Thursday, May 19, 2011

Those That Wake by Jesse Karp

New York City’s spirit has been crushed. People walk the streets with their heads down, withdrawing from one another and into the cold comfort of technology. Teenagers Mal and Laura have grown up in this reality. They’ve never met. Seemingly, they never will.
But on the same day Mal learns his brother has disappeared, Laura discovers her parents have forgotten her. Both begin a search for their families that leads them to the same truth: someone or something has wiped the teens from the memories of every person they have ever known. Thrown together, Mal and Laura must find common ground as they attempt to reclaim their pasts.

I had a really hard time writing this review. This book was a little strange for me, so it’s probably just not my cup of tea. It was a little too Matrix-y, even though it wasn't The Matrix at all. I loved some of the ideas and concepts, but much of it felt heavy-handed.

The beginning is really slow. It takes two thirds of the book to find out even an inkling of what's going on. And when we finally learn it, I only halfway believed it. I believed in the underlying concept, but not the execution. It's interesting to ponder as a possibility, but trying to make it reality was too far-fetched for me.

There is a lot of stuff going on here. A zillion things were introduced, but not really explored. I was hoping for more depth and less breadth. The POV was also clunky. It dives in and out of characters heads quickly, and the characters’ voices weren’t distinctive enough, so I didn’t always know who was speaking. It often took some re-reading and thinking to figure it out.

The end is either set up for a possible sequel, or to show that the enemy will never go away entirely. I'm thinking it's the latter, which is interesting in and of itself, but I wish the concept had been executed more effectively.


Catherine Stine said...

Multiple POVs can be very tricky. This sounds like a great idea, and as much as love futuristic books with scifi tinges, its disheartening to read that someone didn't quite pull off their intended vision, because I want so much for the genre to soar! That said, I credit Tabitha for her honest review.

Tabitha said...

Thanks, Catherine. :) I try hard to be diplomatic, even when a book doesn't work for me.

I was disheartened, too. I really wanted this book to work, but it didn't quite reach the finish line for me. Huge bummer.

Kelly Hashway said...

This doesn't sound like the kind of book I usually pick up. But that's just my personal taste. I've said this before but I have to say again that I love your honesty. You are never disrespectful to an author, but you aren't afraid to say what doesn't work for you. I really respect that.

Tabitha said...

Thank you!! This whole business is subjective, and it's impossible to please everyone all of the time. So an author should never get a thrashing over personal preference.

Author Dawn Brazil said...

Thanks for the review Tabitha and your honesty. Like Catherine said, multiple POVs can be tricky. I love futuristic, sci-fi, action books so I'm appreciative when someone reviews these types.

I've given you the Stylish Blogger Award at my site @

Tabitha said...

I think muliple POV are always tricky, and often underestimated. :)

Thank you for the award!!! That one is so beautiful. :)

Beverly Stowe McClure said...

A very honest review. Sometimes a book just doesn't work for us, but will for someone else.


Unknown said...

As an author, I LOVE honest critiques/reviews. When I first started writing, it was hard to find those who would be honest with me about my writing (of course it was just family and friends at first so that's probably normal).

I didn't start getting better until I found those who would tell me the truth. If there was a problem, I fixed it. Of course, sometimes I think family friends don't know the mechanics of writing so they simply say, "I liked your book. Good job." because they don't know what else to say.

I'm rambling. It's getting late. :)
Thanks for the post! It got me thinking. A dangerous past time, I know.

Tabitha said...

I love honest critiques, too! It's the only way to become a better writer. And I wholeheartedly agree about family and friends. It's nice to hear, but the best kind of feedback comes from fellow writers. :)