Wake Unto Me (ARC) by Lisa Cach
Pub. Date: March 31st, 2011
Age Level: 14+
Source: For review from author.
Synopsis via Goodreads
A haunted castle, a handsome young man dead for four hundred years, one heck of a scary portrait of a witch, and a treasure hunt -- not to mention a princess for a roommate! -- all await 15 year old American girl Caitlyn Monahan when she earns a scholarship to a French boarding school.
There are secrets behind the stone walls of Chateau de la Fortune, buried for centuries along with the mystery of who killed Raphael, the charming ghost who visits Caitlyn at night. But as Caitlyn unearths the history of the castle, nothing scares her as badly as the secret she learns about herself, and the reason she was chosen to come to the Fortune School.
And nothing breaks her heart as badly as falling in love with a dead guy.
Wake Unto Me is the thrilling and chilling Gothic YA debut from Lisa Cach, a book that surprised me by being much more than just a paranormal romance.
Early on, I knew that I was going to like Caitlyn. There was something about her that I found so relatable and I noticed we had quite a few things in common personality wise. She had her insecurities and vulnerabilities, making her realistic, but she was by no means a weak character. Caitlyn had more of a subtle strength about her, which I liked. She also had a longing for better things, not to mention the courage to try and make them happen. Another quality I really admired was her sense of humor, which was witty with a slight dryness about it. Then we have Raphael, the dashing and charismatic young man that occupies Caitlyn's dreams. And please, if there is a guy like that floatin' about in the real world, lemme know. As much as I loved both Caitlyn and Raphael, I thought the romance between the two of them, while I did like it, was something that would have worked a tad bit better had Caitlyn been a bit older than fifteen. Wake Unto Me contained a variety of intriguing supporting characters as well. First there's Amalia, Caitlyn's roommate at Chateau de la Fortune. Though a bit reserved, Amalia also has a very compassionate side to her and I think both Caitlyn and I were surprised to find that she wasn't the least bit arrogant, you know, considering she's a rich princess. Then we have Naomi, who's originally from Ghana, my favorite out of all of Caitlyn's fellow students. She was funny, a bit sassy, and someone I could easily see myself as having for a best friend. We also have Daniela and Brigitte, both of whom grew on me and also carried their own distinct personalities.
Wake Unto Me is richly layered with paranormal, historical, mystery, and romance elements. While this may sound overambitious, Cach pulls it all off, weaving everything together seamlessly and in a way that kept me hungry for more. Cach created quite a refreshing take on ghosts as well as other paranormal aspects of the plot. The deeply rooted history of Chateau de la Fortune and it's residents, past and present, was something that I wasn't quite expecting but found myself immensely captivated by. The mystery behind Caitlyn's dreams and what was happening left me filled with suspense and anxious to find out what would happen next. There were also some well placed twists thrown in that would trick me into thinking I had the answer only to realize I didn't. There only turned out to be a couple of things that I had figured out ahead of time. I think my only actual qualm with the plot would have to be that it took a little bit for everything to get going good, starting a bit slow. However, once the pace and story picked up, I couldn't put it down. All of that being said, considering Wake Unto Me's setting of a centuries old castle, turned boarding school, located in scenic France, I was destined to enjoy this book as I'm a total sucker for boarding schools with a history.
Cach's writing style pulled me deep into the story with its vivid descriptions and beautiful, smooth-flowing prose. I thought she did an expert job setting the mood and atmosphere for each scene entered into. However, there were a couple of times when it seemed that the details were done a little too meticulously, causing the writing to slightly slow in a few parts. There was also a minor over usage of exclamation points. However, both of these things may have been adjusted in the final copies and I thought that, overall, Cach had a gorgeous writing style.
I really liked how Cach ended things with Wake Unto Me, leaving just the right balance of tied and loose ends. I was left wanting more but there wasn't some huge, dramatic cliffhanger that was going to leave me wanting to hitch-hike to the author's house, sneak in ninja-style, and steal the manuscript for the sequel. While in theory that sounds like awesome fun, I'd probably set off an alarm and get arrested before I could even read it so it is just as well this book ended how it did.
All in all, Wake Unto Me proved to be a highly impressive and multi-faceted YA debut from established author, Lisa Cach. Wake Unto Me really did exceed my expectations and I strongly recommend it. Now...to wait for Lisa Cach to write and release the sequel. *taps finger on desk impatiently*
Cover: B- (Caitlyn is supposed to have black hair and pale skin.)
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Friday, March 25, 2011
Wake Unto Me (ARC) by Lisa Cach
Posted by ~The Book Pixie at 3/25/2011 08:48:00 AM