Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $16.99, 330 pages
New York in the future: a city plunged into darkness following a terrorist attack and now more dependent on and manipulated by technology than ever. Amidst this, a group of people are thrown together in their individual searches for answers: Mal, a tough fighter who is looking for his missing brother; Laura – who has been forgotten by everyone in her life; Mike – a bitter teacher, and Remak – an agent for a mysterious research organization. The more they learn, the more they realize that the world is not what they thought and find that the search for answers may destroy not only them but the world around them.
In Those that Wake, Jesse Karp successfully creates a dystopian world of the future and nicely blends sci-fi with thriller. The book is less about the world and mystery surrounding it than it is about the characters. The novel touches on themes of self-worth, determination, and hope and uses the characters to explore why some have that internal strength and others don’t. While the ideas aren’t new, the author writes with a fresh take and makes them interesting. This is a wonderful debut novel and hopefully the first of many from this author.
Reviewed by Barbara Cothern