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ARC Review: Wake by Amanda Hocking + US Giveaway

Title: Wake
Story Arc: Series, Book 1
Publication: August 7, 2012 by St. Martin's Press
Hardcover: 320 pages
Genre: Urban Fantasy, Paranormal Romance, Mythology
Age Group: Teen, Young Adult
Content: Kissing, Violence, Murder
Source: St. Martin's Press | Quote(s): No

Even over the sea, Thea could smell the blood on her.

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.
I don’t need fishy women to lure me in
Siren songs pale in comparison to that cover! Wake by Amanda Hocking has one of my favorite covers released thus far AND I HAVE NO IDEA WHY. Not totally, anyway. I mean, the girl on the front is kind of swimming into view, her arms open wide in a “Hey, look at me” gesture or a “Don’t I look sexy floating around” pose, which I’m not digging, OBVS. However, when you put the whole thing together—stylish font, the pretty water, the awesome lighthouse illustration in the back, and, YES, even, the girl chillin’ in said pretty water—the cover for Wake by Amanda Hocking makes for a lovely, eye-catching, and alluring presentation that made me instantly lusty toward this little thing of a book.

Lusty feelings aside, I caught the blues
Disappointing keeps bobbing around in my head. While I wasn’t the BIGGEST fan of Hocking’s Switched, I did fall in love with the following two books in the series. Which is why I, perhaps stupidly, developed these absurdly grand expectations of Wake by Amanda Hocking. It seems I doomed myself right from the beginning, guys.

Maybe it’s just THIS THING Amanda Hocking has with her first book in the series—though, I can’t know for sure since I haven’t read EVERY one—but, apparently, her first books do a terrible job of hooking me into the series. The one that kicks the whole series off is supposed to be the one that grabs you by the lady parts, am I right? I’m not just imagining that. And yet, whereas Switched had this indiscernible pull that led me to continue with the series, Wake by Amanda Hocking lacks even THAT much. I feel no consuming desire to rush off to the next book. Not even the tiniest flicker of want. Which is depressing. It’s especially sad for me because I even harassed a friend into lending me her copy before I was sent one of my own, that’s how much I wanted to read it.

Unfortunately, the characters are too dull and almost cookie-cutter (and not in a comfortable, amusing way), the dialogue felt WAY too stilted, and there is about a GAGILLION THINGS WRONG with the fact that I CAN’T get turned onto the romance.

Gemma and the FAIL of a cast
Gemma is your typical impulsive, slightly rebellious, carefree teenager with an athletic background and a crush on the boy next door—the literal one. She’s a bit on the moody side and very much falls into the EXTREMELY FOOLISH end of the heroine spectrum. Here’s why: There are legit DISAPPEARANCES going on in her town, and this silly girl thinks it wise to go off on midnight swims in her special cove because it’s ALWAYS been safe BEFORE. Key word there—before. This same silly girl, as a result, manages to get herself caught up with the mysterious—and CLEARLY MALICIOUS—trio of celebrity magazine-gorgeous girls who waltz into town right around the EXACT time the disappearances start cropping up on the local radar. Hmmm, suspicious or what? Methinks so. After that, I had no trouble placing the blame for every awful thing that happens squarely on Gemma’s shoulders.

Her older sister, Harper, proved to be a bit more promising. Although she’s totally typical in her do-gooder, anal, OCD-ish personality, I just found it easier to like her than Gemma. In fact, there were several moments where I wished it WAS all about Harper instead. Alas, this is not the case. Even so, since Wake by Amanda Hocking is told in third person, we DO get Harper’s perspective on things. She’s judgey and controlling, but also loyal and protective of her baby sister and attentive toward her father. She’s responsible in a sickening way, but that almost makes her likable, and far more relatable than Gemma.

Because I was so displeased with the two heroines Hocking delivers, I got my hopes riled for their leading men. Which turned out to be a mostly wasted effort. Gemma’s crush, Alex, is pretty blandish. He’s hunky and nerdy, and I can dig that normally. The problem is I didn’t get a feel for a personality. Was there even one? He seems so expected, a product of what you would IMAGINE your crush to be instead of what he or she actually is. And that’s, sorry to say, BORING. Daniel, like Harper, is slightly more appealing than his counterpart. He’s charming, sweet, and persistent. He has a sweet interest in Harper who is, OF COURSE, not having it being the control freak, judgey person that she is, and I found the spark a tad more believable and certainly more enjoyable to read as it unfolds than Gemma and Alex's.

About the ONLY cool thing
The mer lore is about the only intriguing aspect of Wake by Amanda Hocking. I don’t want to say exactly what sort of underwater creatures you can expect in the novel, but I will say that it’s quite the spin on the typical! I love that Hocking’s lore is predominantly based on Greek mythology—because, let’s get real, how SUPER COOL are the Greeks and their weird myths—and much of the characters who dwell below the sea relate to a few of the gods.

This only served to tick me off, though, because THIS is where things COULD have picked up, and instead the opposite happened.

To sequel or not to sequel
After Wake by Amanda Hocking, I’ve determined that I’m not curious or anxious enough to venture out and request a copy of the sequel (or harass another friend—maybe the SAME friend—for a chance to read it early). If Lullaby by Amanda Hocking shows up on my doorstep for whatever reason, then I might be willing to give the series another go at making me a fan. Other than that, I DON’T see Lullaby in my near future, as I was nearly bored senseless with the going-ons in Wake by Amanda Hocking, not to mention put off by the inessential characters. Wake by Amanda Hocking is essentially an underwhelming story of nothing that held interest for more than a handful of minutes.

Rating: Eye-Catcher

While the cover of Wake by Amanda Hocking gave me cause to develop hugely expectant preconceptions of the novel, I was brutally disappointed by the unimaginative plot, even LESS inspired characters, and the overall lackluster, insipid storytelling that did nothing to highlight Amanda Hocking’s talents. Many of the lowlights overpowered any potential spotted throughout the story, and so I won’t be twiddling my thumbs in anxiety over the sequel.


Want to win your own copy?
Just because I didn't enjoy Wake by Amanda Hocking doesn't mean that I wish to deny the opportunity for someone else to enjoy it. So, here's your chance!

I'm providing one lucky US winner with the chance to read an ARC of Wake by Amanda Hocking, in the hopes that you'll like it way better. Good luck!

Official Giveaway Info:
  • you do NOT have to be a follower
  • there are extra entries available
  • all entrants must be at least 13 years old or older
  • giveaway deadline is August 1, 2012
  • giveaway is open to US only*
  • read my Contest | Giveaway page, as well as my Privacy Notice

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Got something specific in mind? Dare I believe I might NOT have covered something you wish to know? If so, let me know down in the comments section. Don't be shy!


xolili21ox said...

I would definitely flee in order to protect them. I wouldn't want to risk hurting them.

caroline taylor said...

Can't enter the contest as I am in the UK but I'm sad you didn't enjoy the book as much as you hoped, I am really looking forward to it as it sounds like my cup of tea but I really hope I don't come away disappointed aswell.

Isabelle @ WakeUpat7 said...

I've never particularly been impressed by Hocking, except for the fact that she is one of those self-published people who made it into the prof. publishing business. While the second book may be worth reading (like in her other series), I think I'll pass on this. :)

Angie said...

I would definitely run away without them learning because there is no way I could risk my family dying for a pointless reason.

Sam @ Realm of Fiction said...

Uh oh. Is this another case of pretty-cover-strikes-again? That is one gorgeous cover (one of my favourites too) but it's such a shame the book doesn't deliver. If you aren't even invested enough to want to continue the series, I guess I will hold this off for a bit longer. Thanks for the helpful review!

Tayte Hunter said...

I'd leave them behind. The less they know, the better. And I'm better on my own.

Brandy Dull said...

If you had to choose between fleeing from your family in order to protect them or telling them the situation and hoping they'll help you fight back against the evil threatening to tear your life apart, which would you pick?
I think I would tell them and let them choose if they want to fight, and if they don't I would flee.

Gaby said...

I'd tell my family what was going on because I could so not do it on my own :)

Molli @ Once Upon a Prologue said...

In fact, there were several moments where I wished it WAS all about Harper instead.

Oh Asher. We are book soul mates, I swear. Your thoughts are eerily similar to mine! I would have LOVED this book if it were Harper telling the story; I actually LIKED her, but I thought Gemma was basically spoiled and naive. I was WAY more into Harper/Daniel than anything else going on. Maybe Hocking does struggle with first books, but like you, something about Switched DID compel me to keep going, and I bought Wake and Ascend. This one, eh, I'm glad I read it as an ARC tour read and didn't have to keep it. Thanks for linking to my review!

alicia marie said...

I would tell my family because i would definitely need as much help as i could get!!

Heidi said...

I haven't read any of Amada Hocking's books yet, but I've been at least curious about most of them. I find it interesting that maybe she's just weak in beginning a series? We'll see if you continue on. I picked up a copy of Wake at BEA because I was curious, but I'm uber hesitant of mermaid stories in general. I'm still going to give it a go, but I'm going in with fairly low expectations.

joannie sparks said...

Hi i have read alot of her books except her newer ones. I loved them all. I think i would tell my family and fight together that is a better way to survive. thanks for the giveaway joannie jscddmj[at]aol[dot]com