This book has the most amazing beginning. Gripping, edge of your seat stuff. Bunch of people end up in a small coastal town, each for a differing reason, and find the residents have gone psychotically crazy. They’re hacking each other to bits, attacking anyone who comes near. They also discover that they are stuck in the town, locked in by a mysterious force field. If you think that this is a hell of a lot like Stephen King’s novel Under The Dome, you’re not wrong. Apart from the crazy, it’s exactly like that.
Unfortunately, just as Stephen King’s novel had a more than intriguing concept and a brilliant beginning, both novels share a third similarity: a bloated, far too long, and far too earnest middle. I’m sorry, I’ve read rave reviews of Elizabeth Knox’s book Wake and I just don’t know where they’re coming from. But then again this is something else she shares with the Stephen King novel.
The fact is that the greater part of this book, at least two thirds, is boring. We get the survivors trying to, well, survive basically. They have to bury the dead bodies of all the crazy people, who if they didn’t kill each other, just died. They have to round up all the dogs, feed the cats. There’s a mysterious survivor, a woman who hacked off her own breast, and yet didn’t die like the rest of the crazy residents. There’s a mysterious man in black who avoids them. As the novel goes on it’s revealed that what made the villagers go mad is till there, preying on their minds subtly, and some of the survivors start to go a little crazy.
It’s all quite dull to be honest. The book just never recaptures the promise of the beginning, even towards the end when you would assume it would pick up pace again. There were times where I nearly gave up on this novel. The only thing which kept me going was the promise of the brilliant beginning. I just kept thinking, “surely a book that starts so well can’t stay this dull?” But I’m afraid that it did.
To be fair while the ending wasn’t exciting, it did have a good concept behind it. I can see that the author had thought through where she wanted the plot to go. It’s just a pity she couldn’t carry the novel off with the flair it deserved.
I would give this book 2 out of 5 stars.