Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Book Review: Wake Unto Me by Lisa Cach

Wake Unto Me by Lisa Cach
Release Date: March 31, 2011
Publisher: Speak
Pages: 304
Received: Library
Rating: 2 out of 5 stars
Goodreads Page


From 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.


As much fun as it is to hear about book long before their release date, it can also be a really bad thing. In the case of Wake Unto Me, I was so looking forward to reading about that charming ghost who visits Caitlyn at night but the reality didn’t live up to my expectations.

Can I strangle her, please?

CAITLYN! Ugh, I so hated her. She’s very angsty and she looks down on almost everyone around her because she’s convinced that she’s “special” and doesn’t belong with the rest of the inferior people around her.

The peons of Caitlyn’s world include not only her classmates, but also her entire living family…who clearly love her and go out of their way to treat her well. Right off the bat I hated the main character and wished nothing but very uncharitable thoughts on her.

Now, before you get too disappointed, keep in mind that I’m not the age of the target audience. When I was that age, I probably would have eaten this angst-fest up. Caitlyn reminded me very strongly of Jessica from Amelia Atwater-Rhodes’ book Demon in My View. I loved that book when I read it as a teen, and even though I kind of roll my eyes at Jessica now, I have enough nostalgic love to keep me rereading that book. So consider that when reading my thoughts on Caitlyn, for what it’s worth.

The ghostly romance that wasn't

I was expecting a ghostly romance, but that isn’t really what happens here. The guy is not a ghost. Instead, there’s time travel through Caitlyn's dreams. Ok, I could get on board with that given how much I love time travel, but I was disappointed that I was sold a ghost romance and then not given one.

The romance was also 100% INSTA love (major emphasis on the "insta"). It all happened so fast and that, combined with a lack of character development, made it so I couldn’t get into their romance at all.

Not only wasn’t he a ghost, but the guy himself was also just ok. There wasn’t anything wrong with him, but he wasn’t much more than a sketch of a generic caricature. I couldn’t help but compare him to Marcello and the guys in Lisa Bergren’s River of Time series (an EXCELLENT historical time-travel romance) and he just fell completely flat in comparison. I don’t even remember his name.

I would like it more if I actually understood it

There is so much potential here for this to be an awesome story. The plot points are fantastic and there are some truly original parts here. The problem is that none of it was developed enough for me. The delivery of information felt convoluted and unevenly paced.

I read through chapters and chapters about boring and irrelevant stuff like Caitlyn complaining about the food or her inability to find her classrooms and then there’s a dump of tons of information. The information chapters were great and I definitely enjoyed reading them, but the deluge of information that was only somewhat explained left me really confused.

It was fun reading about the historical parts and piecing them together, but I’m not sure I ultimately understand how it all works. I don’t get Caitlyn’s power and why it happened to HER of all people. I can’t ask my questions here without giving out major spoilers, but suffice it to say I have a ton of questions.

I think these questions were explained and I just didn’t understand the explanation, so it’s not like I’m supposed to have them and wait for a sequel for the answers. I don’t even remember them all now and, honestly, I don’t really care.

The historical parts were fun for me, but I think you really do have to be into history for them to be appealing. Frustratingly though, it also wasn't filled with historical factoids. So, it was pretty much too much historical fic for someone who doesn’t like that genre, but not enough for someone who does want that genre.

The evil but maybe not evil sisterhood thing also felt like a caricature with no original meat. They came into the story early on and then disappeared for most of the book. They didn’t serve much of a purpose outside of only tenuously explaining why Caitlyn is special. They had so much potential to be awesome, but their history, function, and goals were never fully explained. I don’t even know if they’re good or not.

Bottom line

I was disappointed by the mystery, but it did grab my attention well enough to keep me reading in spite of a main character I couldn’t stand. I can totally see why people would like the book because the basic story is pretty great (especially the "big reveal").

For me though, this felt way too much like a draft that needed more revisions. The original parts were wonderful, but were overshadowed by lack of development and too many cliches.

I don't know if this is supposed to be a standalone or not. It wraps up as if it is a standalone, but who can tell these days. If there is a sequel, I don't know, I guess I might give it a try through the library to see if the writing has caught up to the ideas.

Explanation of rating system: Star Rating Key 

Do you have any questions about Wake Unto Me that I haven't addressed? 
Feel free to ask in the comments!

Looking for another book like this? 
You might like: 

Click on the covers to go to my reviews.


  1. So the cover and synopsis tease us with a "ghost" love story and then flip it and give us a time travel romance? I hate that kind of marketing even though a ghost and time travel love stories are both of great interest to me. I'm disappointed and will probably steer clear of this especially when there are so many other books out there just waiting to be discovered.

  2. So, um, I'm not going to read this. It's rare for you to give such a negative review so I'm going to assume that this book is definitely not for me.

  3. I felt the same way. For me though it felt boring. It was such a disappointing read especially when you compare it to the River of Time series. Great honest review Small :)

  4. I bought this one like months ago and still haven't read it yet. Lol, I figured I'd wait for your detailed review after that email you sent and then thought you were just not going to bother with one. Sounds like there's no need for me to rush into this one what with you not even remembering the guy's name and the MC being annoying. I thought this one would be a ghost romance story too so it's a little disappointing to find out that it's not. Thanks for the review!

  5. How disappointing. I was interested in this book. It's awful when you can't stand the MC. Plus a cliched insta-love. It's extra disappointing when you were excited for it for such a long time.

  6. Eeek! I thought this one sounded pretty good (admittedly the French boarding school got me!) but after reading about all that insta-love, I think I'll be giving this a miss!

  7. oh no, really that bad? I thought he would be ghost too, that's disssapointing. MMMM, I am considering it deleting it from my wishlist.

  8. Small, it is difficult to live up to Marcello and Luca. ;D They are magnificent! :D Okay, I usually like books having to do with boarding schools (odd huh?), but this one doesn't sound like a good pick. I get so annoyed at being told one thing and getting something else. Part of the reason I had issues with The Immortals series by Alyson Noel. BUT, most of all I can't seem to get into insta-love. It drives me INSANE! Does that make me a cynic? Awesome review as always!

    In the Closet With a Bibliophile

  9. I've been waiting to read a review of this book because I've been debating on whether or not to read it. After your review, I can honestly say that I have no desire or patience to read a book that's not really developed. Sorry it was a huge disappointment for you. Thank you for an honest, thorough review, Small.

  10. Hmm, it's probably not a good sign if you're wishing uncharitable thoughts on a fictional character. She must be truly detestable then, ha.

    I'm surprised that this isn't a ghost romance! Could of fooled me with that cover.

  11. The potential sounds brilliant, but the follow-through sounds horrid, in my humble opinion. I'm so tired of mold-ready books....books that just fit the mold that was already proven. Fabulous honesty.

  12. Bookworm1858, Yup, the marketing/cover was such a tease. I would have had zero problem with it being a time travel book. I don't know why they chose to market it otherwise.

    Rubita, Yep, usually I DNF if I'm disliking a book this much. But the plot does have so much potential so I kept reading. I don't think you'd like the MC or romance very much at all.

    Nic, I know, right? Doesn't hold a candle to TRoT series. I was bored a lot too.

    A Canadian Girl, Nope, I wouldn't rush to get to it. You might as well try it since you own it though. I did think the "big reveal" was really cool

    Alison, Very true. I was SO looking forward to this book, mostly because I thought I'd get a slower burn ghost romance. Even more disappointing is that what was written could have bee awesome.

    Leanna, VERY insta-love!

    Nina, It really did have a ton of potential and I know some people loved it. But for me, yeah, it was really that bad.

    Jen, Haha very true, not many can hold up to a comparison with Luca and Marcello :) I love boarding school books too. I can't get into insta-love AT ALL. It totally bores me.

    Rummanah Aasi, The lack of development is really my biggest gripe I think. It could have been so much better if more attention had been paid to fully developing all of the ideas.

    Aylee Haha, and "uncharitable thoughts" is very much a euphemism!

    Melissa, The potential was so amazing. The big reveal was one of the coolest I've read, so it's super disappointing that the development was so poor. It was like one brilliant idea sandwiched between, exactly as you put it, every mold-ready plot device.

  13. The build up for this one didn't really do anything for me because I'm not really into to ghostly romances, but then to find out that it's not really a ghost that is visiting Caitlyn is nuts because that's what it's been sold as. no?

    I need my book guys to be swoon worth, otherwise, what's the point?

  14. OMG I love your review. So funny and honest.


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