Friday, May 17, 2013

Book Review: Fade

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Blurb from lisamcmann.com: 


For Janie and Cabel, real life is getting tougher than the dreams.  They’re just trying to carve out a little (secret) time together, but no such luck.  Disturbing things are happening at Fieldridge High, yet nobody’s talking.  When Janie taps into a classmate’s violent nightmares, the case finally breaks open—but nothing goes as planned.  Not even close.  Janie’s in way over her head, and Cabe’s shocking behavior has grave consequences for them both.

Worse yet, Janie learns the truth about herself and her ability.  And it’s bleak.  Seriously, brutally bleak.  Not only is her fate as a Dream Catcher sealed, but what’s to come is way darker than she’d even feared....
  
******

I enjoyed Lisa McMann’s Wake so much that I picked up a copy of its sequel, Fade, just as soon as I could.  I was not disappointed.  I enjoyed Fade every bit as much as Wake, though the story was different in many ways.

In Wake, Janie is largely powerless against her dreams.  She is struggling to understand her own powers.  She has viewed her dream catching as a curse for so long; she is completely shocked at Captain’s revelations that she can learn there are other people like her, that she can learn to control her power, and that can use her power to help others.  That was all during the first semester of her senior year.

Fade takes place during the second semester of her senior year.  Even though only a short amount of calendar time has passed, many things in Janie’s life have shifted subtly.  She is learning to control her dreams, and this gives her a sense of control over her own life that she has never experienced before.  She is now employed undercover by Captain, so she has a regular paycheck and a healthy college scholarship to boot.  The future is no longer as scary as it once was.  Although their employment status as undercover agents prevents Janie and Cabel from going public with their romantic relationship, they connect more deeply with each other than they ever have with anyone else.  Of course, there’s still the matter of Janie’s deadbeat alcoholic mother—and oh yeah, also the paralyzing seizures that Janie experiences as a result of her dreamcatching.   But Janie and Cabe are certain they can work it all out.

At the beginning of the book, Captain calls Janie and Cabel into her office and lets them in on a top-secret assignment.  Over the past year, the help hotline has received two anonymous calls.  While both were garbled, they seem to indicate that there might be a sexual predator on the loose….. more specifically, a teacher who preys on students.  Janie’s assignment is to enter her classmates’ dreams to see if she can discover anything.  Cabel, meanwhile, is to use his charm to talk to classmates and see what he can learn.

At first, they come up with nothing.  But then, through a chance encounter, Janie begins to develop some suspicions.  As she follows her hunch, the pieces start to fall into place.  But the further she becomes involved in the situation, the more upset Cabe becomes.  And when Janie attends a party to help with police make an undercover bust, she learns too late that the situation is much bigger than she realized… and she risks losing Cabe forever.

As if that’s not enough drama for one book, there’s also the matter of a journal left behind for her by a previous Dream Catcher.  It details what Janie can expect out of her life if she continues to use her abilities… and Janie isn’t at all sure that this is a future that she wants.  But does she really have any kind of alternative?

I really love Janie as a character.  She is faced with all kinds of overwhelming problems, and while she has her (understandable) moments of despair, she never gives up.  She is an extremely strong character—and I happen to love her wisecracks as well.  She loves Cabel, but she refuses to just sit back and let him take care of her.  While she definitely has her fair share of moments of nausea at the thought of tracking down a sexual predator, she ultimately does it because she wants to keep other girls safe.  She points out that Cabel took on all kinds of danger in the previous book, so she cannot expect anything less of herself now.  She is smart and tough and vulnerable, all at the same time.  Very real and very well done.  Definitely looking forward to finishing out the trilogy by reading Gone!




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