My Sunday Book Review and promotion today is for Luna Saint Claire’s new release – The Serpent Awakens. This is her second book to The Sleeping Serpent. This book could definitely be read as a standalone and is much more PG friendly than book one. The language and explicit erotica from book one is not in this book. I read Luna’s first book and if you’re curious to learn about Nico’s unflattering characteristics to get a scope of what he’s all about before Luna put out her new book and sent him off into a journey of self-discovery where we learn about Nico’s background and past and what made him become who he was, you can read my review for the first book HERE.
As Luna states: The genre is a metaphysical visionary fiction and a transformational coming of age story. This is Nico’s self-battle to find forgiveness for himself and his journey to get out of his own darkness into the light.
When Nico Romero, a celebrated yoga master in Los Angeles, barely survives an attack on his life, he returns to his hometown of Buenos Aires to assess the purpose of his life. He reconnects with family, friends, and a former lover only to find his homecoming is not what he expected.
Encouraged by his grandmother, he travels to Peru to find his spiritual teacher. Secrets from Nico’s past bump up against reality as he searches for meaning and belonging in a world beyond his control. His inner path becomes interlaced with his outer one, and a deepening understanding of existence and personal suffering unfolds amidst the beauty of the Andes.
A coming-of-age at any age story that touches on faith and the human experience.
A journey to meaning and belonging — A tribute to Siddhartha and The Odyssey.
A story of fierce struggle and longing that begins with an act of surrender.
Lyrical and meditative — The Serpent Awakens explores big ideas and universal truths.
My 5 Star Review:
Luna Saint Clair takes us back to her character Nico Romero – the narcissist who I loved to detest in the first book – The Sleeping Serpent. In this book, after abusing so many women with his domineering ways in book 1, Nico leaves Maya behind in L.A. to go back to his native Argentina after getting shot. And when he arrives home at his grandmother’s house, Nico’s life story begins to unfold as he begins to focus on his wounds from childhood and he tries to confront his demons.
Once home, Nico hooks up with a past girlfriend, Gaby (because he must have sex) who is tied up with her family in the drug business and he tries to get her out of it as he sets out to open a new yoga studio in Argentina and start over again after fleeing whoever tried to kill him in L.A.
Nico is very close with his grandmother, ‘Ita’ who is wise and is the one responsible for sending him to the U.S. when he was a young teen, to keep him out of the drug gangs at home. He went to live with his father in New York who was estranged from his mother. His Ita tells him he was born with a path in his spirit as she fills him in with stories of his spiritual ancestors, and reminds him he must go back to Q’ero in the Andes to finish learning his spiritual journey
Nico decides he must travel to the Andes and do some soul-searching in Machu Picchu in Peru. Once again he abandons Gaby, just another of a string of women he’s treated like crap for his own motives. Despite his handsome appearance, Nico has much to learn in life and despite that he lived in L.A. running his own yoga studio there, surrounded by celebrities, he had learned nothing about compassion or how to treat other people who genuinely cared about him. On his trip to Peru, the awakenings began to happen when he joins a trek tour to Machu Picchu with an actress named Camille and her TV crew. Nico learns there from Cami’s questioning of him that he is not the center of the universe and he cannot just dismiss people when he doesn’t get the praise he’s used to as Cami’s shared stories seem to open up many aha moments for him.
After the trek back from the climb, Cami decides to stay an extra few days at a spa to unwind from the trek and invites Nico to join her. On the first night they settle outside under the stars and decide to smoke some San Pedro cured by a specialist there.
Despite Nico’s spiritual practices, they don’t seem to quash his ego too much. He’s still a whiney little boy who gets angry when he doesn’t get his way, but is learning to hide his anger by keeping his moping to himself about how nobody loves him, his inability to get past his mother sending him to America (to basically save his life), and he can’t seem to shake his annoying habit of having to brag about things so he can feel better about himself, all the while subconsciously detesting who he is. A total narcissist.
After his night getting high with Cami, they sleep together, and Nico gets a shot of ‘the world doesn’t revolve around you’ by Cami, when she tells him she’s going to the forest and he asks to come with her and she tells him she wants to be alone. Nico has hopes that he and Cami will open a yoga center in Peru because they talked about it when they were high on San Pedro, and Nico needs a new beginning, but will Cami really give up her stardom in L.A. for tranquility in Peru – with Nico?
Cami takes off and Nico decides to go back to the travel agent Sabrina who got him on the trek with Cami’s crew. He asked her to get him to Q’ero so he can finish his journey with the paqo to reach his highest level of spirituality. She hooks him up with Manuel who agrees to take him where the holy place is and becomes his guide, and with his wisdom, he manages to strike something in Nico where he may actually learn goodness from Manuel. As they journey on together, Nico takes in a lot of wisdom from Manuel and the people they meet along the way. This is a very spiritual journey which the author crafts wonderfully. Nico takes in all the goodness, despite his giant, bruised ego still whining about all he lost and all he could have had. Do you think an egotistical narcissist can be changed? You will have to read to find out at the end of his spiritual journey.
Luna Sainte Claire is a beautiful writer. Her prose is almost lyrical with rich, deep descriptions that both draw us in to her stories and characters. Nico is a well written character – the guy I still love to hate, because I have a deep aversion to narcissists. And one would think it a paradox to be able to create such a character who is so complex in so many ways from his complicated childhood and his desire to become ‘famous’ because he craves people who will idolize him, yet, he is spiritual. How can one be both these polar opposites and become a kind, loving human being? Saint Claire manages to display his character expertly with all his idiosyncrasies, hangups, and ego, ultimately fighting himself to free himself from his own self-imposed grandiosity.
Snippets about this book:
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Author Website – Luna Saint Claire http://www.compelledbooks.com/
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