Thursday, July 2, 2009

REVIEW: Wake, by Lisa McMann

OK, so I was meant to be reading The Blue Sword, but after such a big weekend Robin McKinley's style was just too much for me--there's barely any dialogue and all the places names were getting jumbled in my brain. So I switched to Wake, something a little easier to get my head around. It has just three main characters and is set in this world. In fact it was just so easy to read I ate it up in just one afternoon. I also needed a break from all this end-of-the-world stuff. Don't get me wrong, I love it, but between my reading material and the new, death-filled writing project I'm working on, things were getting a little bleak!

I'm going to do what a good reviewer should never do (but is done a lot on blogs) and grab the blurb off Amazon. I know, slack huh? I feel it's important for a reviewer to summarise a book in their review, because often the publisher's blurb doesn't accurately reflect what's actually in the book. But this time it does, and I'm feeling slightly numb in the membrane, so here goes:

For seventeen-year-old Janie, getting sucked into other people's dreams is getting old. Especially the falling dreams, the naked-but-nobody-notices dreams, and the sex-crazed dreams. Janie's seen enough fantasy booty to last her a lifetime. She can't tell anybody about what she does -- they'd never believe her, or worse, they'd think she's a freak. So Janie lives on the fringe, cursed with an ability she doesn't want and can't control. Then she falls into a gruesome nightmare, one that chills her to the bone. For the first time, Janie is more than a witness to someone else's twisted psyche. She is a participant..

This is another one of those books that have a deceptively naive style but go on to have some major impact, like The Forest of Hands and Teeth. It has a highly original premise. Written in bite-sized chunks, this is an easy book to get sucked into and devour. I was worried that there would be too much focus on nightmares and this would turn into a horror novel, but the scary bits are scattered thinly for maximum impact. Janie provides amusing commentary on some of the more prosaic dreams, and the ones of a more "personal" variety. The romance and the obstacles to the relationship have a real sense of tension and reality. You know how sometimes an author keeps her characters fighting just to drag out the inevitable? And the reason for the fighting is so flimsy and if one character would just shut up and listen for two-and-a-half seconds everything will be okay? Well, it's not like this in Wake. McMann's created a juicy side-plot to go alongside Janie's story, and that's when things start to get nicely complicated.

I'm going to get Fade, the sequel. I wonder if McMann's written any more? I'm having a bit of a dalliance with some Loretta Chase right now, and then I think I'll get stuck into Day of the Triffids. It's too soon for Brave New World as I'm not discussing it with my book club until July 19 and I want to be fresh for it.

Still no more news about agents beyond one manuscript request. *sigh* I'm gonna hit some more this weekend I think.

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