Review - Wake - Amanda Hocking

Wake (Watersong #1)Title: Wake
Series: Watersong #1
Author: Amanda Hocking
Genre: Young Adult, Mythological, Paranormal Fantasy
Publication: July 24th 2012, St. Martins Griffin
Pages: 309 Pages, Paperback
Source: Thank you to Pan Macmillan for sending me this in exchange for an honest review!
Rating: 4/5 Cupcakes!
Enter the world of Amanda Hocking's Watersong, a place of breathtaking beauty, immortal power—and terrifying secrets.

Gemma Fisher seems to have it all—she’s carefree, pretty, and falling in love with Alex, the boy next door.  He’s always been just a friend, but this summer they’ve taken their relationship to the next level, and now she’s falling harder for him every day.  But Gemma doesn’t know that her ordinary life is about to change forever.

Penn, Lexi and Thea are strangers in town for the summer—and they’ve been watching her.  Three sisters with mysterious powers, they invite Gemma to join their exclusive circle, and it changes her in ways she never imagined.  Suddenly she’s stronger, faster, and more beautiful than ever. But her new powers come with a terrifying price.  And as she uncovers the truth, she’s is forced to choose between staying with those she loves—or entering a new world brimming with dark hungers and unimaginable secrets.
I received Wake a couple of months back to review, it sounded fantastic and it had a gorgeous cover! I was hesitant to read it, though, as I had read one of Amanda Hocking's books in the past and I wasn't as fond of it as I hoped I would be. However, last week I picked up Wake, and with much trepidation, I started to read it and I am extremely glad to say that I was hooked. I flew through the pages, I was devouring the words at an alarming rate and I was ferociously reading as much as I could before I had to go to bed. Wake had me completely and utterly enthralled. I was immensely surprised at how much I adored this novel. I am eagerly anticipating the second book in the series.
Wake centers around quite a few characters, it is told in third person which I don't generally like, but for this novel it works. There is sixteen year old Gemma, who is brave, determined and has an insatiable hunger for the ocean. There is Gemma's older sister, Harper, fiercely protective of her sister, level-headed and ready to fend off anything that might harm her family. Then there are the mysterious, alluring and striking three girls that have arrived in the little beach town for the summer; Penn, Thea and Lexi. All strikingly-gorgeous, all perfectly-seeming. However, Gemma and Harper believe that there is something dark about them.  Something sinister lies behind those eyes. When Gemma goes for her nightly swim to the bay and encounters the girls, she is discovered bruised and battered in the morning – nearly dead. However, the bruises heal unnaturally fast and Gemma is stronger, faster and even more gorgeous than she previously was. She doesn't want to be this way. But now that she is, there are only two choices...stay with the sirens – or be a prisoner of death. 
This book was fantastic. I am a sucker for books that are to do with mermaid mythology and although this isn't your standard mermaid novel, I absolutely adored it. There were one or two things that slightly decreased my overall enjoyment of this novel but it was such a fun, exciting read nonetheless!
I really liked the characters. Gemma was reckless, she was stubborn and determined and too proud to ask for help, yet I still liked her. She was an interesting character with lots of spunk and I am excited to see her character grow throughout the series. I absolutely adored Harper, who reminded me of me. She's more quiet and protective and she thinks things through clearly before proceeding with the action, unlike Gemma. Her character reminded me a lot of Laurel's from the TV series, Arrow. I really admired Harper for continuously trying to help her sister and to talk to her and find out her predicament. Harper views herself as a weak character but I saw the steely determination when she needed to protect her sister and I'm really looking forward to reading more about her.
The love interests in this book were swoon-worthy. There is no dreaded love triangle, each of the girl's have a singular potential love interest. Gemma is in love with Alex, Harper's best friend. And Harper herself isn't interested in a love life when she'll be going to college soon and will have to leave behind her boyfriend anyway. However, she is slowly becoming friends with Daniel, a boy who lives near the docks. As mysteries start surrounding the little beach town, Daniel seems to be the only person she can lean on.

I loved Harper and Daniel's friendship, there's definitely chemistry between them and I just adore them together. I love Daniel! He's so laid-back and has such a fantastic sense of humour and I loved reading about how he slowly got Harper to trust him.

Alex was extremely sweet and goofy, however, I felt that his and Gemma's relationship was quite awkward and I didn't see a proper connection form between the two of them, hopefully in the second book though.

The Sirens, Penn, Thea and Lexi weren't like the innocent mermaids in the books you were to as a child: they were vicious, manipulative, deadly and savage. Quite frankly, they nearly gave me nightmares. Penn is the main one and she is violent and she manipulates people and she is horrendous. I liked Lexi, although I use that term very, very, loosely, she was probably the nicest one out of the Sirens...if you can even label any of them as nice. I'm quite interested in learning more about Thea, I don't think she enjoys doing what she does and I think maybe further on in the series there could be a bit of a dominance battle between her and Penn. These three girls are vicious and dangerous and they eat humans, they're not like a person's childhood beliefs of mermaids.

Some people might find the pacing quite slow, but I thought it was perfect. The more mythological aspects are only introduced in the second half of the novel, and the first half of the novel helps us to become acquainted with the characters. I liked how the first half of the novel was spent showing me the characters' lives before it drastically changed - it left more of an impact on me as a reader.The plot really intrigued me, there was a murder mystery element as an undercurrent to the novel. Three boys have gone missing and one of the characters was one we were introduced to, however, the resolution didn't surprise me at all and I had already guessed what had happened. This novel was quite predictable but I'm hoping the next three books will be more shocking and have more mystery and surprises woven through it.

One thing I did have a problem with, is that sometimes the dialogue/writing seemed unnatural and didn't flow well. There were times when it seemed quite forced. Penn was a mean girl cliché with a mythological twist and when she was being bossy and manipulative (like she is) towards Gemma, the dialogue was cliché and it seemed like the dialogue you would find in a typical American high school movie. I also found that there were some phrases that could be quite repetitive. One example being when Hocking described the way Penn spoke. She stated two or three times that Penn spoke with a "silky smooth baby voice", not the exact words but something along those lines and I'm not really too fond of it when an author repeats the exact same phrase throughout a novel.

I really loved the mythological twist on this novel, I loved how there was mystery, mythology and contemporary elements interwoven throughout the story and it blended together smoothly to create a highly entertaining novel. I absolutely loved the take on Sirens and how they're quite sinister. It was interesting to read about a different mythological creature instead of vampires/angels.

I had a fantastic reading experience with Wake. I was completely hooked and I read more than half in one sitting, which doesn't happen often as I'm generally a slow reader. I loved the sinister twist Hocking spun on Sirens and I loved reading about their desire for the seaa and just learning more about Sirens as a whole. I liked the characters and the developing romance between Harper and Daniel, I need to see a spark between Alex and Gemma though, as I wasn't entirely feeling their relationship. I highly recommend Wake and I am extremely excited to see where the author takes the story! The perfect summer read with a dark feel to it that will keep even the most reluctant of readers intrigued.

I give it: 4/5 CUPCAKES!