Narrator: Nicola Barber
Publisher: Macmillan Audio
Publication Date: August 7, 2012
Status: First in the Watersong series.
Source: Received from the publisher for review.
Genre: Teen, Paranormal
Other Info: Amanda Hocking is also the author of the Trylle Trilogy, the Hollowland series, and the My Blood Approves series.
Description and link from Goodreads):
Audiobooks are tricky, because a bad one can break a book. My feelings for Wake aside, Nicola Barber is one of those authors whose voice grates like nails on a chalkboard. Her voice is breathy and too soft. I had to crank the volume on my car stereo just to hear her clearly. Furthermore, Her interpretation of Penn–whose baby talkish voice is an invention of the author–made me grit my teeth every time the character made an appearance in the story. Finally, the way she voiced Gemma did no favors for a character whose grasp on maturity was already tenuous.
It hasn’t been that long since I finished reading the Trylle Trilogy, and with those books as my introduction to Amanda Hocking, I have to say I was hoping for more in her first “Big Publisher” release. In brief, this was an audiobook I suffered through. And that’s saying something. I’m a lot more tolerant of audiobooks than physical ones. It’s probably just extreme laziness…but I rarely DNF an audiobook…and I really wanted to DNF this one.
First of all, Wake is boring. The conversation is stilted and devoid of originality. The characters fall short of snark and end up whining their way through the story. Gemma is particularly guilty of this. Nicola Barber was partly responsible for my intense dislike of Gemma, but Amanda Hocking has to accept her share of the blame, too. Gemma is the worst kind of MC: whiny, selfish, entitled and TSTL (too stupid to live) without any hope of redemption. By the end of the book I was hoping she’d swim off into the sunset.
Harper, Gemma’s older sister and mother figure, was marginally less annoying. At least, I kept wanting to take her aside and say, “Gemma’s not worth all this. Really, you’re better off without her.” Harper never sparked any stronger feelings, however, as she had only one facet to her personality: caregiver. No, seriously–I know little else about her. I sorta think she likes to read since an “e-reader” is mentioned in several scenes, and she works at a library. (Sidenote: The egregious effort to avoid name-branding pulled me out of the story every single time.)
The thing that makes this book irredeemable in my eyes, however, isn’t the characters. It’s the complete lack of emotional connection between the characters. Even the romantic pairs. We’re told that Harper is best friends with Alex, but I don’t see any evidence of it. Their one scene together reminded me of awkward conversations I’ve had at dinner parties where the only person I know is the host. Even if things are weird because Alex is dating Harper’s little sister, they’d still have had some kind of repertoire if they were best friends. Furthermore, Gemma and Alex’s attraction to each other is, I think, entirely based on the physical. He’s “foxy”–SERIOUSLY?!?!–and she’s gorgeous. Though I can’t really blame them for not having any deeper connection to each other–that would require both of them to have some sort of depth–which they do not. Daniel–Harper’s love interest–is by far the most promising character in the book, and therefore the least utilized. I didn’t mind so much, though, because even he wasn’t that interesting.
Aside from being stocked with a cast of one-dimensional characters, the plot is also very thin. It takes a ridiculous amount of time to get started and once it does, it frequently caused me to bang my head against my headrest. We’re treated to at least a dozen chapters of setup that, in the hands of a more talented author, could have been accomplished in one page. Then Gemma spends a zillion more pages (CDs) flopping around. She–spoiler alert–can either go with the sirens or die, but going with them would mean she would have to hurt people. Gemma can’t decide between these two fates, so she goes and asks the advice of her mentally impaired mother. Then, about twenty pages later is somehow shocked to find out that going with the sirens means she’ll have to kill people. WHEN SHE’D JUST SPENT LIGHT YEARS DRONING ON ABOUT HOW SHE THOUGHT THE SIRENS WERE RESPONSIBLE FOR THE RECENT DEATHS ON THE ISLAND.
In all, this Wake probably wasn’t good for my blood pressure. Once in a while, a book like this comes along and knocks me for a loop. I’m generally a placid reader, and I think there are a lot of things I’m willing to let slide. Wake, for the reasons listed above, so affected me that I felt I had to write this review or I’d burst. Having said all this, it will surprise you to know that I have a giveaway copy of Wake from Macmillan Audio. I seriously (seriously) want you to listen to this book. After you do, we can either commiserate together, or you can knock me about the face and neck and tell me I’m crazy. Either way, enter below:
Looking for another opinion? Try these:
Amber @ Down the Rabbit Hole: Futterwacken Worthy
Smash @ Smash Attack Reads: “I have to admit to being really engrossed in the family dynamics.”
Giveaway Rules and Regulations:
- You must be 13 or older to enter.
- US only.
- To enter, you must leave a comment on this post, answering the following question: Who are favorite mean girls? and fill out the provided Rafflecopter form below. Click on the “more” button to see the form.
- Contest will run from August 3 to August 16.
- The winner will have 48 hours to respond to my email, after which time a new winner will be chosen.
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