I was really hesitant to read the first book in the series ("Minion") and found it to be really slow and uninteresting in the beginning but it picked up in the end. This book did not have the same problem. I was hooked from the start. I like how Banks provided a little bit of a reminder of what happened in the first book (not that I needed it). But even that had me hooked.
In "The Awakening", Banks continues to build on the world that she has created, and it is very complex. Which is good and bad. It is good because it keeps the story moving forward and allows the reader to see the rules and guidelines that govern almost everything, good and evil. It is bad because it causes her to sit up situations that explain what is going on and why, that takes sometimes and subtracts from the action vibe that the story has.
I find most of Banks character to be captivating, even the bad guys. You want to know their story and what is going to happen to them. She gives you little glimpses of pieces throughout the novel (probably so that you will read the next one), but just enough to keep the story rolling and your curiosity perked.
I enjoy Banks witting and don't find that it is very difficult to read. It doesn't take much thought, its like watching an very good action more. You don't think you just absorbed the sences that she is sitting up for you. The only problem with her writing that I have is her use of slang not only in dialog but also in her sentence structure. It service the purpose of keeping with the stories settings but it also not only dates the story but her. I find some of the terms and actions of the characters to be out of date.