Author: Lisa McMann
Book 1 - Wake
For seventeen-year-old Janie, getting sucked into other people's dreams is getting old. Especially the falling dreams, the naked-but-nobody-notices dreams, and the sex-crazed dreams. Janie's seen enough fantasy booty to last her a lifetime.
She can't tell anybody about what she does -- they'd never believe her, or worse, they'd think she's a freak. So Janie lives on the fringe, cursed with an ability she doesn't want and can't control.
Then she falls into a gruesome nightmare, one that chills her to the bone. For the first time, Janie is more than a witness to someone else's twisted psyche. She is a participant....
Wake is an exhilarating, quick read . Though the beginning is kind of slow, the suspense soon gains momentum. Told in minimalistic, short sequences, Wake is a short novel that took me less than a seating to finish. At first, I really disliked Wake because the choppy writing style irritated me. However, as the book progressed, the style became one of my favorite aspects. McMann is one of the first authors I have seen that uses jerky prose; full of fragments, it's clean and concise. Though it takes some time getting used to, Her abrupt writing gives Wake a surreal, almost dreamlike tone.
The main character Janie is overall, very likable. She's flawed and human, though her values could be developed a little more, and the relationship with her mother a little more stressed upon. The dreams in Wake are not very realistic, even for dreams. Dreams are usually nonsensical, musings of one's subconscious, but the dreams in Wake always have a certain logic to them. The random aspect of dreams is completely shrouded by frank scenes that completely reveal the dreamer's character.
This otherwise swell story is mediocrely executed, since at the times, the pacing of the plot is off. After a slow beginning, Wake quickly gains momentum, then drives over the speed limit to form a slightly shabby ending. McMann introduces the main conflict too late, and the climax failed to excite me, since the plot lacked mounting suspense.
Despite the plot pacing problems, McMann wrote an addicting novel that promises outstanding sequels. I was torn between awarding it four hoots and three and a half hoots.
For Janie and Cabel, real life is getting tougher than the dreams. They're just trying to carve out a little (secret) time together, but no such luck. Disturbing things are happening at Fieldridge High, yet nobody's talking. When Janie taps into a classmate's violent nightmares, the case finally breaks open--but nothing goes as planned. Not even close. Janie's in way over her head, and Cabe's shocking behavior has grave consequences for them both.
Worse yet, Janie learns the truth about herself and her ability. And it's bleak. Seriously, brutally bleak. Not only is her fate as a Dream Catcher sealed, but what's to come is way darker than she'd even feared...
Dark and raw, Fade is a lot more suspenseful, intense, and scary than Wake. Fans of the previous book may be disturbed by sequel. The horrific nightmares in Fade will linger with readers long after they turn the last page, especially since these menaces exist in the real world. The police department assigns Janie and Cabel a mission: to uncover the twisted, sick sexual predators who are hunting at the local high school. Infused with creepiness and perverted teachers, this book sheds the dreamlike, teen angsty qualities of Wake and morphs into a dark thriller.
Fade is more plot driven than character driven, and sometimes I missed the character interaction I saw in Wake. The character of Shay, a girl who claims to still like Cabel, has been completely obliterated, and I was looking forward to seeing her; Carrie, Janie's alleged best friend, is absent throughout the majority of this novel. However, Janie and Cable's relationship continues to unfold, and readers will get a deeper look into Janie's personality.
Like it's predecessor, Fade's fragmented writing cleanly captures action and emotions without the stuffy details. McMann's writing continues to improve, and she's well on her way to developing a potentially beautiful style. Fade contains mounting suspense, and near the climax, I perched upon the edge of my seat, nearly hyperventilating as I rooted and feared for Janie. When Janie's dreamcatcher fate was finally revealed, my jaw dropped in horror, and I found myself yearning for the next book.
Book 3 - Gone
Janie thought she knew what her future held. And she thought she'd made her peace with it. But she can't handle dragging Cabel down with her.
She knows he will stay with her, despite what she sees in his dreams. He's amazing. And she's a train wreck. Janie sees only one way to give him the life he deserves--she has to disappear. And it's going to kill them both.
Then a stranger enters her life--and everything unravels. The future Janie once faced now has an ominous twist, and her choices are more dire than she'd ever thought possible. She alone must decide between the lesser of two evils. And time is running out...
After the success of its predecessors, including the unbearable suspense in Fade, I expected a thrilling novel that brilliantly concludes the Wake series, something that could maybe top 4 hoots. Alas, Gone is a giant letdown that fills me with disappointment.
The entire book involves Janie debating her life, and her thoughts get repetitive very quickly. I'm not a fan of her fights with Cabel, since his absences began to increase, and their interesting relationship is part of what makes the series compelling. Without Cabel, the novel's barely sufficient plot failed to seize my attention, and I barely endured a trudge through Janie's endless monologues about the sinking ship of her life. Her sparse interaction with other characters left me bored and wanting more. One good thing about all her thinking is that Janie develops as a person, becoming a lot more likable at the end.
The strong morals, messages, and Janie's decisions hold immense meaning, though they are not effective, since I found myself not caring about the book anymore after I discovered the lack of plot. This book involves Janie sorting out her life and lacks the action and suspense I found in Fade. While this is not a bad thing, Gone is an overload of musings, and it could have been seamlessly incorporated into Wake and Fade, turning the trilogy into only two books and making the series a much more engrossing experience.