Monday, August 6, 2012

Review: Wake (Watersong, #1)

Wake (Watersong, #1)Author: Amanda Hocking
Publication date: August 7th 2012
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
My rating: 3 stars and an extra star for the terrifying mermaids... errr, sirens.

Some of you may have noticed that I’m not around much lately. That’s because it’s summer, I live by the sea, and I can’t resist spending every available moment at the beach, which made end of this July the best and the worst time for me to read Wake by Amanda Hocking. On the one hand, it’s a perfect summer read, but on the other, I keep expecting an evil siren to show up and eat me while I'm swimming and generally minding my own business. Who’s afraid of sharks? Not me, no siree, I’m terrified of sirens!

Harper is not much older than her sister Gemma, but their responsibilities are vastly different. Their mother became institutionalized after suffering severe brain damage, and Harper started taking care of their father and the house, but most of all, she assumed the role of a parent for Gemma. She is serious and organized, and she has her life planned to the smallest detail. Gemma isn’t quite as put together as her older sister, but she’s hardly problematic either. She is good at school, very beautiful and completely dedicated to her swimming career. She is so good, in fact, that her coach wants to take her to the Olympics. When three strange girls show up in their tiny town, Gemma is the only one who sees that there’s something wrong with them, but she can’t really avoid them when they’re around water and her favorite cove all the time.

If there’s one thing I loved about Wake, it’s the villains. I fear Hocking’s sirens for the same reason I fear the fae – they’re gorgeous and alluring, but deceitful and rotten beneath the surface. The sirens may be stunning on the outside, but if you look closely, their teeth seem to elongate and sharpen and there is a coldness in their eyes that stands in stark contrast to their wonderful, inviting exterior. Penn, Lexi and Thea showed up in town one day and everyone just assumed they’re early tourists. No one questioned their presence,  not even when three young boys went missing one after the other, all because they’re young, frail-looking and heartstoppingly gorgeous. Gemma, however, was very uncomfortable around them, at least until they turned her into one of their own.

What would a summer read be without romance? No worries, there is a double dose of swoon-worthy boys in this one! Personally, I preferred Daniel – he is somewhat older and definitely more charming, but I think younger girls might find a perfect book crush in Alex. Just like the sisters are as different as they can be, these two boys are nothing alike, which means there’s something there for everyone!

Third person omniscient narrator is a rare and strange choice for young adult literature, but it’s also a welcome change. Younger readers might find themselves uncomfortable with it as it creates a certain barrier between the reader and the main character(s). Having insight into thoughts of all characters can be quite useful, but it also weakens the connection with the protagonist. I do think it worked great here and it’s one of my favorite things about this book.

All in all, Wake by Amanda Hocking is a surprisingly dark tale and I’m so glad I decided to read it.


  1. Sirens are probably more scary than sharks, lol.

    My friend moved to Hawaii, and sometimes I visit him. There, you can actually see sharks in the water, but they don't hurt you. I don't know what kind of reverse psychology he's trying to play, but I wasn't scared.

    So I guess fae and sirens are really similar. Just like a bear is a land shark.

  2. Ha! Watch out for those sirens! I loved that I was guessing as to what they were for a good portion of the book. I also liked Daniel but I wanted more development with the romance. It was a good read but the abrupt cliffhanger ending sucked! I will either start Prophet tonight or tomorrow! Ready for ghosts?

  3. Wow, it's a dark tale? I'd never know from that cover, but you've definitely piqued my interest for this one! I'm definitely planning to check it out now, Maja! Brilliant review! :D

    Ivy Book Bindings

  4. :) I would be scared of Sirens too after reading a book about them. I haven't read this book but it sounds like a fun beach read! I love the way you began this review with mentioning how you relate to the setting of this book. Beautiful and deadly villains, Yay!!!!! Fantastic review!!!!!

  5. Lovely review, Maja! I've read a handful of Hocking's self-published books before and I thought they were all pretty enjoyable, so I look forward to reading this one soon. The narrative sounds quite interesting here. I'm glad to hear it worked well. Watch out for those sirens when you're in the water... ;)

  6. I am so jealous of your summer at the beach, we've had a few warmish days here but not warm enough for beach time, but in a month or so I will be spending days at the beach reading - I can't wait! Also, I read Saltwater Vamps and then was telling my friend about it while we were in the ocean and we had to get out because I freaked us out, ha!

    I haven't read any of Amanda's books but this one sounds really good. I like that the villains are proper villains, and you're right in your comparison of sirens to fae, very similar!

  7. The villans sound great. I haven't read any Hocking yet but I want to.
    Thanks for review,
    Brandi from Blkosiner’s Book Blog

  8. Evil sirens ? I'm definitely in. I've read Hocking's Trylle trilogy but unfortunately I didn't enjoy it, but this one sounds very interesting. Especially the characters.
    I actually can't wait to see the evilness of the mermaids. Sounds pretty freaky. ;)
    Daniel seems like someone I would have a crush on too. ;)
    Lovely review, Maja! :)

    They are so scary ... and deadly. :P

  9. Maja my dear!
    Wonderful review. Im glad you enjoyed it and the third person too. I prefer 1st person when it comes to paranormal and contemporary and 3rd person for fantasy books. Unfortunately, I couldnt even finish this book. I was halfway through it, and almost nothing happened to that point. I think the pace was soooooo slow. Now I fel like I should finish the book. Probably in the second half there is much more than I enconter on the first XDD

    THnx for the great review Maja!


  10. Glad you enjoyed this one. I wasn't sure it would be for me, but you might have convinced me. Third person narrative is always a nice change. Another great review Maja :)

  11. You live by the beach? Then WHAT ARE YOU DOING HERE GIRL?!?!? GO SWIM SOME MORE!!! Lol. I would kill to live by the beach. I pretty much hate the heat unless I'm in the water. And it's been one of the hottest summers here in the Midwest U.S.

  12. Oh good, I'm glad that you ended up surprised by this one and enjoyed it! I have a copy, but haven't picked it up yet--if I don't have the chance this summer, it may wait till next as it really does sound like the perfect summer read. I love the idea of sirens, and for some reason siren books are less repellent to me than mermaid (though let's be honest, I haven't yet read either). I love good villains, so sooner or later I will be reading this!

  13. Aww, it's so cool that you live by the beach, Maja! <3 Although I'm not a beach girl, I always want to try living close to the beach! It must be very awesome, even in winter! x) Anyway, girl, you never fail to surprise me! Who knows that siren can be that nightmarish? :P I always love siren - they're horrifying, yes, but they're gorgeous! They make awesome villain to hate. <3

    Wonderful review, my love! <3

  14. Heh. I'm having a somewhat similar problem here. Not that I'm afraid of sirens (though I do believe we should fear the merfolk since they're not exactly Disney-standard) but the sweltering heat keeps me from being able to work on the computer for long periods.

    That's right, we both overheat!

    Anyway: I'm going to try and check this one out. From the author, I've only read Hollowland and it was an okay read -- nothing outstanding, but quite fun. This time, however, it looks like she managed to capture the essence of the myth creature behind the pretty leyends, so... I guess I'm a goner!

    Thanks for sharing!

  15. Lucky you! Living by and spending time on the beach!! I'm totally jealous! That should make up for me seeing The Airborne Toxic Event without you (next time, love!). This sounds better than I thought (just by looking at the cover). Wonderful review. :)


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