The Waking Dark by Robin Wasserman

October 4th, 2013 Kimberly Review 94 Comments

4th Oct
The Waking Dark by Robin Wasserman
The Waking Dark
by Robin Wasserman
Genres: Horror
Source: Publisher
Purchase*: Amazon *affiliate
Rating: One StarOne StarOne StarOne Star

They called it the killing day. Twelve people dead, all in the space of a few hours. Five murderers: neighbors, relatives, friends. All of them so normal. All of them seemingly harmless. All of them now dead by their own hand . . . except one. And that one has no answers to offer the shattered town. She doesn't even know why she killed—or whether she'll do it again.Something is waking in the sleepy town of Oleander's, Kansas—something dark and hungry that lives in the flat earth and the open sky, in the vengeful hearts of upstanding citizens. As the town begins its descent into blood and madness, five survivors of the killing day are the only ones who can stop Oleander from destroying itself. Jule, the outsider at war with the world; West, the golden boy at war with himself; Daniel, desperate for a different life; Cass, who's not sure she deserves a life at all; and Ellie, who believes in sacrifice, fate, and in evil. Ellie, who always goes too far. They have nothing in common. They have nothing left to lose. And they have no way out. Which means they have no choice but to stand and fight, to face the darkness in their town—and in themselves.

Creep-tastic, yep that is the first word that comes to mind after reading The Waking Dark by Robin Wasserman. This compelling tale set in Oleander, Kansas will send chills down your spine with its blend of science-fiction and horror. If you recently spent the summer watching, “Under the Dome” by Stephen King. this tale offers a similar yet darker tale that will keep you reading and searching for answers. Three-word review: Spine-tingling, atmospheric and captivating.

From the very first pages, The Waking Dark draws the reader in and doesn’t let go. It begins with what the town later refers to as “Killing Day”. In the course of a few hours, twelve people die by five separate murders. Five individuals witness the horrific incidences and are left baffled. All of the murderers are dead except one and she does not remember a thing. The event shatters the town and is the catalyst for awakening something evil in this small, nowhere town. As things escalate the five survivors of Killing Day are forced to work together, to stop the madness that is unfolding. Wasserman’s tale kept me riveted as I delved into this mind-blowing tale.

Wasserman did an excellent job of fleshing out the characters in this sleepy little Kansas town. She does so by using multiple POVs, and it worked brilliantly. Told in the third person, we instantly recognize each voice while not becoming overly attached allowing the plot to take the stage. The five survivors of Killing Day are like the gang from the Breakfast Club. We have Jule Prevette who lives in the trailer park with her drug-using Mom and her latest husband. She is always on guard from his wondering eyes. Jeremiah West dubbed the “golden boy” is struggling with his own identity and the loss of someone he loved. Cass, the murderer who survived but doesn’t think she should have. Then there is Daniel the son of a deranged preacher and protector of his younger brother, Milo. Ellen King is a bible thumper who communicates with God and holds dark secrets. Grace Tucker is plotting revenge. Of all of the characters, my favorite was Daniel and Jule followed by West. The author makes us privy to their fears and thoughts keeping me engaged. Other characters in town add to the ominous tone and a female doctor raises questions.

The Waking Dark with its high body count and chilling action scenes push the limits on young adult horror. Fans of Stephen King and his quirky characters and chilling tales will enjoy Waking Dark. As events unfold, we beginning to gather information keeping the reader on edge regarding the evil that is overtaking this town. Wesserman delivered a tight, intense tale that doesn’t allow you to set it down after a few chapters, so plan ahead! When the town is quarantined religion, science and government conspiracies help to further unhinge the already unstable town. Questions are raised regarding faith, war, and humanity which added depth. While I am not sure I completely bought the reasons why events occurred, I can tell you it was creepy and thought-provoking. The world-building was beautifully done Wesserman painted both the town and the characters in such a way that I found myself inside the tale tagging along with the characters.

Chilling, dark and one of the best horror books I have read in the young adult genre the Waking Dark is a must-read for fans of the horror genre. Wesserman’s writing style is delightfully captivating, and one I hope to read again soon.

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About Kimberly
Kimberly is a coffee loving book addict who reads and listens to fictional stories in all genres. Whovian, Ravenclaw and Howler. She owns and manages Caffeinated PR. The coffee is always on and she is ready to chat. Find @kimbacaffeinate on Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

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94 Responses to “The Waking Dark by Robin Wasserman”

  1. Vivien

    I love unreliable narrators because you just never know if they will turn on you!

  2. Jennifer

    It always scares me when an author can take something absolutely normal and everyday and turn it into something completely creepy. Like using well known songs that can become sinister when paired with the right atmosphere and events. For example, this isn’t a book, but in the previews for the movie The Conjuring that came out in July, they used “Hurdy Gurdy Man” by Donovan. That song was perfect to set the creepy ass mood the movie needed which made me want to see it. Plus, in the preview and the movie they used “Time of the Season” by the Zombies, and that song creeps me out now. Never did before. Very thoughtful and awesome review! 😀

    • kimbacaffeinate

      Agreed, and now some of those sound tracks freak me out and evoke memories of those creepy moments!

  3. HollyB

    Yay!! I have REALLY been wanting to read this book! I am definitely more a fan of psychological suspense-type horror, as opposed to that which relies more on gore and violence. (Don’t get me wrong – I watched all of the Friday the 13th and Nightmare on elm Street movies when younger — but I have a more refined palate now ;-)) I do love Stephen King and have read most of his books. Anyway, glad you loved this, and I’m sure I will, too! I’m looking forward to reading it!

    Thanks for the giveaway and review!

    • kimbacaffeinate

      I agree, I use to love all the blood and gore but prefer the mental head trip now.

  4. Ange

    It is the psychological side of things that scares me in a good horror novel. I can deal with all the disgusting and gruesome bits, but once it starts to screw with my mind, I am totally freaked out!

    • kimbacaffeinate

      I know exactly what you mean Ange..but it is creepy good when that happens!

  5. Caitlin

    Super excited to read this book. I always think the best horror stories are those where the “monster” is a person. Any horror story worth it snuff usually ties the monster into something about human nature, but it has such a bigger, creepier impact when it’s actually a human rather than some fantasy creature we can distance ourselves from.

    • kimbacaffeinate

      I so agree Caitlin, it does add to the fear and thrill factor. Good luck!

  6. Alina

    Really looking forward to this one. I always get really into horror books around Halloween so definitely going to add this to my wishlist. I love creepy, dark and surprising stories with great characters. Thanks for the review and giveaway!

    • kimbacaffeinate

      You are welcome and this is a perfect Halloween read:)

  7. Kay

    You sold me the second you said it was creep-tastic! I actually really enjoyed The Book of Blood and Shadow by this author so I’m looking forward to giving this a try. It also seems like the perfect choice for this spooky month. I will have to read it!

  8. Gayle Pace

    What is scary to me is when something unexpected happens out of the blue. I don’t scare easy but sometimes.

  9. Claira Pam

    Oooh, this sounds fascinating!! Definitely have to add it to my list. 🙂

    • kimbacaffeinate

      This was so good, I hope you get a chance to read it 🙂

  10. Veronica Vasquez

    Thanks for the review! This book sounds awesome! Now on my must-read list as I’m a HUGE horror fan! For me, I love suspenseful horror the most

  11. Anita Yancey

    Great review, it definitely has me interested in the book. Sounds like an amazing story, and I love all the suspense. Will be putting it on my TBR list. Thanks for having this giveaway.

  12. Berls

    I have a love/hate relationship with horror. When it’s really good I love it and it easily becomes one of my favorite reads. But if it’s really good, it also scares the shit out of me and I can’t sleep! I haven’t actually read Stephen King b/c I’m too scared lol. But he’s on my TBR and I’m adding this one too. Great review Kimba.

    • kimbacaffeinate

      Stephen King doesn’t always scare, The Stand and It did scare me, but others are suspenseful. This was chilling, and creepy but not a honey can you check the bathroom for monsters cause I gotta pee kinda read.

  13. Trish

    The Under the Dome reference drew me in. It is only airing here over the last 4 or 5 weeks and I’m loving it. Lovely review Kim, sounds scare-tastic 🙂 It will have to be added to the list.

  14. Kelli

    I love horror novels and Stephen King. Although I haven’t watched The Dome, I have read the book and absolutely loved it. Great review, I’m putting it on my to-read list this minute!

    • kimbacaffeinate

      I loved the book two Kelli, of course I love most of King’s books. 🙂

  15. Angie F.

    I don’t read a lot of Horror novels, but I’ve been hearing such fantastic things about this one so far!

    Pretty much anything jumping out and grabbing someone is sure to get my heart rate up!

    • kimbacaffeinate

      This was suspenseful, and might be worth the heart acceleration..LOL

  16. Kristin

    I might be the only person on the planet who doesn’t like Stephen King and his novels. That’s why I’m kind of wondering if I’d like this story. I love a good suspense and lots of chop, chop with blood everywhere. But Stephen King is so weird.

    I might just add this title and give a try for this month – get into the season 🙂 Awesome, awesome review!!!! And thanks for the giveaway!!!
    psttt. sorry I haven’t been around – homeschool has been kickin’ my ass!!!

    • kimbacaffeinate

      It isn’t like his writing it is more like the small town settings he uses and there are some similarities to the Dome. i have been thinking of you Ms. Teacher 🙂

  17. Jaime

    I’m just starting this book, I’m glad you found it chilling. that’s exactly what I’m looking for in an October read :). I definitely agree on the comparison to Stephen King, many of his books deal with small town evil in a similar way.

    • kimbacaffeinate

      Oh I am glad you like my comparison and hope you enjoy it as much as I did Jaime 🙂

  18. Amy Quinn

    I love horror books. I think the scariest ones feature things that could actually happen to you. This book looks great.

  19. Traci

    I have read so many reviews on this book…dying to read it!!!
    Stephen King type stories dcary me, because sometimes they are rooted in reality!!! Seriously, how scary would The Stand be in real life..???

  20. Hillary R.

    I think what scares me most is the suspense. I hate when things jump out at you out of nowhere and you never expect it in the first place. Other than that, I’m not easily scared.

  21. Elizabeth

    Great review. I am not a fan of scary movies and stuff. But this sounds like the perfect Halloween read & you pretty much had me at Under the dome – my new favorite show ever (:

    • kimbacaffeinate

      We loved the show too Elizabeth and this has a similar vibe 🙂

  22. Kimberly

    I saw this one on my library’s new arrival shelf and I should have grabbed it but I didn’t have my cell with me to look it up online to see what people were saying about it and now I’m really regretting it. There’s always next time though.

    • kimbacaffeinate

      Ooo well maybe you will win in if not there is next time 🙂

  23. Melissa (Books and Things)

    I’ve just found out that I can handle reading horror more than I can see it. I’m also glad you say it is better then the tv version of “Under the Dome” (oh I’ve watched it, but it annoys me so much… don’t ask me why I keep watching rather than reading the book… LOL). Don’t know if I’m brave enough to pick this one up, but I just might get the courage to do it.

    I’m not sure what is the creepiest thing for me other than the atmosphere since, like I say… I just found out I can handle horror books! YaY me. LOL

    • kimbacaffeinate

      I loved this Melissa, and oh yeah..i cannot watch horror and gore but I can read it!

    • kimbacaffeinate

      Agreed, I love mixing it up as well. A little smooching, a little killing..LOL

  24. Jenea

    I saw this at my library, and I knew I should have picked it up. Sounds awesome. Wonderful review.

    • kimbacaffeinate

      LOL, maybe you will win it, if not next time ya can pick it up!

    • kimbacaffeinate

      Ha, no and you are usually the fist to comment on all of my posts…I am glad you are ok!

  25. Maja (The Nocturnal Library)

    I adore a good horror story, be it adult or YA, so to have its boundaries pushed in the YA territory sounds fantastic to me. I am SO looking forward to this.
    Thanks for the lovely review, Kim!

  26. Michelle

    It totally freaks me out when you see someone in the mirror behind you or someone is in your room in the dark. Those scenes always have me peeking over my shoulder when i read about them.

    This book does look creeptastic.

    Thanks for the great review Kimba!

    Michelle @ Book Briefs

    • kimbacaffeinate

      Ooo I know what you mean Michelle, and I get scared by my family all the time. I will be reading or blogging and they will come into my room and speak and I just scream..they of course love this!

    • kimbacaffeinate

      I agree Tammy I love when you are never really sure if they are good or evil. 🙂

  27. Candace

    Yeah, I’m pretty sure this is just too scary for me. I mean, just the description freaks me out! I am seeing the author this weekend and it’s possible that on her panel she’ll be very convincing, but we’ll see. I’m glad this one worked well for you though!

    • kimbacaffeinate

      Ooo tell her the Caffeinated Book Reviewer loved her book 🙂

  28. Carl

    I find the unexpected to be the most frightening thing in the horror genre, books or movies. Just when you get comfortable something jumps out of a dark corner. It’s fun too.

  29. Beth

    This book sounds wicked good! I love a good horror movie! Especially one that I can read late at night and it gives me chills!!!

    • kimbacaffeinate

      Agreed, Beth and I hope you get a chance to curl up with this one 🙂

  30. Giselle

    Wasn’t this super violent and kind of awesome? I loved how it was told in multiple POVs but in a way that made it the story of the whole town and not anyone in particular. Though it did focus on a smaller group after a while but still. I thought it was brilliantly done on that front and it was also freaky as hell! Glad you enjoyed it too, Kimba!

    • kimbacaffeinate

      I was really pleased with this as well Giselle, it stands out in the crowd!

  31. kindlemom1

    I am so excited that you loved this one because I really wanted to try it! I have really enjoyed her other work so I was hoping the dual POVs and everything else was well done.

    This is one I want to try for sure. I think I am more creeped out by books that could be real, things that really do go bump in the night.

    • kimbacaffeinate

      I loved it Ali and found the world-building and suspense to be solid.

  32. Lupdilup

    Alright! Just in time for Halloween 🙂 I had admit, that cover got me here..LOL.
    I like to switch into something really different than what I normally read or listen to (once in a while), and this sounds like the perfect palate cleanser.

  33. Mary

    I’m scared but I also kind of want to read this book. October’s the perfect month for it — I can curl up with my tea and a warm dog to protect me while reading a creepy story like this one!

    • kimbacaffeinate

      Yes, dogs can sense things, and this is perfect for fall!

    • kimbacaffeinate

      I am sorry, I do have a few international giveaways this month though, so hang in there!

  34. Michelle

    I’m reading this right now and I completely agree! That first chapter had me so creeped out I regretted reading it so close to bedtime. Great review Kimba, I’m glad you enjoyed it

  35. Danielle D

    This sounds like such a great scary read, I’ve seen this at the bookstore and was thinking of grabbing it, so glad to see that you liked it. 🙂