This book follows several characters as they survive “Killing Day” and the aftermath of that day in small town Oleander, Kansas. The POV shifts between several key members of the town, as their lives go from normal to broken. This book is a dark ride, and it shows humanity at it’s absolute worst.
Reviewing this book is tripping me up. Because it should be right up my alley right? Dark, gruesome, with a some heavy sprinkling of gore. But for some reason I just didn’t fall in love with the book. I liked it though. I liked the crap out of it, but it wasn’t true love. I don’t feel the urge to purchase the paperback for my shelves. But I have no idea why? So bare with me as I break down what I loved, liked, and didn’t care for about this book.
The Characters: The characters were all unique and had their own skeletons in their closet even before Killing Day.
Jule, who I found I connected to the most. The niece of the towns’ meth kingpin. She has the dark personality that I myself tend to inhabit. She shares my foul mouth, and dark sense of humor. If I could have read the whole book from her POV, I would have been in seventh heaven. Jule witnessed one of her Uncle’s murders on Killing Day.
Daniel, the son of the Preacher Man. A social outcast because his dad is the town drunk who spends his time protheltizing in the town square. Daniel just wants to be normal. He doesn’t want to raise his kid brother, but he has to. He pines for the days before his mother died. The days spent playing with Cass in the backyard. Daniel is the only survivor of the grocery store murders.
Cass, the beautiful girl next door. She is dating West, but their relationship is passionless. She knows his secret but is content being his cover. Cass doesn’t like kids, not really. But she babysits for money. Her part in the Killing Day is more complicated than the others.
West, is a jock. A football player, and a talented one. Even though the small town seems to lose more than win. West hides a secret romance, and it’s not with Cass. When Killing Day comes he loses his young love.
Ellie, oh Ellie. She’s trying to save everyone like she was saved. Too bad she has never forgiven herself for the sins she committed. Ellie is by far the strongest character and even though she annoyed me I couldn’t help but cheer for her. Killing Day marked Ellie more than any other person.
There are a slew of minor characters that fill out the cast, and they all add their own dimensions to the book. I liked all the voices and POV’s but this is one of those cases where I wish the author would have picked on thread and told me the story through that person. Namely Jule.
The chemistry between the characters is interesting. In the beginning of the book they start out in completely different places, none actually talking to each other. By the end they are all reliant on each other to survive the crazy darkness that takes over the town. Overall the characters and their chemistry is great. I could have gone for some more romance, but that’s just me.
The plot: It was smooth, made sense and I didn’t see any huge plot holes. But I don’t search those out like others. As long as I am entertained I don’t usually question what I am being told. Yes, I realize I am a sheep.
The Horror: This book was scary and it was dark, but I wasn’t scared if that makes any sense. I felt safe in my own home. When I read books with horror sub themes (intentional or not) I want to be actually scared. Perhaps because this book is intended for younger readers it was tamed somewhat? But really I don’t think it was too much. It was full of blood and darkness.
The ending: The ending felt incomplete. I wanted to know what happens in the future, and we do get a glimpse. But it just wasn’t enough. Are the people safe from each other, are they safe around others? So much is left open. I hate open vague endings. :p
Overall the Waking Dark is a dark book. It’s full of tension and blood, and human emotions. It just fell a little flat for me.