Monday, 30 March 2015

Wake by Elizabeth Knox

By Elizabeth Knox
Published by Little Brown (5 March 2015)
ISBN: 978-1472117533

Publisher's description
When police officer Theresa Grey is called to the New Zealand town of Kahukura on Tasman Bay, she drives straight into a horror story. The locals have been overwhelmed by a sudden collective madness, causing them to kill themselves and each other in trull gruesome ways. First, Theresa tries to help; then, she is forced to run for her life. An hour later, she emerges to a scene of carnage.

There are thirteen other survivors. Slowly, they find one another and face their new reality: trapped in the town by some kind of invisible force-field, cut off from the world outside.

What begins as a story of horror becomes a story of survival. Together, they must bury the dead, become a community, face their own fears and weaknesses. Ultimately, they must fight for their lives - because whatever caused the insanity is still at large. And it hasn't finished.

Rich with atmosphere, alive to character and emotion. Wake is a riveting tour-de-force. A book about extreme events, ordinary people, heroic compassion - and invisible monsters.

My verdict
To begin with, Wake reads like an episode of The Walking Dead, of which I am a great fan. The initial scene is fast-paced horror, and I expected the book to continue like this all the way through.

However, after this, the pace changed. This book isn't a horror story, and some readers may be disappointed if this is what they are expecting. It becomes a book of survival, and the story reminded me of Stephen King's Under the Dome.

The initial scene is an gruesome event. The town's population goes completely crazy, before killing themselves and each other with zombie-like hunger. The town itself is completely cut off from the outside world by a 'no go' zone, and it seems that there is an invisible monster feeding off the insanity. There are 14 survivors, most of whom begin as strangers. They have to find food, shelter and an organised way to live together, whilst hoping that someone in the outside world will rescue them. But the monster is still out there.

Wake is a bizarre but highly visual story - nothing like I have read before. It reminded me of the TV series Lost, which was also intriguing and completely unbelievable. The middle third of the book was a little slow and dragged in places. But as Wake progressed, I couldn't bear to put it down. I wanted an explanation for the events, even though the story became more ludicrous.

I received an Advance Reader Copy from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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