Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Review: The Waking Dark by Robin Wasserman

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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.

Review: The Waking Dark by Robin WassermanThe Waking Dark by Robin Wasserman
Published by Knopf Books for Young Readers on September 10th 2013
Genres: Horror, YA
Source: Random House
Buy on Amazon

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

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Canadian blogger, wife, mother, coffee lover, and sarcastic at heart! She has had a love for all things bookish since before Amazon and eReaders existed *le gasp*. You can also find her organizing tours and other fun things at Xpresso Book Tours.

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27 Responses to “Review: The Waking Dark by Robin Wasserman”

  1. Melanie (YA Midnight Reads)

    I feel like I will run away screaming from this book as it sounds insanely creepy. While this book doesn’t seem like my type- I am going to check out some other titles by Robin as I love sound of the writing style.

    Amazeballs review, Giselle! <33

  2. Leanna

    I’m really, really, really looking forward to reading this one! Did it remind you anything of Dark Inside by Jeyn Roberts? (if you’ve read it). Dark Inside sprang to mind when I first read the synopsis of this one.

  3. Nick @ Nick's Book Blog

    You convinced me to add this book to my TBR just from your first sentence, Giselle.
    Psychotic violent books are the most interesting. I’m glad to hear that the author executed it really well and she didn’t spare any of the characters. I’m already worried for the little boy just from reading your review!
    Great review, Giselle!

  4. Eileen @ ***Singing and Reading in the Rain***

    This book sounds so brutally creepy in the most honest way. I’m actually terrified of scary things, so I don’t know if I’d want to read this one for that reason, but I can certainly see why you were so intrigued by the alternating POVs without feeling overwhelmed. The plot sounds amazing, and the atmosphere sounds so creepy because that metaphor you made about throwing every criminal somewhere without any rules and the fact that everybody is killing each other sounds so terrifying.

    Fantastic review, Giselle! <33

  5. Christianna

    This book sounds so insanely awesome! I had no idea that it would be this brutal, the summary sounds cool, but when you describe the book it gives me chills! Sounds like it’s going to be a winner this year!

  6. Bonnie

    This is one book I have been DYING for. I’ve been in a total mood for creepy but haven’t found anything super fabulous lately. I’m so glad to see you enjoyed this one!

  7. Annette

    Ohhh. I’m intrigued. I really haven’t seen this one before, and I’m up for the merciless terror and panic — so are many of my students. Thanks!

  8. Christina @ Christina Reads YA

    Woah, the most violent YA book you’ve ever read? More violent than Angelfall and the Hunger Games? That’s an impressive claim. And ahhh, The Book of Blood and Shadow was one of the books that I’d mistakenly not read before the e-galley expired, but it too sounds like an absolutely engaging and immersive read. The sheer madness and insanity of this book, as you’ve described it, reminds me of the short story, The Lottery – affects the whole town, and you’re just drawn into the heart of it all. Sounds like so much fun to read! I requested this one awhile back on Netgalley but sadly that request has been ignored for the entire duration :(. Oh well. Another time I’ll read this. Glad that you enjoyed this one, and here’s to hoping your next read is just as fabulous :).

  9. Carmen B.

    This sounds amazing! I just finished The Book of Blood and Shadows over the weekend and I absolutely loved it – thanks to your review, I know which Robin Wassermann book I’ll read next 😉

  10. Mary @ BookSwarm

    I seriously don’t think I could read this book without a warm puppy at my side, protecting me from all the evils of the world. Maybe I’ll just pass this review on to a friend who likes this type of book and live vicariously through her (and you).

  11. Laureen

    I have a sad fondness for the disturbing stories(during daylight hours only!) and this one sounds like it would be a fun and twisted ride. I’ll have to keep an eye out and maybe read this one eventually. Thanks for sharing your review!

  12. Jen

    Holy shiz balls, Giselle. The way you describe this book makes me a little scared to pick this one up! It sounds like The Waking Dark is very in-your-face and doesn’t hesitate to give you the heebie-jeebies. EEK! I’ll have to build some guts before I read this one. Fab review as always!

  13. Pili

    Wow! This book sounds amazing! It might give me nightmares and be too creepy, but I think it’d be a great chance of pace for me!

    Thanks for the great review and recommendation!

  14. Faye @ The Social Potato

    Ugh, I really really really really really want to read this. I’ve seen your updates on Goodreads and they had my mouth drooling for this book ever since! I like dark, gritty, violent YA books a la How To Read a Life of Crime, and have been on a hunt for one for weeks now. Sadly, not many are of the same caliber of writing 🙁 Glad to see this one might just change that! Great review, Giselle!!

  15. Amy @ Book Loving Mom

    OMG I need to read this!!! I requested it forever ago on Netgalley and it’s still pending, so I’m taking that as a no lol!! This sounds like my type of book for sure though. I will have to get this when it comes out!

  16. Vivian

    Girl! I have been looking for a GOOD thriller/gory (not too horror) book and have been disappointed all this year! You have me intrigued. Please tell me I’ll like this one!

  17. Mel@thedailyprophecy

    Wow, the switching POV’s sound great! It shows Wasserman’s talent, because most of the times it would have made the story chaotic. I like King’s books, so this sounds great to me! 😀 This book goes on the wishlist.

  18. Rachelia (Bookish Comforts)

    I didn’t like The Book of Blood and Shadow, it just didn’t work for me, but the premise of this one really drew me in and I’m give it a try. I love when the initial chapters just grab you!

    This one certainly sounds scary and thrilling, and even thought-provoking. Great review, Giselle!