Monday, November 25, 2013


Amanda Hocking, an author that I've heard about for years, is one of the authors that I've somehow missed despite all the talk. While on my mermaid kick (see last week's review) I found that I had, at some point in time, gotten Hocking's book Wake on my Kindle. I often do this, I get books and then they get lost in the hundreds of other books I have laying about waiting to be read. Anyway, I dove (ha!) right into this tale of sirens and quickly read through it with much pleasure.

Wake is a typical YA book where true love exists, there's hardship, and tough decision making with a splash of danger. The writing isn't anything you haven't seen before and I know mermaids have (had?) become popular recently but haven't read any of the other mermaid/siren YA books so I have nothing to compare it to. 

Gemma, our main character and future siren, is the best swimmer in all the land (okay, not really but close), beautiful, and now has a fully realized love interest in her neighbor Alex. What the synopsis doesn't tell you is that her older sister, Harper, is also a main character of the book. With the chapters flip flopping between the point of views of each sister I think this is a detail that the publishers shouldn't have left out. Not that there's anything wrong with it, I personally liked Harper's character more than Gemma, but I feel it should be mentioned because the book otherwise looks too much like another YA love story when it sort of ends up not being the type of love most YA books think of but a love between sisters.

Okay, I'm getting off track. There are three girls in the town who seem to attract all kinds of attention. They seem kind of ruthless and rude, beautiful, but jerks and while Gemma and Harper stay away from them they seem to focus in on Gemma. 

Things happen, bad things, and Gemma finds herself in a world of trouble. Gemma's character, to me, was a little flat. I felt somewhat indifferent to her but whenever I read of a character more or less being doomed to a supernatural life without making The Choice I always manage to feel a little bad, and I did, I felt bad for Gemma. 

The strong suits of the book, I felt, were the subplots. Gemma and Harper's mother was in a car accident and now has a strong enough disability that she's placed in a home while their father refuses to see his wife. It's a moving point and I felt for that. I was more interested in all of that than I was about the sirens!

I'm glad that Hocking went the route she did with the sirens: they are not nice girls and they certainly aren't very pretty in one of their forms. It's great to take a step away from Disney's Little Mermaid concept that mermaids are fun and cute and lovely and moving closer to the mythology that mermaids and sirens are kind of bad asses. 

Will I continue reading the series though? Probably not. No offense, Amanda Hocking; certainly keep doing what you're doing because you're good at it. But the characters didn't grab hold of me enough. They didn't linger in my mind after I finished the book. I need characters to stay with me, I need to wonder what happens next to continue reading, and I didn't get that from Wake.

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