Saturday, March 19, 2011

Those That Wake by Jesse Karp: Review
Posted by Tiffany at 11:31 AM

Title: Those That Wake
Author: Jesse Karp (FB)
Published: March 21st, 2011 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Pages: 340
Price: $11.55 Amazon  $12.74 Book Depository (PRE-ORDER)
Series: N/A
Rating: 3.5/5
Synopsis: Set in the very near future, a wounded New York struggles with the aftermath of a power plant explosion that plunged the city into fourteen days of violence and darkness. Christened "Big Black" by the media, the presumed terrorist attack accomplished what 9/11 couldn't: killing the city's spirit and draining it of its life force. An enormous bug-like dome hastily constructed to keep toxic gases from escaping the site casts a gloomy pall over the city and serves as a bleak reminder of the tragedy. Deprived of all reason for optimism, New York's inhabitants slowly withdraw from human interaction and into the cold comfort of technology. 

Seventeen-year-old Mal returns to the Brooklyn home of his foster parents one night to discover that his older brother, Tommy, has vanished after leaving a strange message on his phone. Mal launches a search for his brother that leads to a foreboding, seemingly unoccupied Manhattan skyscraper; once inside, he makes a careless mistake that reveals hidden cracks in the surface of the world he knows. Meanwhile, Laura, a high school senior is shaken from her quiet suburban life when her parents inexplicably abandon her and two agents from Homeland Security armed with a hypodermic needle show up at her home. 

The two teenagers are thrown together with a cynical and bitter highschool teacher named Mike, and Jon Remak, a covert agent for a shadowy cooperative. The strangers share little in common, save for one terrifying fact: someone or something has wiped them from the memories of every single person the four have ever known. Only by working together can Mal and Laura hope to reclaim a past that was stolen from them--and start a future no one can take away.

Initial Thoughts: The cover for this one is amazing- creepy and mysterious. The blurb is even better. Two teens who are forgotten by everyone they know? Amazing! Where will they go? How will they find each other? How can you give back memories once they're taken away? How were they taken away in the first place?! I was really excited to start this one.

Review: The intro was amazing. I loved Mal from the start. I was drawn immediately into the story by the first paragraph and remained immersed until the end of Mal's POV. The only problem? The other characters weren't nearly as interesting. Laura is your typical over-achieving rich girl. I didn't like her as a person, but I could see right off that she would make an excellent candidate for Total Life Destruction. Someone who is obsessed with the details, with everything being perfect, is probably not going to handle having everyone forget her very well. The more I read, the more I enjoyed her story, but Mal remained #1 in my heart. The other characters were interesting enough, but not really engaging.

Things get going pretty quickly. We're introduced to the characters right before (or right as) their worlds start to fall apart. From there on out, it's pretty action packed. The only slow bits are the sometimes overly detailed conversations. Sometimes the story gets bogged down in the characters' thoughtful debates and somewhat preachy speeches about what they should do. The mystery of Who and Why isn't immediately obvious and the villain ends up being a lot scarier because of the Technology-Run-Amok angle. In a world where everything is done online, everyone is connected all the time, stories like this are becoming more and more possible- and more and more terrifying.

I really enjoyed the book, although I wish that we'd gotten to see more character development. Once we'd been introduced to the characters, they sort of faded to the background, letting the story take center stage. Since everything happened fairly quickly, this makes sense, but I would have liked to have seen more of the relationships' development, instead of skipping over it.

Quick Review: This was a thoroughly engrossing, creepy sci-fi thriller. The first few chapters were amazing, the middle got a bit bogged down, and then everything ended with a bang. I would have liked to have spent more time with the characters, but the fast pace made the characters take back burner to the story. I would definitely recommend this to fans of futuristic stories, but don't expect romance to be a big part of the story.