Monday, January 9, 2012

Book Review: Dreaming Awake (Falling Under #2) by Gwen Hayes

Release Date: January 3, 2012
(Thank you to ATWT for letting me participate in this tour!)
Published by: NAL Trade

Dreaming Awake (Falling Under #2) by Gwen Hayes

She fell for him in a nighttime world. But the time for dreaming is past—and the here-and-now can be just as fragile their love… 

When Theia Alderson first encountered a mysterious, handsome boy in her dreams, she never imagined how finding Haden Black—and falling in love—could change her life. To save Haden, Theia sacrificed everything. And the dangerous bargain she made could have lasting repercussions. 

Now Theia has returned to Serendipity Falls, and she finds herself struggling with the same deadly hungers that have tortured Haden. When students at their high school fall prey to a mysterious illness, Theia can’t help but wonder if Haden’s control is slipping—and how much longer she’ll have a grip on her own. 

And still the nightmare realm of Under won’t let them go. Someone from Haden’s past is determined to destroy Theia from the inside out, starting with those closest to her, forcing Theia to choose between family and friends and a love that may have been doomed from the start…

Ten Likes/Dislikes:

1. (+) Theia, the protagonist - What I really enjoyed seeing was how much stronger Theia was in Dreaming Awake than in Falling Under. She's no longer that shy, sheltered girl; in fact, at some points, she's really outgoing (without it being out of character) and confident and I was rooting hardcore for her stepping out of her shell. Her character really developed, especially as she struggled with her power.
2. (+) Side characters - I still really enjoy the banter between Gabe and Donny. Ame steps in the spotlight in this novel, and in general, all the side characters were better developed than they were in Falling Under. This was definitely one of the novel's high points.
3. (--) World-building - .... Okay, so at first, I was really enjoying the world-building. You get to find out more about Theia's new power and what it means for her and even see Ame and Varnie in their full glory. You get some snippets of Under too... But the turning point, which I rant about it later, introduced so much of Under which confused me that I wanted to stop reading. It was so sudden and trippy and frustrating. I needed to be eased into this more than I was.
4. (--) The Romance - I had never really gotten Haden's appeal, but there was something lush about the romance in Falling Under that made me think of it hours after I had read the book... Here not so much. I am seriously considering never reading another paranormal romance novel again. I am sick and tired of reading about heroines nearly swooning simply because the romantic interest is gorgeous (i.e Theia and Haden). I would've thought that as Theia gained confidence, which she did in this novel, that she would stop overemphasizing his hotness. Also, I swear it's like a condition of YA paranormal romance novels to add some complication to explain why the characters can't have sex despite their HUGE yearning for each other. It'd be fine if it showed you something about the characters (i.e. Divergent - Tris being scared of intimacy because of what her former faction was like) but more than half the time it has to do with some otherworldly power saying that if you do this, it'll be your death! Or something incredibly ridiculous. And I get that it adds another conflict to their relationship, but more than half the times (i.e. here), it feels more like an excuse to not address the sex issue in YA.
5. (--) Ending - Just because you have character growth doesn't mean you have to jump all the way off the edge with it. There was some foreshadowing, but what really ticked  me off was how the ending was achieved. It wasn't fully explained what was going on at what time and how the characters got into that position, and though it says "Down is Up" and "Up is Down" and though you're supposed to be disoriented, I don't think I was supposed to be as disoriented and clueless as I was... The ending became really disappointing for me.
6. (--) The Little Snippets from Haden - In Falling Under, I thought that the italicized third person Haden snippets were kind of interesting. Here, they didn't seem to add much to the novel. They introduce you to something Haden is doing on the side... but I feel like there are so many other and much better ways of doing that than randomly inserting his perspective into the narrative. It also slowed the pace.
7. (+) The Sinister Mood - One thing that Gwen Hayes really does well is create a sinister mood even in the midst of something beautiful.
8. (+) Writing - Gwen Hayes has always had a certain way of writing that made her world building seem lush and new and still creepy. Definitely present in this novel too.
9. (--) Pacing - This book is really uneven in pacing. At first it was slow and had the creepy factor going for it since I didn't know what exactly was happening to Serendipity Falls... and then it hit the turning point and things went bat shit crazy and I had no clue what was going because it was too fast (and too strange/random) for me to follow.
10. (+/-) Cover - I like that it matches the Falling Under cover, but this one doesn't really fit the book all that well. Many colored flowers might have worked better than the roses...

Sorry to say that this sequel didn't live up to its predecessor.


  1. Hmm, I was curious about reading this but now not so much. I have a feeling that if I read it and actually make it through to the end I'll finish with a giant question mark over my head thinking WTF. Being a fan of paranormal romance, you make me wary. Then again, I know how you are with the insta-love and the really gorgeous/beautiful love interest in YA so...I'll have to think about reading this now :/

  2. :P I don't feel that way about all paranormal romance (i.e. I loved NIGHTSHADE); I only dislike the ones that have too much about the pretty boys as you say. Also, the insta-love doesn't bother me in DREAMING AWAKE 'cause it already happened--that was FALLING UNDER. DA was picking up their romance, but I didn't feel like they had much chemistry.


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