Pros: It’s good to see what happens next, but…
Cons: Wishy-washy heroine; too much back-and-forth; less focus on the unique; bland characters
Theia has returned to her home in Serendipity Falls, but she is no longer entirely human. The blood of a demon runs in her veins, and she finds it harder and harder to resist the hunger that hits her so hard—a hunger for human life essence. She bargained her humanity away to save Hayden, the boy she loves, but now she pushes him away, believing they can’t ever be together. Then the students at their school succumb one by one to a wasting illness, and she suspects Hayden of causing it. All of that would be bad enough, but the nightmare realm of Under keeps pulling at her through her dreams, trying to lure her and Hayden back. And it’s willing to play dirty to get them.
Gwen Hayes’s Falling Under blew me away. The imagery was fantastic. The world was delightfully unique. Unfortunately, this meant Dreaming Awake had a lot to live up to—and it failed to do so.
What seemed like an understandably tempestuous and confused relationship before, now seems over the top in its back-and-forth nature. Theia should have grown at least a bit from the events of the last book, but instead she seems whiny and wishy-washy. Sure, folks do stupid things, especially in the chaos of growing up, but Dreaming Awake took this too far. She keeps ignoring the obvious, and thus comes across as obtuse and unobservant. She went from being understandably conflicted to being the sort of heroine one wants to give a good shake to in the hopes of jarring some common sense into her brain. It didn’t help that Hayden, who made a fascinating impression last time, is fairly bland through most of this book. In fact, most of the characters seemed to have lost some of their luster.
It seems to me as though Hayes sacrificed the aspects of Falling Under that made it so beautifully unique in order to create a more mainstream, ordinary paranormal YA book in Dreaming Awake. And that’s a shame, because we already have plenty of those.
[NOTE: review book provided by publisher]