02 February 2015

When We Wake

Author: Karen Healey
Series: When We Wake #1
Rating: 3 / 5 stars
Verdict: Borrow

Things are finally starting to fall into place in Tegan's life.  Her brother's best friend, Dalmar, has finally confessed that he has feelings for her, and she is instantly in love.  She has her best friend, Alex, to dish all the details to.  And her love of the Beatles keeps her strong.  But on the day after her wonderful make out session with Dalmar, Tegan gets shot.  And when she wakes up again, she wakes up a century later, the first successful test subject of cryo freezing.

If you take out the corny love interest with Dalmar that barely makes a blimp on the radar in the long scheme of things, the premise could have made a stellar sci-fi adult fiction novel.  When We Wake, however, feels too watered down and childish and fantastical.  Even though the story is set over a hundred years in the future, apart from a few minor phrases in dialogue and the size of computers, the futuristic world that Healey depicts hardly feels any different than now.  And if you look at how far we've progressed in the last 100 years to today, that hardly seems possible.  Healey's main technique to excuse part of this lack of development is that there has been a recent, retro revival of old technology, which seems like an awfully convenient excuse to keep from having to go very in depth on what she thinks technology would be like in 110 years.  Especially since the old technology we are talking about are DVD players and Disney movies like Lilo and Stitch that are barely even current technology/new now.  Healey sets up a perfect opportunity to explore a new vision of the world, and she wastes it away on current day trivial matters.

The romance in the novel was also cliche and forced.  While Tegan is rather upset when she wakes up and finds that everyone she loves has now passed along, it doesn't take her very long to get over her one day romance with Dalmar and move on to the Dalmar look like in the current day and age.  That whole thought just rubs me wrong.  The characters, however, are likable enough, although the dialogue can get a bit annoying as Healey tries to throw in new phrases as the only change in the world since 2014. Tegan's narrative can be a bit "really?" just as well.

In the end, it's hard to believe that the fate of human mortality seems to rest on Tegan's shoulders, but sure.  Fine.  Why not?  She seems like the perfect candidate to rest the shoulders of this huge, multi-million dollar government project decades in the making on.

While it was hardly a mind blowing read, it's a quick enough read for a night in bed with the television on in the background.  And before I started reading it, I already requested the sequel from my library, so I'm sure I'll read it as well when it arrives.  After all, we are talking starships and cryo freezing here.  And we all know I'm a sucker for space novels.  So you never know what the sequel may hold.

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