Review: Those That Wake

I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Those That WakeThose That Wake by Jesse Karp
Series: Those That Wake #1
Published by Houghton Mifflin Books for Children on March 21, 2011
Genres: Adventure, Dystopian, Mystery
Pages: 336
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley

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.

This was one weird book. I mean, seriously odd. I was all disposed to like it, what with it being a dystopia and one of the main characters being named Mal (yay for Firefly and Nathan Fillion). Within a few chapters, things started getting strange.

To start with, there is all this stuff about technology, somewhat reminiscent of Awaken, in how dependent people are on television screens and cell phones. Okay, got it. There are also terrorists, apparently, who did something terrible to NYC during the big black. There is the overly strenuous security, always there to hassle you when you’re not doing anything wrong, but not there to protect you when you’re in trouble. There’s the mysterious building that most people can’t see that has lots of hallways with doors and a scary button for the top floor. There is also some sort of hyper advertising evil that’s endangering the world.

As you can tell, there’s a lot happening here, and it really does not come together well. Individually, I like some of what’s happening in this novel, but, thrown together, it’s just one confusing hodge podge of fighting interspersed with some speeches on one evil or another. Oh yeah, the fighting. There is so much of it in this book. Mal is always punching someone and the descriptions are not always pleasant.

I really just don’t know what this book wanted to be. The characterization and plotting both fell completely flat. The writing wasn’t awful, but definitely wasn’t stellar. This definitely does not rank high for me. People who enjoy violent and frustratingly confusing dystopias (ala James Dashner’s trilogy) might enjoy Those That Wake, but it’s definitely not for me.

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