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Wake | Robert J Sawyer | Review

Wake is the first in a trilogy and follows a trilogy of interweaving stories centred around the awakening of the World Wide Web.

There’s a virus outbreak remote villages in rural China. To stop it from spreading, the Chinese government commences an operation to contain the disease, avoid global panic and cover their tracks for another publicity disaster. They set out a lock down on all International communication. No overseas television broadcast, no radio, no Internet.

In a Californian Zoo, Shoshona Glick (a researcher and graduate student) and Dr Harl Marcuse are working alongside Hobo – a chimpanzee hybrid – who can communicate through basic sign language. Hobo starts to display some impressive communicative and cerebral skills, that are broadcast and attracts the attention of the Georgia Zoo - his original birthplace and the place Marcuse had rescued Hobo from castration.

Caitlin Decter is teenage genius with an addiction to the Internet. She’s also blind but has managed just fine for the majority of her life with feisty attitude and insightful intuition. Now settled in Canda with her parents, Caitlin is offered an opportunity to have new experimental surgery in Tokyo which could restore her sight. She travels across to meet a Japanese scientist, called Kudora, who fits her with an implant – which she playfully coins and ‘eyepod’ – and sets her up with patches and downloads which link her to the Internet.

When she returns to Canada, strange images start to blur into Caitin’s once dark vision that don’t match up what’s really in front of her in the real world.

So what’s my verdict?

Wake is an incredibly complex novel and the fact there are three different stories happening at the same time only adds to it’s complexity. But the book is first and foremost centred around the character of Caitlin and her link to this mysterious awakening of the web thanks to her ‘eye pod’. 

Despite her disability, Caitin herself is already a strong minded and incredibly intelligent girl. Obviously the offer to get her sight back is alluring, and the inclusion of scientific justification and theory behind it does make it feel like it’s possible. This use of mix of factual concepts and science fiction is woven throughout the whole of Wake, with much of the dialogue between Caitlin and Kudora feeling like it comes from an academic journal. This can slow the pace at times and I admittedly found some of wording quite difficult to follow, though it does add to the authenticity of the story. 

The other plot lines in the book aren’t quite resolved by the end of the book, which is a little frustrating, but as the novel comes to an end it is quite satisfying to see the three stories begin to interlink and answer questions asked in the other stories.

I’m definitely intrigued by what happens next, especially concerning Caitlin's new abilities and it’s implications on the other plot lines! 

Reading Soundtrack:

Fix You: Coldplay; Eyes Closed: The Narrative; Read My Mind: The Killers; Metal & Dust: London Grammar; Titanium: David Guetta ft Sia; Counting Stars: OneRepublic; Just Keep Breathing: We The Kings

For lovers of

Flashforward, Fringe and Neil Gaiman.

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