Review: Wake by Amanda Hocking

Title: Wake
Author: Amanda Hocking
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Pages: 309

Goodreads Summary:

Fall under the spell of Wake—the first book in an achingly beautiful new series by celebrated author Amanda Hocking—and lose yourself to the Watersong.
Gorgeous. 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, Lexi and Thea have caught everyone's attention—but it’s Gemma who’s attracted theirs.  She’s the one they’ve chosen to be part of their group.
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.


Sirens are something I haven't read much of recently -- well, I don't think I've ever read a book about them. I was unabashedly excited to read this after I heard about it, and when I received an ARC in the mail, I was overjoyed. (Thank you, Jessica!) WAKE lived up to the hype, for the most part. It is much stronger than the other three Hocking books I read, the Trylle trilogy.
In the beginning of the book, we are introduced to a situation involving the main character, Gemma, with the following line, from page 3 of the ARC: "The engine made a bizarre chugging sound, like a dying robot llama . . ."O.o Immediately, from the first line of the first chapter, I was interested. Hocking's writing wasn't the best. The woman needs a "show vs. tell" poster on her wall and she needs to learn how to distinguish between the two. But her writing didn't distract from the story, even though it was bland.

Gemma isn't the strongest female protagonist in the books; it took her quite a while to fight for what she believed in instead of being pushed around. The strongest aspect of Hocking's characterization, however, which is still quite great, is the sisterly bond between Gemma and Harper. Hocking knows what character traits clash, and she put them into the sisters. At first, I had a hard time believing they had as much of a connection as Hocking told us they did. However, as the novel progressed, I got a better taste of how they clashed and argued but also loved and cared, which is how the real thing works. Characterization is one of Hocking's strong points. I also enjoyed the little romances on the side, between Gemma and Alex, and Harper and Daniel. Gemma's and Alex's relationship was a bit unbelievable as well in the beginning, because Hocking told us about their backstory, and it was like we'd missed the entire foundation of their relationship. It took some warming up to get used to it, but once I did, I really enjoyed it.

Harper's and Daniel's relationship was more enjoyable for me than Gemma's and Alex's, because we got to watch it grow from the beginning. Early on, Harper, ever-so-practical, wasn't looking for romance and was therefore blinded to all moves made by men. Her relationship with Daniel was one that blossomed from there. At first, I didn't even realize they were going to have a romance. It seemed like Harper wasn't going to be able to break free of her chains and realize that love was possible for her, even with her sister, school, jobs, etc.

Reading the first hundred pages was strange: the thing that I was waiting to happen, the one that was written on the back of the book, didn't happen until nearly the end of this section. I thought it was going to happen right away. I felt like Hocking included too long of an exposition to the novel. The first hundred pages were a bit dragged out, but there was a lot to introduce, so I guess that justifies a little bit of it. The ending was intense. The organization of Wake was also better than Hocking's Trylle trilogy. The tension was barely there in the beginning, but it built and slowly crescendoed up to the finale, which was explosive and interesting. I only wish I had the next book right here next to me so I could read it as well!

I am very excited to read the next book in the Watersong quartet. Wake was a nice, smooth siren story with unique mythology and lovable characters. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

three and a half owls

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