Author: Lisa McMann
Genre: Teen Fiction, Paranormal, Fantasy
Publication Date: March 4, 2008
Publisher: Simon Pulse
ISBN-13 Book: 9781416953579
Publisher CD Book: Brilliance Audio on CD
ISBN CD Book: 9781441819895
Source: I checked out the both the book and the book on CD from my public library. This is my honest review!
Wake by Lisa McMann
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Janie has a problem, actually several. She has an alcoholic mother, not enough money for college, but most importantly she can't stop getting sucked into other people's dreams. Whenever anyone around Janie falls asleep she is immediately transported into their dreams. Janie has managed to keep her ability hidden from everyone around her, but now it seems to be taking over her life. When an especially disturbing nightmare sucks Janie in, she must try to find a way to stop being a participant in everyone else's dreams.This is a hard one for me to review. Friends of mine have recommended this book to me because they loved it. Perhaps I need to give it more of a chance and read the next two volumes, but this wasn't a favorite of mine.
First, I have never been a big fan of third person narration. I like to be in the head of the characters I read about. I like seeing through their eyes. While there are some advantages to telling a story in third person, one of the disadvantages is that it can cause of bit of a disconnect with the characters. I really didn't connect with Janie. In a sense I felt like I was an observer in Janie's life--watching her go through the motions. Maybe that was the author goal--the reader like Janie is an observer not a participant in the story. Whatever the reason though I just felt like I couldn't connect as a reader to Janie and at points I just didn't care.
Secondly, I had problems with the style of the novel. It felt a little disjointed to me. This was further emphasized when I was listening to the audiobook version. It didn't flow and was jarring at times. I understand that McMann's writing style is spare, but sometimes it was a little too bare bones for my taste.
Now for what I liked: I really liked the potential of the story. The concept is intriguing, and has many fascinating possibilities. It has me curious, and while the first book isn't my favorite, I find myself wanting to find out more in the sequels Fade and Gone. I think I will definitely be reading on.
The ending was a bit abrupt, but it has intrigued me enough to make me want to keep going with the series.
The audio version of this novel is produced by Brilliance Audio and read by Ellen Grafton. To be frank, audio is not the best version for this novel. It reads easier than it is to listen to. While the novel itself is a bit jarring and abrupt, this is only emphasized with the audio and makes for a bit of a frustrating and sadly flat performance. This is not a commentary on Grafton's skill as a narrator, I think she is talented and would do well in other audiobooks. In fact I would be happy to attempt listening to her other performances. I think the format and disjointedness of this novel prevents it from being a smooth listening experience. In my opinion this book is better off read than listened to.
Overall, while this wasn't one of my favorite books, I think I am willing to give the rest of the series a try. I believe it has potential and perhaps there will be more insights into Janie's character that will help me connect with her better. It is a fast read and definitely a unique concept.
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