- Paperback: 226 pages
- Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (November 15, 2013)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1493750461
- ISBN-13: 978-1493750467
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.5 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 14.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars See all reviews (311 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,723,920 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Waking Up Dead Paperback – November 15, 2013
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The prose is flawless, comprehensible, and frank. The plot is well-constructed and not redundant with other tangential details. It has a clear direction and great twists from start to finish. I liked the friendship pairing of Callie and Ashara. I absolutely adored the funny and wise Maw-Maw. When Stephen joins the group, the unofficial, somewhat vigilante crime-solving team felt complete. The ending is great with a cliffhanger that promises more things to come for protagonist Callie Taylor and her living friends. Simply put, this is an excellent and faultless paranormal series. ~Lit Amri
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Top Customer Reviews
The main character is fairly average, and yet the plot and writing seem to stumble along with her, and there's a difference between writing in the first person voice and writing in stream of consciousness. This definitely wasn't stream of consciousness, but it struggled with the inexperience of the main character, Callie, as though it was stream of consciousness. Next, Callie works with an African American woman and her grandmother, and while I never felt insulted by the poor characterization, it really felt like a white woman writing a book and trying to capture the character of two generations of educated black women in the south; but doing it very poorly. Think of a junior high school play. The kids all seem like they're acting, and it feels forced, and doesn't feel real. That's the way these women felt, like Ms Collins has had frank conversations with black friends, or taken some sociology classes in college, but doesn't really understand the culture. Finally, the male lead, Stephen, just comes across like a stupid, brutish guy with a big heart. That would be fine if that fit with what she has him doing, but it doesn't. The relationship between Ashara and Stephen feels forced, and the final sequence seemed like it was just put into the book because Ms Collins read someplace that a book needs a real action packed climax sequence. How the character called Howard got a hold of Ashara and her grandmother to kidnap them is never addressed, and based on previous actions would probably have made more sense for the action packed climax than what Ms Collins does instead.
All in all, it's just very poor writing, it isn't very well thought out, and there are so many possibilities that I saw while reading the book that were never capitalized on by the author that it really feels like you're on a road trip, but someone else is driving, you're kind of hungry, or maybe need to stop for a bathroom break, and you keep seeing signs on the side of the highway advertising gas stations and restaurants, but the driver keeps passing them, completely unaware that these would all solve the issue at hand. I wanted to like the book. I really did. I loved the premise. It's just not well written.
Callie, Ashara and Maw-Maw are all pleasantly sarcastic. Stephen provides a good grounding for the group. The mystery kept me guessing for a long time and the writing is crisp, clean and well edited. I read the whole thing in an evening and enjoyed every moment of it.
I only have one real complaint, but it's oddly also wrapped up in an uncomfortable compliment. Race plays a role in this novel. America and Americans often walk on eggshells where this is concerned. With our history, it's hard not to. Even non-racists are often awkwardly aware of their white-privilege and overly conscientious about trying not to do anything to even inadvertently offend someone. Despite best intentions, a lot of the country hasn't reached the point that they can be comfortably unaware. (It's questionable that they should be able to, given that we haven't reached true parity yet.) I love that as a white author Ms. Collins didn't shy away from the subject or the horrible history of it. But at times Ashara and Maw-Maw's dialogue felt very much like what it is, written by a white woman in the imagined tone of a black woman. Ashara and Maw-Maw felt too aware of themselves as African American and Callie as white. They reminded Callie, and therefore the reader, of it constantly, compromising its ability to feel natural. Don't get me wrong, at no time did this feel offensive or as if the author meant any disrespect. It just didn't feel real either.
All in all, though, I'd highly recommend this novel to anyone looking for a cute, feel-good book. If it weren't early February, I'd call it a great beach read.