Review: Wake by Amanda Hocking

Series: The Watersong Quartet #1

wake -amanda hockingFall 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.

3.5 Drink Me Potions

Wake was a very easy read. I personally haven’t read too many books diving into the story of the sirens. Sure, other parts of Greek mythology have been overdone, but the aspects of sirens in Homer’s Odyssey is intriguing.

The mythology itself
I really enjoyed how Hocking incorporated sirens and their Greek history into this story. From the blurb, it’s quite obvious that the sirens were going to make Gemma as one of their own. However, there was quite an amount of suspense in the anticipation of when it would happen, and why they do what they do. Right smack in the prologue, the air of suspense starts building as bodies are dropping in the small seafront town of Capri.

It was nice to have a clear and straightforward description of the mythology so it wasn’t like I had to piece together what had happened to the sirens in the past that made them who they were. Of course, hearing their story really added to the intrigue of what the gang of main characters were going to do to help Gemma out of this situation.

The characters
It sometimes is annoying when there are more than one protagonist’s POV to switch back and forth from. I’m waiting anxiously to see what happens to one person, then I turn the page and it’s….the next chapter with someone else’s POV happening elsewhere.

BUT, this didn’t make me as annoyed in Wake.

First off, this story is written in 3rd person perspective, which is a rather rare thing these days in the YA genre. It made it easier to understand what more than one character was feeling at a time. What got me through the switching of POVs was the fact that Gemma and her sister Harper are both such great characters.

Gemma is impulsive sometimes, but she feels the call of the ocean even before becoming a siren. She works hard to be the best swimmer, and she’s pretty without feeling cocky and boastful of it. Harper, on the other hand, is the older sister and acts bossy sometimes. But she has the heart to love anyone, even a rugged older guy living on a boat.

This brings me to say…

The “romance” aspect
I loved that this series doesn’t focus on just one couple, but on two . I felt that Alex and Gemma’s relationship happened rather fast. Like, I understand that he’s the boy next door and there were simmering feelings going on for like the last while. It just didn’t build up as nicely as I would’ve liked it to, but there were still very touching moments between the two.

Harper’s not the kind of girl who feels there’s time for a relationship in her life. With a mom who acts more like a teenage-obsessed fan of Justin Bieber’s, a father who forgets his lunch I swear all the time, and a younger sister who she feels responsible for, there are a lot of things on her plate. So her deliciously crazy attraction towards Daniel was very enjoyable from the start. He was the opposite of her in so many ways. He was more relaxed, living out of his grandfather’s boat while looking for odd handyman jobs to do. Harper was college-bound and here was this “slob” who kept trying to flirt and appease her after their rather awkward first meeting. This potential relationship kept me very interested in seeing more of it later on.

Concluding remarks
Although I highlighted the things I enjoyed in Wake, it just wasn’t quite 4 stars or even 5 stars material. The pacing was a little slow at times, especially when the sirens kept taunting Gemma and Harper but didn’t do anything just yet . Alex and Gemma’s romantic chemistry was a little off for me in this one. I kind of wished there were more moments that made me say “Ah, I can see why they’re falling so hard for each other”. That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy the two of them together, but I’m just being nit-picky.

Anyway, it’s definitely worth the read, especially as the first of a series.

Overall Recommendation:
Wake was a different read, in the sense that it focused on a part of Greek mythology that was darker and not necessarily as popular. Sirens were loose in Capri, wrecking havoc and leaving bodies in their wake. And Gemma has caught their eyes. The level of suspense builds as Gemma and her sister Harper finds themselves caught in a curse from over two thousand years ago.

With budding romance in the horizon for both sisters and a mild-pacing of the story, Wake should be given a try and maybe it would get you sucked into the world of the Watersong series.

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