Sunday, September 16, 2012

Wake by Amanda Hocking

by Amanda Hocking

 Please check out the following link for an audiobook clip from the beginning of Wake,
provided by Macmillan Audio:

When I first wrote this review, I was unaware the audiobook existed...
I've listened to this clip, and it seems to be the first chapter of the book.

It's really cute... but has none of the supernatural elements that come in later in the book,
which are the parts I liked best... but then... giving those bits away in an
audio clip might be a bit spoilerish, since they'd probably give away too much!

(just a total side note... but I love everything about this cover...except the girl... she looks so pissy and annoyed and if she's supposed to be the main character, Gemma, her expression is just too much "bitch" and all wrong. I don't think you *need* to stick a girl on this cover... or at least, not this one -_-)

(from Goodreads):

Fall under the spell of Wake—the first book in an achingly beautiful new series by celebrated author Amanda Hocking—and lose yourself to the Watersong.

Gorgeous. Fearless. Dangerous. They're the kind of girls you envy; the kind of girls you want to hate. Strangers in town for the summer, Penn, Lexi and Thea have caught everyone's attention—but it’s Gemma who’s attracted theirs. She’s the one they’ve chosen to be part of their group.

Gemma seems to have it all—she’s carefree, pretty, and falling in love with Alex, the boy next door. He’s always been just a friend, but this summer they’ve taken their relationship to the next level, and now there’s no going back. Then one night, Gemma’s ordinary life changes forever. She’s taking a late night swim under the stars when she finds Penn, Lexi and Thea partying on the cove. They invite her to join them, and the next morning she wakes up on the beach feeling groggy and sick, knowing something is different.

Suddenly Gemma is stronger, faster, and more beautiful than ever. But her new powers come with a terrifying price. And as she uncovers the truth, she’s is forced to choose between staying with those she loves—or entering a new world brimming with dark hungers and unimaginable secrets.

One of two main characters, Gemma is an avid swimmer. She is a likeable girl... but oddly, the story starts out really focusing on her emotions, and then sort of totally abandons them, explaining nothing and just detaching us from her.
Harper: Gemma's older sister, and the responsible one. Maybe a little too responsible, she seems to be forgetting to have a life. Harper is the more likable of the two sisters, in my opinion, if for no other reason than that the book doesn't abandon her thought process halfway through.
Alex: Gemma's love interest and Harper's best friend. Alex comes across as a likeable guy... but there doesn't seem to be anything exceptional about him.

Daniel: The bum who lives on a boat on the docks where the girls father works... he's probably the most interesting character in this book. There's obviously something going on with him that has yet to be explained. I have a guess... but we'll just have to wait and see.
Gemma and Harper's father... he was not too bad of a father figure, although came across as a bit immature.

Nathalie: Gemma and Harper's brain damaged mother (literally) She's an incredibly immature character, but it's not her fault. I think it's a pity she's obsessed with Justin Bieber though, in the future, this will date the book quite badly.

Penn, Lexi and Thea: Three beautiful, mysterious girls who have come to town, and who the locals are both in awe of, and a bit afraid of.

After reading Hocking's Trylle series, I'd say she's progressing in her writing style after reading Wake. These books are not beautiful, poetic prose, but they're a fun, easy read that flow well enough.

I've got to say though, there is one thing about this book that I HATED. That is the fact that whenever the girls thought about their father, they called him Brian... but whenever they spoke to him, they called him Dad. WHO DOES THAT?! If they are calling him dad to his face, then they think of him as Dad when they think about him... and if they're thinking of him as Brian, then they should be calling him Brian to his face. It ripped me right out of the story every time... and I found it absolutely annoying as a reader.

This book kind of fell apart for me at the end... and mostly because we had become almost totally disconnected from any real reason Gemma had for doing anything. We knew she was walking around acting a certain way, but her actions and what little of her thoughts we got just weren't lining up for me at all... she had sort of ceased to be the character I met at the beginning of the book, which really pulled me out of the story. I have no idea if I'm supposed to be rooting for her or not at this point. I'm not saying she goes evil or anything, I'm just saying she became a very vague, blah character... while her sister and Daniel became much more interesting.

I think this book has a really interesting plot going... I like many, many aspects of it, like the fact that Gemma wasn't really given a choice, and the whole mythology background... I find it all enjoyable, and I'll read the second book to see what happens next.

Believability of World:
This is set in our world, so there is no amazing new world building going on, but it is believable enough.

Overall Grade: C+ While there are a lot of things about this book that interest me enough to read the next one... there were too many things in the story that ripped me out of it to give it a really high score. The weird trailing off when it comes to Gemma's POV... and the whole Brian/Dad issue... those were huge negative marks in my book. Is it a fun read? Yes. Is it phenomenal? No. Do I recommend picking it up for something light and fun? Yes.


  1. I haven't read this one yet. I've been disappointed in most of the mermaid books out there right now.

    1. Truthfully, I've not really read much of mermaid books, for whatever reason, the synopsis never grabs me.

      I wouldn't have picked this book up on my own either... my neighbor is an Amanda Hocking fan, and he passed this one on to me after passing along the Trylle series... and I always feel obliged to read -_-

      Really though, for a brand new author, I think Hocking has real potential to hone her skills and become great. There are a few things she does when it comes to YA relationships that I really appreciate, and her writing style is very easy to read when she doesn't do stupid things like the whole Brian/Dad issue I mention above in this review.

      She's not to a really solid, strong writing style yet... but I believe she can get there.

  2. Liked your review, but Idk how you can bear describing all characters lol. I put this book in my to-read list a long time ago and I did liked the cover o.O it looks nice and beautiful, but I think the authors of mermaid books haven't devoloped much so far...there aren't many famous mermaid books around '-'... the reviews are mostly with 3/2,5 stars, but I hope I like that one =D

    1. Haha, I think you misunderstand... I love EVERYTHING about the cover, except the girl's expression... it's bitchy and annoying and just rubs me the wrong way!! I think the water and the landscape at the top are just beautiful.

      I thought this book was an enjoyable read. It dragged a little bit for me in the middle, but mostly was well paced and interesting. It wasn't shocking or full of surprises, but it didn't really need to be.

      I actually didn't describe all the characters, lol, there are a few side characters I left out of it... like Harper's friend and Alex's friend, to name a few... but I try to describe the main ones, more for my sake than anyone else's... because I always find myself thinking about books I've read and just wishing I could remember everyone's name, and who they were (I'm awful with names)... and this blog is really more for me to keep track of what I've read, and what I think about it, for when I want to recommend things to friends, LOL... so I write down what is important to me! :)

  3. Great review! I picked up this book a couple of weeks ago but haven't gotten to it yet because I've been debating about whether to review it or read it.
    I think I'll just read it now!

    1. Ok, now I'm really curious... what is the difference between reviewing and reading?

    2. Yeah, it's an ok read, and quick. A nice Fall pick, since there is a bit of the macabre in it, giving it a perfect "transition from summer break to Halloween" kinda feel.

  4. Nice review! I have been curious about this one. I have so many of Amanda's books to read still, and this one did seem interesting. I liked the underwaterness of the cover, but yeah, your points about the girl are right.

    Not sure if I will read this one though. Reviews have been mixed. If I ever get to the point where I have time, I might though! Again great review!

    1. The only reason I've read this book is because my neighbor gave it to me, and I feel obliged to read all the stuff he gives me to borrow, LOL.

      Honestly, I don't think there will be a gaping hole in your life if you miss out on this one. There are a lot of problems with this book, but as a quick, easy read, it wasn't the worst I've read.

  5. That is a really detailed and good review..I totally can see why it didn't work for you!

    1. Thanks! I always try to write a review with enough detail so *I* can remember the book years later, LOL!

  6. Mermaid books have never really been an interest of mine. I recently picked up the first book in her Trylle series though. If that goes well, I'll likely give Wake a try.

    Thanks for checking out my blog. I'm now following back :)

    1. It might not. For me, it's really easy to tell that Amanda Hocking was self publishing first. I think she's got some really great story-base ideas... but then she has this real problem with important characters being too vague. In the Trylle series, I had a very strong feeling of "WTF is EVEN GOING ON?!" when it came to the other tribe of Troll (the Vittra? I'm forgetting their name). I think maybe she needs to work more on her world building skills.

  7. LOL, that Brian/Dad thing is weird, huh? It sounds like an intersting book though.

    1. It's REALLY weird... because you find yourself going, "Wait... who the hell is Brian?! ... oh yeah, their Dad..." I've never seen an author do that before. Now, if some of the perspective of the story had been from their dad/Brian's point of view, I could see calling him Brian... but it wasn't, it was all from the pov of the two sisters... it was not well done.