Thursday, 15 November 2012

Wake by Amanda Hocking

The Watersong Tetralogy Reviews
Published: August 7th 2012
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Series: #1 Watersong (sequel, Lullaby coming November 27th 2012)
Website: Official Blog 

 Tourists flock to the ocean side town of Capri. This year, three drop-dead girls arrive. There used to be a fourth girl in their click. Now, they have their sights set on swim-star Gemma Fisher. There is something creepy about Penn, Lexi, and Thea, but when Gemma parties with them one night and wakes up on the rocks battered and ill, she knows that there is definitely something seriously wrong with them. And from that point on, she herself begins to change. She is an even better swimmer. She’s faster, stronger. And the water is calling out to her, to leave behind everything she’s ever known to become part of it...for a price.
The next book in the Watersong series is Lullaby, which will be released month. The book is on its way to me and I’ll be reviewing that shortly. I figured it would make sense to review the first one instead of diving into the second book.

            Mermaids are coming up big in YA lit right now. It’s an interest for me, so I’m not complaining. At least these lame vampires stories will finally go away. However, this story is simply not about just mermaids. Of course not. They’re sirens. The author uses Greek mythology as the explanation. They are not The Little Mermaid kind of mermaids. They’re the kind that lure males. The ones you’d actually find in mythology. So if you’re looking for a magical journey of seashell bras and talking fish, you’ll not find that here.

            Gemma gets a new summer romance that should make the teen readers go “aaawwwww!” and her older sister, Harper, gets a love life. So, romance. There’s one genre. There’s the paranormal element. All good. But then this book also has some darker moments. Passages describing rotting corpses. In detail. It’s romance and happy butterflies and rainbows, but then...some horror. Aside from the beginning where there are two girls with blood stains talking ominously, it had been a pretty standard, slice-of-life affair. In fact, it was a bit boring at times. The whole, there’s something paranormal about those three ridiculously pretty girls is laid on pretty thickly. It’s too obvious. It’s not scary at all. So I hesitate to let it fall in the horror genre, but the moments of bloated corpses lying around are jarring. Like the author couldn’t quite decide who she was trying to market the book to.

            I hate the name Gemma. It sounds like it’s short for something, but it isn’t. I know everyone is supposed to have interesting names. Gemma sounds like you’re talking with your mouth full. Harper points out that people can’t pick their birth names, and it’s not nice to make fun of people’s names. Which is true. So I’m just saying that out of all the “unusual” names out there, why Gemma? Harper is a cool name. Penn is great (reminds me of Jake’s original name from Adventure Time with Finn and Jake). Thea is a different name. Lexi is normal. Too normal. Alexia or the variants of it can be turned to Lexi. Not special at all. By the way, if your name is Gemma, sorry. I really am.
            The beginning is S L O W . Yet Gemma’s relationship with Alex feels rushed with me.
            Gemma isn’t the most convincing character. She’s flat. She starts finding scales that are obviously coming off herself and she doesn’t freak out. Unbelievable. She’s also majorly level headed about everything. Yet she decides to get life-altering advice from her mentally ill mother. Right.

The Good
            While Gemma was boring, Harper is a much more detailed character. Their father works long hours to support the family, her mother is mentally unstable, and Harper has to step into the mother role. Some might find her overbearing. And yes, in reality she would be. I found her to be realistic. She’s trying to keep everyone safe and everything in order so much she has not really been living life. I found her eventual love interest to be more believable than her sister’s. I have to wonder how the sister got more detail than the protagonist, though.
            Also, the hardcover’s dust jacket has a cool image of a girl underwater reaching for a boy. I lent this book to a teen and she pointed it out to me. I would have never noticed! The cover is beautiful too. 

           Great for teens who are into paranormal romances. I’d recommend it to girls who have exhausted the vampire genre and are seeking to move on. My sister, who is nearly 13, loved it. I don’t recommend this for boys. There will be boys who will love it, of course. But for the average male teen, I don’t see the appeal for them. It’s very girl central. However, Daniel is my favourite character. Alex is actually an awesome, geeky guy. The father is typical. But the story is centered on Gemma and the three girls, with Harper on the side. Writing-wise, this book isn’t the greatest penned work of all time. But it delivers a story and it gives you some entertainment. The beginning is slow, but if you can get over that hurdle there are bits of gold in here.