I received this book for free from Random House in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The Waking Dark by Robin Wasserman
Published by Knopf Books for Young Readers on September 10th 2013
Genres: Horror, YA
Source: Random House
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They called it the killing day. Twelve people dead, all in the space of a few hours. Five murderers: neighbors, relatives, friends. All of them so normal. All of them seemingly harmless. All of them now dead by their own hand . . . except one. And that one has no answers to offer the shattered town. She doesn't even know why she killed—or whether she'll do it again.
Something is waking in the sleepy town of Oleander's, Kansas—something dark and hungry that lives in the flat earth and the open sky, in the vengeful hearts of upstanding citizens. As the town begins its descent into blood and madness, five survivors of the killing day are the only ones who can stop Oleander from destroying itself. Jule, the outsider at war with the world; West, the golden boy at war with himself; Daniel, desperate for a different life; Cass, who's not sure she deserves a life at all; and Ellie, who believes in sacrifice, fate, and in evil. Ellie, who always goes too far. They have nothing in common. They have nothing left to lose. And they have no way out. Which means they have no choice but to stand and fight, to face the darkness in their town—and in themselves.
Whoa, this was psychotic! Definitely the most violent YA book I’ve yet to read! This is both a warning and a promise. 😉
Another of Robin’s book, The Book of Blood and Shadow was one of my favorites of last year. It was raw and intense, kind of insanely so, so I knew – and hoped – to expect the same kind of brilliance in this one and am happy to not have been let down. The Waking Dark does not lose any time to show you what you’re getting into. Within the first couple of chapters the sheer madness of what is happening grabs you with its two fists and shoves you inside this story in full force. What I first noticed in this book is how there is not one main character, this is the story of the whole town. We jump from one narrator to another until we get the 360 of what is happening in Oleander. Even though we get about 7 or 8 (or more – I didn’t actually count) narrative voices, I never felt thrown around or overwhelmed, though I didn’t particularly form a deep connection with anyone either. Still, I wouldn’t have changed it as I found it so incredibly unique and enthralling. I loved seeing everyone’s point of view of this horror, especially since they are all surprisingly distinct. Eventually we do focus on a particular group of people who become the main cast.
Dark, atmospheric, with a solid plot that reflect on the true violent nature of human beings at its worst, The Waking Dark is not recommend for those who don’t like unrelenting horror – think Stephen King (though not as gorily detailed). This book is filled with incredible violence; kids killing kids, adults killing kids, adults killing adults – you get the drift. The town of Oleander has been affected by some type of… virus? They don’t know what, but it has turned the whole town into a well of morbid insanity. Nobody knows why, but they have been quarantined, meaning no one can escape this evil. Even the good guys feel an urge to kill, too. You’re not even safe from yourself! Imagine putting all the world’s murderers on an island with no order, no rules, no laws. It’s a truly terrifying with suspense that builds so tightly you want to explode. But there is nowhere to go! Part of the main cast includes a little boy who’s just so sweet and innocent you go crazy with worry for what could possibly happen to this little guy at every page. Because emotions aren’t spared in this book. If Robin decides a character will die, she doesn’t blink.
From start to finish this book holds merciless terror and panic. The reason behind the violence is interesting, if a tad unexplored, but Robin adopts a writing style that grips you with breathless anticipation and keeps you engaged with bloodiness throughout. It’s like the accident you can’t look away from!
4 Hot Espressos