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Review: Wake

Wake by Amanda Hocking will be released in the U.S. on August 7, 2012 in hardcover, audio and eBook formats. It is currently available to pre-order online in all formats at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Published by St. Martin’s Griffin, the print edition is 320 pages.

Wake is the first book in author Amanda Hocking’s Watersong series. Lullaby, the second book in the series, is slated for release on November 27, 2012. Books three and four are entitled Tidal and Elegy.

Goodreads description:

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.

***

Something evil has come to the town of Capri.

First there were the missing boys. And now something has happened to Gemma Fisher.

Something that changed her. Something that made her more powerful, more alluring… hungry.

She knew she shouldn’t have trusted those girls. But it was almost as if she couldn’t resist. There was just something about them.

And now she has a choice to make. A choice that really isn’t a choice. Because no matter what she chooses to do, there will be a price. It’s only a matter of who will have to pay it.

***

Wake is an imaginative, captivating and delightful first book in author Amanda Hocking’s Watersong series. With a few unexpected twists, dark secrets and grisly discoveries, and an opening that hints at all that is to come, this story will immediately engage and entertain.

Combining fantasy and myth, Wake introduces readers to Gemma Fisher, a girl who is confident, beautiful and determined. A girl who loves being in the water more than anything. A girl who is driven and focused on making her dream of swimming at the Olympics a reality. A girl who isn’t about to let anything stand in her way of her dreams. Until, that one night that changes everything.

Wake sets the stage for this series, gives readers a bit of a mystery to solve, puts a character in an incredibly difficult predicament and leaves things wide open for the next book. And it gives them just a taste of some of the darker elements that are sure to come.

This story is told from Gemma and her sister Harper’s perspectives. Both are strong female main characters with very different personalities who lead very different lives. So, having this dual perspective gives readers a rather interesting look at the events as they unfold. But it does at times become a bit confusing when the perspective switches back and forth too rapidly.

In Wake readers will learn what happens to Gemma after her encounter with the three terrifying but stunningly beautiful girls that have come to the town of Capri. They’ll find out just what sacrifice’s she’ll have to make. And they’ll learn whether love will be strong enough to overcome the lure of something darker, more powerful and far more deadly.

Amanda Hocking has once again written a story that is awash with her creativity and inventiveness. She has taken a tale that has been told and brought her unique style to it. She has created characters that are easy to relate to. And she’s mixed in both a sweet simplicity and a dark complexity that makes this story interesting and will make readers eager for the next installment.

And with its quick pace, easy flow and not one but two budding romances, Wake will appeal to readers who are fans of mermaid stories with a bit of a darker feel, fans of the author and readers just looking for a fast, fun and engaging story.

Reviewer gives this book…

Loved it!

On a personal note:

I am a huge fan of this author and will read every single thing she writes because I love her imagination and the way she tells a story. And I love the way she develops her series. The endings aren’t predictable and they don’t conform to a typical happily ever after. But they are always perfectly in line with the choices her main character would make.

So, I’m really curious to see what will happen in her Watersong series.

Wake was a bit of a surprise to me, in a good way. There were a few things that I did not anticipate – most of which I won’t reveal because they’re spoiler-y.

But I did not expect this story to have a dark side to it. I’m not sure why I thought the story would be simply a light and fun adventure. Perhaps it was the description or the cover that led me astray, but I did get some inkling that things would be a bit darker when I saw the book trailer. And it was made very clear to me in the first few pages of the book.

Which, of course, instantly pulled me in. Because I love dark undertones. They add so much interest.

I also did not expect this story to be told from anyone but Gemma’s point of view. But it was told from her sister Harper’s perspective, too. Which I also loved. Because Harper was my favorite character in the story. Or maybe it was Daniel…. He was just so appealing and intriguing. But I can’t really talk about why without saying too much.

And I was also a little bit surprised about who certain characters were in this story. Once again it was clear once I started reading, but I had no idea who – and what – they were before I started reading. I definitely had different ideas going in. It was this surprise that I loved the most.

Wake was a super quick and entertaining read. I devoured it in a handful of hours. And the ending definitely left me excited for what’s going to happen next. The pace got to be lightning fast right there at the end. And when it was over, I couldn’t believe there was no more story to read.

Much of this book was setting the stage for the series – meeting the characters, getting to know their history, uncovering certain characters’ secrets and developing the world. But it moved the plot forward, answered many of the questions that were raised in the story and left the door wide open for many possibilities for the characters’ futures.

None of which I am even prepared to guess at.

There were some moments between the characters that felt a bit rushed, where they accepted things just a bit too easily and where the dialogue felt a bit old for them. But even though I was pulled briefly out of the story, I was easily able to get caught back up into it.

I loved reading another story of Amanda Hocking’s where the characters weren’t as I imagined them to be. Where the world wasn’t quite as simple as I thought it was on first glance. And where I have not the first idea about what to expect in the next installment.

I loved getting to know Harper the most. I thought she was the most relatable of the characters and the strongest. I want to get to know Daniel more, as there are just some questions I have about him. Things the author hinted at early on. And I’m very curious to see just what happens with Gemma and Alex.

Of course the most interesting characters were Penn, Thea and Lexi, but I don’t want to say too much about them as they are the big mystery in this story. However, I will just say that their history is absolutely fascinating.

There was a bit of a love story, possibly two, though both were quite innocent. So, I’m definitely waiting to see if those continue to develop in later books. I know I’d like them to.

Wake may have been a surprise, but it was most definitely a good surprise. It was all sorts of adorable, with just a touch of gruesome and it built itself up to one incredibly exciting end.

I can’t wait to read Lullaby and see where this series leads.


Book Trailer

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This review is based on an eARC I received from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.
UPDATE: I am thrilled to be able to share a short clip from Chapter One of the audiobook edition of Amanda Hocking’s WAKE courtesy of Macmillan Audio.

Click to Listen to WAKE

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