Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Gone Satisfying End to Wake Trilogy

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

(Note: Although this review will not contain spoilers for Gone, it may inadvertently reveal plot surprises from the first two books in the trilogy. As always, I recommend reading books in a series in order.)

After reading her late mentor's files, 18-year-old Janie Hanagan knows the truth about her unique dream-catching abilities. She knows what her future will look like if she keeps using her "talent" to help the police track down criminals - she'll be a blind cripple before she reaches her 30th birthday. She'll be useless, a lifelong burden to anyone stupid enough to love her. Janie might be able to handle that fate, but she can't doom Cabel Strumheller to a life like that. He deserves someone normal. The best thing to do, the kindest thing, is to break up with him now, freeing him to go off to college and find himself a normal girlfriend.

Janie's still mulling it all over when she gets a frantic phone call from her best friend, urging her to get to the hospital as fast as she can. It's not Janie's alcoholic mother who's been admitted - not this time - but her father. Henry Feingold's a stranger to Janie and, now that he's in a coma, she may never get a chance to know him. Not that she wants to chitchat with the man who abandoned her as a baby. Still, his bizarre dreams beckon to her. In spite of herself, she's drawn into them. As she walks through Henry's injured mind, Janie becomes obsessed with making sense of the man who helped give her life. But when she discovers the shocking truth about her father, Janie's already bleak future begins to look downright dismal. She can't subject Cabel to that. Heck, she's not sure she can subject herself to that. As Janie tries to make peace with it all, she'll have to make some gut-wrenching decisions - about her future, about Cable, about herself.

Although nothing in Gone, the final book in Lisa McMann's Wake trilogy, really surprised me, it still kept me entertained. McMann, I've realized, is a master at pulling readers into her books, seducing them with quick action and snappy chapters that beg to be whipped through as fast as possible. It helps that she writes well, creating sympathetic characters who grapple with problems that are realistic, yet unique enough to be interesting. And then there's the paranormal twist, which gives this story an added intrigue. Still, as much as I liked the first book in the series, I wasn't impressed with the second. As for Gone, even though I found it predictable, I still thought it a satisfying end to Janie's story. Maybe I didn't love, love, love it, but I liked it well enough.

(Readalikes: Wake and Fade by Lisa McMann)

Grade: B-

If this were a movie, it would be rated: R for strong language, sexual content and depictions of underrage drinking

To the FTC, with love: Another library fine find

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