October 26, 2013

Review: The Waking Dark by Robin Wasserman

The Waking Dark

Author: Robin Wasserman
Genre: YA Mystery/Thriller
Release Date: September 10, 2013
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Source: Review Copy from Publisher


They called it the killing day. Twelve people dead, all in the space of a few hours. Five murderers: neighbors, relatives, friends. All of them so normal. All of them seemingly harmless. All of them now dead by their own hand . . . except one. And that one has no answers to offer the shattered town. She doesn't even know why she killed—or whether she'll do it again.

Something is waking in the sleepy town of Oleander's, Kansas—something dark and hungry that lives in the flat earth and the open sky, in the vengeful hearts of upstanding citizens. As the town begins its descent into blood and madness, five survivors of the killing day are the only ones who can stop Oleander from destroying itself. Jule, the outsider at war with the world; West, the golden boy at war with himself; Daniel, desperate for a different life; Cass, who's not sure she deserves a life at all; and Ellie, who believes in sacrifice, fate, and in evil. Ellie, who always goes too far. They have nothing in common. They have nothing left to lose. And they have no way out. Which means they have no choice but to stand and fight, to face the darkness in their town—and in themselves. 

The Waking Dark is an fantastically intense young adult mystery/thriller novel that tells the story of the small town of Oleander, Kansas. Everything is predictable, boring - normal - in Oleander. That is, until what they refer to as The Killing Day. The day when 12 people were murdered in a matter of hours. Not long after The Killing Day, a strong storm hits the town and leaves it broken and upside down. Soon the roads leading out of town are blocked off by soldiers with guns, barbed wire fences and they have no access to the outside world at all. Stranger yet are the people of Oleander. The once quiet and peaceful citizens are turning on one another and committing crimes nobody thought possible in their small town. Just what is happening to Oleander and the people inside it? Why won't the soldiers answer their questions or let them leave? A group of teens - Daniel, West, Jule, Cass, and Ellie - band together to try to find out the truth of what's happening and to find a way out. Although they have known each other since they were little, it is soon evident that everyone has secrets. Will they be able to stop whatever is happening in Oleander before it's too late? Will they find a way out to get help? Or will they suffer the same fate as everyone else and lose themselves to the darkness enveloping the town?

I am a huge fan of mysteries and thriller/suspense novels, so I was immediately intrigued when I read the description of this book. It gave a great idea of what it would be about without revealing too much. I have to admit that I was definitely not disappointed and the book far exceeded any expectations I may have had. The plot was really unique and captivating - there's so many strange things happening to different characters at the same time. It definitely kept me on my toes, but didn't confuse or overwhelm me. The writing was fantastic with an effortless flow and a really quick pace that had me eagerly reading as fast as I could to try to find out what was happening to the people an the town and how it would all end. I tried to come up with theories and ideas about what could be going on, but then the author would slip in a huge twist or turn and I would be back at the beginning. The characters were all very well written, especially the group of teens that band together. We get to see each of their personalities, their strengths and weaknesses, and their secrets - which only made them more realistic in my eyes. There are several genres blended together in the book - action, horror, adventure, suspense, mystery, romance. It will definitely appeal to fans of all types of fiction. This book had me instantly hooked from the first paragraph and refused to let go until well after I had finished reading. Very highly recommended for fans of YA mysteries and thriller/suspense novels. You don't want to miss out on this one!

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