Waking Jamal by Amberly Smith ~ Book Review by Brandilyn

WakingJamalLGTitle: Waking Jamal

Author: Amberly Smith

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Cover Artist: Maria Fanning

Rating: 2 of 5 Stars

Publication Date: 03/25/2016

Length: Novel (~ 50K-100K)

Genre: Gay Romance, Science Fiction


Their physical and mental survival depends on them bonding.

Jamal Zumati joins the military, determined to repay the country that fed and housed him. But during his Hamask activation, his senses go offline and he enters a berserker rage. The United States Hamrammr Program, or USHP, has only one option: put him into hibernation.

Despite his extraordinary ability to read and manipulate situations, Vargr Lt. Rum Walker has stepped on one too many brass toes, and the USHP demoted him back to teaching new candidates. Rum is one paranoid thought away from self-destruction when he is recruited for a covert mission: pull Jamal from hibernation.

The problem is, no one has ever survived a berserker fury—at least not officially. If Rum is to challenge the military stereotypes, he’ll not only need to wake Jamal—he’ll need to get him to agree to be bonded as a Hamra Pair, the ultimate supersoldier team.

When Jamal and Rum team up with an FBI Hamra Pair to stop the terrorist group Dios Provee, Rum thinks he’ll show Jamal their true potential lies in an equal partnership, but Jamal is convinced Rum should take the lead. Will Rum stop Jamal from going berserk again and destroying both of their futures?

My View:

A glossary at the beginning of a book is not an acceptable substitute for word building. Let me repeat that. A glossary at the beginning of a book is NOT an acceptable substitute for word building.

SciFi and Fantasy novels with glossaries are good things. They help the reader remember details and are a great reference tool as the world grows. However, they are just that, a reference tool. NOT A SUBSTITUTE FOR WORLD BUILDING.

Really? Do I need to say more? I spent half the book having to reference the glossary because NO context was given for all the world-specific terminology and such used from the first page of this book.

I think Rum and Jamal’s story could have been great if that little step hadn’t been skipped. However, it just turned me off from the beginning.

From the blurb, I was excited to read Waking Jamal. However, having finished it, I just can’t figure out what else to say. There was just too much left out to fall truly into the story… which is key for me when I read Science Fiction. I want to be taken completely out of my world. I don’t want to have to keep flipping back to the front of the book to define foreign terms. I don’t want to have to keep wondering what the heck I missed because scenes were written in the author’s head instead of on paper.

There are a few redeeming qualities to this story. I enjoyed Jamal’s struggle. Okay, that sounds bad. I didn’t enjoy the fact that he struggles, but I did enjoy the way the author built his struggle and made it part of him as a character. I enjoyed the dichotomy between two decidedly alpha males who aren’t completely ready to be the one in charge. I enjoyed seeing that dance. However, this just wasn’t enough to overcome the negatives already in my mind.

Yes, this review is a little one dimensional. But it was an important dimension, or lack of a dimension as the case may be, to me. It was the key to the story.


Waking Jamal on Goodreads
Dreamspinner Press
Amazon US
Amazon UK
Amazon CA
All Romance eBooks

I would like to thank the publisher for providing me with the eARC of this title in exchange for my honest opinion.

Farewell Giveaway
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.

Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,

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