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The Waking Dark

The Waking Dark - Robin Wasserman I am at a loss for word. Really. What did I just read?

The Walking Dark was a good book but not at all what I was expecting which is a bit disappointing. It wasn't as good as I expected. That being said the book was good.

This book is very violent with killings, massacres, blood and gore. And the killings aren't just shootings~ some are creative with knives and other items. For this reason I'd say the age range for this book is from around 17 and up. Definitely not for younger teens.

This book opens up with the killing day, which is the day that five people in the town of Oleander, Kansas kill at least one person and then kill themselves. 12 died in all and only one of the killers, a teen named Cass, survived her suicide attempt. Each killing was told in the pov of one of the main characters who was there during the killings: Daniel, Jule, West (Jeremiah), Ellie and of course Cass who was a one of the killers. The story deals mainly with these five characters, however during some chapters the pov changes to some of the different towns people's.

Each of the teens have problems of their own besides being present for the killings. Daniel's mother died and his father is known as the crazy preacher who drinks and tries to gather followers for the apocalyptic visions. Daniels takes care of his 8 year old brother Milo and is very protective of him. Jule lives in a trailer park with a stepdad who is iffy and whose uncles are meth heads and distributors. Basically the classic definition of white trash. West is gay and tries to hide it from everyone and especially his parents. Ellie is a "born again" christian zealot who was "saved" by the deacon of the church and claims God talks to her. Cass is a baby sitter who killed one of her charges.

A year after the killing day, a tornado hits Oleander and destroys part of the town. The next day there are road blocks that block all the exits out of town and the people are informed that they are being quarantined because the storm destroyed a plant with hazardous materials. (This was the facility that Cass escaped from when she was sentenced for murder and she made her way back to Oleander.) After the quarantine the whole town goes crazy. People begin doing what they want and killing anyone they want. Except for the five main characters. There are massacres, murders and violence left and right and in ten middle of it all are the 5 teens, who give their pov's on what is happening in their section of town with their families and each other.

The character were ok. I really liked West who at first went along with his football buddies who were patrolling the streets pretending to keep everyone safe when really they were causing trouble. Over the course of the book, West becomes braver and willing to go against his friends to do whats right. He struggles with hiding his sexuality and coming to terms with it. He is generally a nice guy. Jule's life is so pathetic and horrible with her white trash family, who have no morals at all BEFORE the town went crazy. This made Jule thick skinned and tough. She had major attitude which I liked about her. Daniel is a kid who is just trying to protect his brother from their crazy father and keep him safe. Its really touching how caring and loving Daniel is to his brother. And I loved Milo. He was hilarious for an 8 year old. I felt sorry for Cass because she genuinely wanted answers to why she killed someone and she is just very lost. I don't really get Ellie, until the end where everything about her is explained. During thsi book she is very religious and claims to hear the voice of God. However I did get the impression that she was not always so devout. I didn't like the way she talked, always spewing out bible verses or something about God saving people.

I liked how each character grew throughout the story and banded together to save each other in their own ways. They went from being alone in the craziness to somehow finding and banding together. Their teamwork was amazing. I liked how the each became brave and was willing to sacrifice their lives for each other. They all felt a sense of responsibility towards each other and trying to make sure they all got out of the town together.

I guess what I didn't really like about the book was the plot. I mean don't get me wrong, the killing and murders were fun and horrific to read. Everything going on the book made me hate the town, the people and the facility that quarantined the town and made me want all of them destroyed save foe the 5 teens and Milo. While it was entertaining to read, I think the reason as to why the town went crazy is a little too much for me. The reason was also not explained well enough for me to really believe it and believe that Oleander was the only town affected by it. It seemed a poor reason for all the killing and a better one could of been invented if everyone was to become bloodthirsty animals. Also for me the ending was cleared up way too neatly. I mean it is by no means a happy ending but it just wrapped up too nicely. Like all of a sudden ok well here's the fix fro the reason the people became this way and everyone can go back to "normal". Its just didn't work.

Anyway while I did like the book and all the stuff that went on, it wasn't as good as I expected. I expected to be blown away and I was just not.

This review is also posted on Spantalian's Book Reviews