When I first learned about the Wake
trilogy, I was intrigued by its premise about a girl dream catcher and looked forward to reading it. But after finishing Wake
, I must say that I wasn’t really impressed as the first 2/3 of the book is actually quite boring and rather repetitive.
It begins with Janie as a 17 year-old high school senior—poor, struggling to save enough money for college, and desperately trying to cope with her dream catching abilities—a problem that has plagued her since childhood. If someone near her falls asleep, no matter what she’s doing—driving, working, etc.—she’s pulled into their dreams. However, the dreams that Janie witnesses are variations of the same theme: sex, violence, or some embarrassing situation. After awhile, I found these repetitions rather tedious, all one note. As a reader, I was looking forward to perhaps see dreams about alternate realities and parallel universes—something cool and interesting, rather than just mundane perversions. I believe McMann could’ve added something like this without spoiling the integrity of the work.
I also thought it hard to believe that no one ever noticed her in one of these trances until only recently, as they’re described to be rather violent at times (with symptoms comparable to those of a seizure).
Also the Cabel-Janie relationship at the beginning seemed rather strange. At first, there’s no real character development, and they hardly knew each other—just a few glances, a few verbal exchanges, Janie witnesses his violent dream, and then they share a kiss. I had to stop and say—Wait, where did this come from? But then, once I got to the last 1/3 of the book, the whole reading experience changed for me. It finally became interesting as all the pieces fell into place. It’s because of this that I’ll continue with the series. I just wish the whole book read like the last 50 pages.