Thursday, October 17, 2013

Review: The Waking Dark


The Waking DarkAuthor: Robin Wasserman
Released: September 5th 2013
Publisher: Atom
Paperback, 447 pages
Source: Publisher for review
Buy: The Book Depository

They called it the killing day. Twelve people dead, all in the space of a few hours. Five murderers: neighbors, relatives, friends. All of them so normal. All of them seemingly harmless. All of them now dead by their own hand . . . except one. And that one has no answers to offer the shattered town. She doesn't even know why she killed—or whether she'll do it again.
Something is waking in the sleepy town of Oleander's, Kansas—something dark and hungry that lives in the flat earth and the open sky, in the vengeful hearts of upstanding citizens. As the town begins its descent into blood and madness, five survivors of the killing day are the only ones who can stop Oleander from destroying itself. Jule, the outsider at war with the world; West, the golden boy at war with himself; Daniel, desperate for a different life; Cass, who's not sure she deserves a life at all; and Ellie, who believes in sacrifice, fate, and in evil. Ellie, who always goes too far. They have nothing in common. They have nothing left to lose. And they have no way out. Which means they have no choice but to stand and fight, to face the darkness in their town—and in themselves.
Robin Wasserman sure knows how to scare a person half to death. As I read The Waking Dark, the evil that jumped at me from every page constantly threatened to overwhelm. This isn’t a book you can finish in a day, it is simply too intense, demanding and sickening at times. Even readers who are fairly desensitized like I am might find themselves troubled by the events described.

It’s obvious that Robin Wasserman owes a literary debt to Stephen King – she even thanks him in the acknowledgements. That slowly rising feeling of dread King is famous for permeates every page of The Waking Dark, making it a far better novel than Wasserman’s previous work, The Book of Blood and Shadows. Although perhaps just a tad too long, The Waking Dark is extremely well structured and excellently paced, with a story that refuses to be left behind and forgotten.

For the people of Oleander, pure evil – or devil, if you will – is not a matter of belief at all. It’s simply a matter of seeing it in someone’s eyes… or even in the mirror. Good people commit unspeakable atrocities at every turn – the very worst part of everyone’s nature has suddenly come out to play. Clearly Wasserman doesn’t pull back punches just because she writes for teens. Her characters may be no more than seventeen years old, but they both suffer and commit horrible acts of violence. And yet, that’s not all that defines them; we see the best and the worst in most of them.

I’m not usually a fan of multiple perspectives, but in this case, the more characters I got attached to, the more people I had to fear for. Although I didn’t spend much time with them individually, each of the character was extremely well-rounded, with his or her own set of difficulties and issues. Caring for their individual fates, as well as the well-being of the entire town, happened to be much easier than I’d originally assumed.

The Waking Dark is an unexpectedly twisted read that reminds of Stephen King’s best works. I strongly recommend it, especially as a Halloween read. Just make sure to read it somewhere safe and warm, with all the lights on.

A copy of this book was kindly provided by the publisher for review purposes. No consderations, monetary or otherwise, have influenced the opinions expressed in this review.

28 comments:

  1. I'm not sure how I'll deal with such a spine-tingling story, but I'm certainly curious to give it a try, mostly because this author has been on my list for awhile now. Wonderful review, Maja - I'm glad you enjoyed this one!

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  2. I just freaked myself out reading your review. I'm not sure how well I'll handle the actual book!! Stephen King is one author that I've avoided, because he scares me so much. That said, I'm fascinated by the idea of the darkest parts of people coming out in this town, and I'm glad you were able to care for these characters even though there were many of them.

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  3. This sounds really good but at the same time to scary for me. I mean I can handle a bit of horror but I get scared easily. I admire you for reading this one and I have got goosebumps just from reading your review. Great review Maja :)

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  4. I've heard so much about this book, Maja and I have to say, you definitely got me even more interested.
    I like the sound of a scary book that's hard to read in a single sitting because of how scary it is! I definitely have to check if my library has a copy. I'm a bit worried about how I would feel regarding the multiple POVs though. Those usually don't work for me.
    Lovely review, Maja!

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  5. I don't read to many books like this, but I really want to give this a try because it sounds awesome. I must give the author a go :) I have mixed feelings about multiple povs, but I'm glad they worked out for you in this book. Great review! I will definitely be adding this to my tbr.

    Janina @ Synchronized Reading

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  6. I'm so glad you liked this one, Maja! I'm always skeptical about horror books as if I prefer the sneak-up-behind-you kind of read instead of the gallons of fake blood and screams nowadays. Good thing I waited to read this book until this month being Halloween and all. Now I'm thinking I'll tackle it this weekend. At least I can leave the light on and get some sleep during the day. LOL

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  7. Ooo gosh, even though I am nervous about having to sleep with the lights on all night afterwards, I really really want to read this one now!!

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  8. The unexpected twistedness sounds great to me

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  9. Wow Maja you had me at when you mentioned this book being more of a better read than The Book of Blood and Shadow and I know how much both of us enjoyed that book. I normally don't do scary books which creep me out, but I'd decided early on that anything by Wasserman I would pick up! Another great review Maja! :)

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  10. I really enjoyed the writing style but it was too gruesome for me to read. I had to give up pretty early on :-( I'm glad you enjoyed it!

    My Friends Are Fiction

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  11. This sounds great, Maja. While I tend to stay away from horrors along the Stephen King blue print, I will not be so quick to dismiss this one. It sounds like the intensity didn't let up throughout the book and that's one requirement I look for with novels such as this one. Great review, as always!

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  12. Oh I'm so glad you enjoyed this one. I totally agree with you about it being a tad too long though. Seemed it got a little too off target and ran off course somewhere in the middle there. I haven't read The Book of Blood and Shadows yet, but after reading this one it makes me want to, even if it's not as good a read. Great review!
    Bonnie @ For the Love of Words

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  13. I love scary books (even when I hate scary movies) There is just something thrilling about that feeling of suspense that keeps building up with every page you read :D I'm happy that the multiple POV works!

    Mel@thedailyprophecy.

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  14. Wonderful review! I've been wanting to read more scary/perfect Halloween books. I think this is definitely one I need to get my hands on.

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  15. It does sound pretty good and the name...hm have seen a book somewhere by her

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  16. I've heard that about Wasserman and I think I'm too much of a chicken to read her! But it sounds so good -- and I know a couple of students who would go ga-ga over this dark book.

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  17. This sounds like I would be holding my breath on the edge of my seat. So if I read this, fall on the floor passed out from lack of oxygen, I'm blaming you! ;) This really does sound like something I might enjoy. I'm just a bit of a wimp, so I'm not sure. LOL

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  18. I am reader who is totally desessitized having cut myy teeth on King, but something about the violence totally turns me off. I don't think I can do this one. Sorry about the typos again. I am having probl

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  19. This one creeped me out and gave me nightmares! It really is exactly like the experience of reading Stephen King, you're right. From the escalating tension and overall dread to the multiple POV and small town lunacy, I felt like I was a kid poking through my parents' bookshelf when I was a kid, then regretting it all night long when I couldn't get past my terror and fall asleep. :-) Great review!

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  20. Well, I haven't read any Stephen King and I'm still debating if I won't be too much of a wuss to read this one! I'll probably give it a try one afternoon snuggling with the bf and the doggies and see if I can sleep that night, lol!
    Great review, Maja!

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  21. An amazing Halloween story. I've not ever read Steven Kings work, but I know everyone says it's amazing. Thank you for sharing a new book.

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  22. I already know this one is WAY too scary for me! When I met Robin a few weeks ago I confessed that I thought it might be and she said that I was most likely right, that it is VERY scary. She had such a great panel though and was so fun that I'm definitely going to read more of her books, just not this one. ;)

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  23. *Sighs* my previous comment didn't go through, so here it is again: I'm delighted to hear that you loved this book so much, and that it was really scary - I love scary and creepy and dark and *hyperventilates* OK, I'm going to go ahead and just order myself a copy! Thanks for letting me know about this title!! :D

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  24. Wonderful review, I really enjoyed this, but hey I am a King fan and totally agree that the multiple povs totally worked in this book.

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  25. I'm not usually a fan of multiple perspectives either, but it sounds like it was put to good use here. I actually really enjoyed The Book of Blood and Shadows, but I get the impression that I might like this even more. It sounds like the perfect book to pick up just in time for Halloween! Lovely review, Maja. :)

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  26. I've been hearing mixed reviews on this one but I really want it to be good so I'm glad to hear you liked it. I love hearing that it seems like Stephen King's top work. Gotta love the King if you're a horror fan. Great review, Maja!

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  27. Good review. Have not read a book like this in a while, does sound very twisted. It looks good for the Halloween time though!

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