Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Wake By Amanda Hocking

Series: Watersong #1
Release Date: 16th August 2012
Publisher: Tor
Format: Paperback
Pages: 352
Source: Won from publisher.

Synopsis: Beautiful. 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, Thea, and Lexi have caught everyone's attention, including the eye of practical Harper. But it's her sister, Gemma, they've chosen to be part of their group. Sixteen-year-old Gemma seems to have it all - carefree, pretty, and falling in love with the boy next door. But her greatest passion has always been the water. She craves late night swims under the stars, where she can be alone yet belong to the sea. Lately she's had company. Penn, Thea, and Lexi spend their nights dancing, singing, and partying on the cove - and one night Gemma joins them. When she wakes up groggy on the beach the next morning, she knows something has changed.

Suddenly Gemma is stronger, faster, and more beautiful than ever. As she uncovers the truth about her new mythical powers, Gemma is forced to choose between staying with those she loves or entering a dark world brimming with unimaginable secrets.

Review: I won this from Tor recently but wouldn't read it until I'd at least read Switched which I was very disappointed with. Alas don't worry, Wake is so much better. You can really see how much Hocking has grown as a writer since Switched, there are no more mistakes and unlikable characters. Instead we get characters that we like so much, we have our finger's crossed that things will turn out alright for them. I read this book in a day and it's been sometime since I've managed that but I thoroughly enjoyed it. It was a perfect mix of mythology, mystery, family ties and relationships. The themes themselves were done very well, especially the family ties, the emotions were so raw and perfectly reflected. Every family has it's problems and this ones the same. The mythology was excellent, more in depth than I originally thought but it just added to the depth of the story, dragging the reader deeper into the story. I was hooked from the first page, the mystery and intrigue of the story pulled me under, leaving me gasping for breath, until I was finally released to come up for air. Did you see what I did there?

Wake follows the story of Gemma and her sister Harper. Gemma is a keen swimmer and is always sneaking out to go for a swim under the stars. Harper always worries for her sisters safety, even more so now that teenagers have gone missing. She's worried that one day she will wake and Gemma will be gone. Gemma thinks she will be fine and she is, until Penn, Thea and Lexi, the mystery new girls in town, try to get her to join them in the cove. Gemma knows somethings not right with these girls but she's entranced, she follows them against her will. The next morning she awakes on the beach, bruised and weak. She knows something is different but she's not ready to face the truth of what she has become and what the other girls are.

Gemma was a very likeable protagonist. She's motivated, sometimes reckless, pretty and has big dreams for her future. We rooted for her from start till finish, even when she had to make some big life changing decisions, we were there by her side. Some of the things she's put through are heartbreaking and you feel her pain. Harper is the overprotective older sister, at first I found her very annoying but when you find out what happened to their mother and the effects it's had on their father, you realise she's only trying to protect her sister because she loves her and wouldn't cope if she lost her. In her own way Harper was funny, when she was shy or embarrassed. Towards the end she'd really grown on me. The love she has for her sister, shines bright like the sun. Love like that never fades. Alex, the love interest, boy-next-door, geek, he was hot. The chemistry between him and Gemma was fantastically done, it was enough to satisfy the reader's craving for them to get together. Daniel the love interest for Harper was funny, and very laid back. The complete opposite of Harper, he saw through her mask and was there when she needed him. He was a great character, who was very real.

Penn, Thea and Lexi, were constantly there throughout the novel but we didn't get to see much of their personalities. We got their history and that was about it. We only got to know them as a group and we didn't learn about their individual personalities but hopefully that will come in the next book. I would love to learn more about them.

One problem that's now bugging me constantly, I understand the book is set in the summer but there is no mention of Gemma having any friends other than her sister. I understand as well that she is determined to focus on her swimming career, but surely she must talk to someone. Hmm, I just needed to get that out there, It was annoying me just now when I was thinking about the books.

Moving on then. The setting of the book mostly took place at the Bay and in the ocean both of which were vividly described by the author. The other key places were described well and the whole town gave off a cosy, close knit community.

Wake is a quick, enjoyable read that I really liked. It's great to see Hocking growing as a writer and I can't wait to see what she has in store for the next two books of the trilogy. I will definitely be returning to the series as I have questions that need answers! I also want to see how the story develops and what challenges lie ahead in Gemma's future. Oh and that ending, it left me reeling. I wanted to know what happened next straight away. Damn, I can't wait for the next book!

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