Wednesday, May 08, 2013

review: THOSE THAT WAKE by Jesse Karp

Series: Those That Wake #1
HMH: Harcourt Children's Books
Released: March 21, 2011
Source: Blogger Trade
Page Count: 336

Rating: It was okay

People walk the streets of New York City with their heads down and their eyes averted, withdrawing from each other and into the cold comfort of technology.

Teenagers Mal and Laura have grown up in this new reality: Mal in the city, part of the foster care system; Laura in the suburbs, loved and protected. They’ve never met. Seemingly, they never will.

But then their worlds shift. On the same day Mal learns his estranged brothers has disappeared, Laura discovers that her parents have inexplicably forgotten her. Both begin a search for their families that leads them to the same terrifying truth: someone or something has wiped the two teenagers from the memories of every single person they have ever known. Thrown together, Mal and Laura must find common ground if they are going to reclaim a past that was stolen from them – and create a future no one can take away.

Melding a page-turning thriller with a message of hope in the face of adversity, Jesse Karp’s Those That Wake is a startling debut novel that explores themes of identity and conspiracy and examines the unimaginable influence of faceless corporations.

My Thoughts

I wanted to like this book! Dystopia is on of my favorite genres, and Those That Wake seemed to have it all. In execution, though, it fell far short of the mark.

The backcover blurb promised much more than the story delivered. First off, Mal and Laura's stories don't intertwine until about 120 pages in. Second, the two have no issues with each other and actually take to each other quite quickly, so there is no working together to "find common ground." And most importantly, the ending of this story is so ridiculously convoluted (The Matrix, anyone?) that there really is no message of hope, because that would require something that actually makes sense.

I know it's silly to feel cheated by a book, but I was just so excited to read it and then was so let down by the ending - or rather, the last 2/3 - of the book. It had lots of great ideas, but none of them were sufficiently fleshed out. The author tried too hard to be cool and only ended up with a confusing story. This is not something that I would recommend.

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