Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Those That Wake by Jesse Karp (ARC review)

Summary (courtesy of GoodReads):  
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.

And here's what I thought:   Interesting concept, although the writing style didn't particularly resonate for me.   Definitely some interesting stuff here, and it gets progressively creepier as the story continues, which I liked.   What I would compare this book to are certain episodes of The Twilight Zone (the original series).   It's really hard to tell what's going on, so your imagination starts kicking in and thinking up all kinds of scenarios.

Mal and Laura are interesting characters, coming from completely different backgrounds, and then being thrown into a situation together.  However, they aren't the only characters that the book focuses on; there's Mike, a teacher (who, despite being a teacher, and an adult, is really immature), and Remak, another adult.  The way that the four personalities play off of each other is engrossing, and I kept wondering if, at some point, something really awful was going to happen to one of them.  And no, I'm not telling.   However, I will say that the author gets bonus points for including a librarian.

I found the writing to be descriptive, but spare, and quite terse at times.  However, this really enhanced the story, and kept the tension throughout the relatively quick pace of the book.   Here's an example of a sentence I liked: "He looked, in fact, like his brain were being eaten by a dream." (p. 125)   What I found most interesting about the story was the point the author seems to be making about society.  This book is set in a near-future New York City, after a catastophic blackout, and people are, for the most part, completely tuned into their cell phones, and computer devices.   Because of the fear that has resulted after the blackout, people seem to prefer to be immersed in their digital worlds, completely tuning each other out, and having little human contact at all.   Hmmm......

First sentence:  "Mal looked in the mirror and saw a road map of mistakes."

Thoughts on the cover: Ominous-looking clouds over a city skyline
.  Not the most eye-catching of cover art, but well-suited to the storyline.

I reviewed an ARC of this book, received as part of a Book it Forward ARC Tour from Dark Faerie Tales. Thus, any quotes or page numbers may change upon final publication.


Amelia said...

Hey Jo! Thanks for such an in-depth review! I got an ARC of this from HMH and I had the same reactions as you. For me, I didn't really like the 4 perspectives - seemed a bit hectic - but YES, the creepy tone was really cool :D

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