things are, right?

Just some partially formed thoughts on my part. :)
One thing we were trying to avoid was an overt Voldemort/Sauran/Darken Rahl character, which is kind of why we offed Mortén (also, he was dull and contrived). Our idea is that the series would be more episodic, with the overall arc being less driving than a dozen different individual character journeys. Whether or not that works for enough people remains to be seen, I guess. I certainly understand the satisfying escapism of "THIS IS THE CLEAR-CUT BAD GUY AND THIS IS WHAT WE NEED TO DO"

If that helps.

Thanks for the feedback!
That's definitely different, It's not quite what I was expecting (although truthfully I wasn't really sure what to expect), but I'm intrigued enough by the characters and the overall premise to want more, so I'll impatiently patiently wait for the next books. :)
Oh, and a red-headed shvri named Heron? As in red herring? Was that intentional or am I just looking too deep?
Hahaha. I named Heron, but I think Laura gave her her feather color, so... no, nothing symbolic there. ;-)

Half the time I can't keep the physical characteristics of the fairies and shvri straight. Bad writer!