Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Wake by Amanda Hocking

What I expected to be a fun summer read, ended up falling flat with its bland writing and cliche’ characters. It was a mermaid story without the lure and believability, turning it more into a boring teen drama. There were only a few small points which helped the story out, but they couldn’t make up for the overall failure that this book was.

Randomly switching between sisters Gemma and Harper, we follow the pair as they deal with their stereotypical problems, focussing on Gemma’s encounter with ‘those pretty girls’, who clearly are bad news, as told by everybody.

The writing was disconnected and blunt, the author overusing the characters’ names. Because of this, it was impossible to forget their names, as most of the sentences started with either ‘Harper’ or ‘Gemma’. Everything, it seemed, was told, not shown. Even things that could have been explained without being so blunt had unnecessary sentences in front of them that stated the obvious. It was like hearing a story written by a child, with their tendency to repeat the same sentence structure over and over. It felt like I was simply listening to a story, which made it impossible to connect with the plot or the characters.

The characters had minimal depth to their personalities. Even as we start to learn more about them, it still seems like they all only hit one note. Appearance takes up too much of the story. Right from the beginning, Gemma is stated as being the prettier sister, which we are told several times. Harper is the overprotective, nosey older sister, which was annoying and over the top. Alex is a self-proclaimed geek, which is totally fine, except that we are reminded of this countless times. Marcy is, quite honestly, a shallow, poser bitch. She’s not only sexist, but cruel to the girls, commenting on how they look bulimic. Luckily, she doesn’t grace us with her presence that often (‘cause she’s too good for that). Gemma and Harper’s dad, Brian, is terrible. He seems to play at being a father, making rules only when he feels like it, telling Harper to let her sister experience things on her own, but then getting upset at her when she actually does.

Daniel, to me, seemed like the only real character. He immediately comes off as a standoffish player, but he quickly proves to be more. Not only a good-hearted guy, but a mature, wise person. He held the story together, in my opinion. There even was a subtle bit of mystery about him, which is possibly addressed in the later books.

The two romances in this story were one of the things that it actually had going for it. Though Alex and Gemma’s was kind of sudden, it was still pretty cute and enjoyable to read about. Harper and Daniel’s relationship seemed a lot more real. Despite being one of those stereotypical ones in which the girl first hates the guy, ends up resisting him, but then falls for him, it managed to sound plausible and honest.

The girls’ mom was an unexpected twist, one of the few good things about this story. Their visit of her toward the beginning is brought together with Gemma’s visit near the end, a really important addition to this story. The only fault in this is that their mom is rarely mentioned other than those two times.

The three creepy, siren girls act as predicted. They are mean, and not at all alluring, as they are described. They force Gemma to make a decision that is not very fair, which leads to a predictable ending. They were what the story was based on, yet they held no intrigue.

The ending moved quickly, making the scene in which Harper and Brian visit Bernie’s Island rather delayed. This ended up making the ending easily predictable, which took away from a satisfying close. Naturally, the ending was also left unresolved, as it leads into the second book of the series. Daniel is the sole thing making me want to find out what happens, but unfortunately I will not be picking up the next book. I was quite disappointed by this one.

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