Sunday, August 16, 2009

I say all this, but I still totally liked it.

I've got a soft spot for Michigan authors. Even if they don't live in Michigan anymore (like me!). I've got even more of a soft spot for books Actually SET in Michigan. It is NOT easy to find books set in Michigan.

So, what that means is that I'm willing to cut books from the homeland a lot of slack. But even I have my limits.

Lisa McMann's WAKE and FADE are massively successfully, so I'm not going to spend a ton of time here telling you what you already know: It's fast-paced, compelling, fresh, and thrilling. Super easy sell. Here's the booktalk I've used:

Getting sucked into other people's dreams is a bit annoying to Janie, but she's used to it. It isn't until she finds herself in slacker Cable's nightmares that things get truly frightening, because for the first time she's not just a witness, she's a participant.

The but:

Wake lost direction during the last third of the novel, suddenly transforming from a paranormal romance into a crime novel. The transition was weak and pretty jarring. It sets up a trilogy well, but failed to really honor the individual book and reader's expectations (at least this reader's). The book stopped being about the basic premise (girl gets sucked into other people's dreams! boy dreams of horrible things! she must help him!), and adopted another plot entirely.

Further hurting this transition was what I've come to call the "ZOMG We Can Love Each Other!" section. These sections are chock-filled with melodrama, insipid introspection, and copious making-out. Obviously this is all the rage with the Twihards, and WAKE definitely feeds that audience, but it just wasn't in line with the pacing set up in the first two thirds of the novel.

Nevertheless, just looking at the sales figures or the waiting list at your local library will tell you that, really, these things don't matter. It's a page turner.

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