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3.67  ·  Rating details ·  721 ratings  ·  139 reviews
An invisible monster is what you can't see coming. With an invisible monster you never know when you're in danger and when you're safe—if you retreat to your fortress you can't be sure you haven't locked it in with you. The invisible monster is something on which no one is an expert. But everyone has the same relationship to it. It could just as well be peering over your s ...more
Paperback, 443 pages
Published 2016 by Corsair (first published November 1st 2013)
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3.67  · 
Rating details
 ·  721 ratings  ·  139 reviews

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Feb 07, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to karen by: mike reynolds
maggie has added her two cents to the end of the review.

this is a very satisfying addition to world of the horror/sci-fi genre-blend.

a lazy person would say "this is Under the Dome with zombies*" and call it a day. but while that's a decent, if glib, encapsulation of the kind of story this is, it's much more layered than that. this is something completely new. at first, it does indeed seem to be a zombie story as people in the small new zealand settlement of kahukura start freaking the fuck out
Dylan Horrocks
OK, so I drew the cover on this book, so I should be biased. But actually, I avoided reading it for months because the excerpt I'd been sent to base the cover on was so potent and chilling I was frankly a bit scared of reading the rest.

Well, I shouldn't have worried. Wake is disturbing, and it did cost me some sleep, but it was so very worth it. Terrible things happen, but somehow it was made less horrible because the characters were there with me - an ensemble of fascinating, complex, utterly h
Liz Barnsley
So, what to say about Wake then. Well firstly I read this in a day, got extremely annoyed every time I had to do other things, so utterly utterly addictive was it that it really should come with some kind of warning. Not only because it will take over your life for a while but because afterwards you may find that you have a heightened perception of your surroundings and not necessarily in a good way. The type of novel that will come back and haunt you when you least expect it, those of course be ...more
Jan 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014
There's an image early on in Wake that I will never forget. The character through whose eyes we're observing the impossible spots a couple embracing. She judges them; she's disturbed by their obliviousness to the chaos and horror surrounding them. And then she realizes that they're not kissing, after all. They are gnawing each other's faces.

Wake contains other, more disturbing, scenes: self-mutilation, thoughtless and unstoppable, mass burials, rage, despair. Betrayal. Hopelessness. This is horr
Feb 13, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
This little book from New Zealand really grabbed me right from the start and turned out to be quite a surprise. At first I thought I had stumbled upon The Walking Dead meets Under The Dome, but in fact I was quite wrong, more The Leftovers meets Under the Dome. We have a group of 13/14 people (I lost count!) who have survived a murderous attack on a small island community to find themselves completely cut off from the outside world. There is no way out and there is no way in. But as they struggl ...more
Apr 30, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another excellent book by Elizabeth Knox, not quite as good as the Dreamhunters or Vintner's Luck but still very, very good. I love the way this author uses words and especially the way she describes New Zealand. I have to admit I had a moment of shock at the beginning. I expect this author's books to be at least a little about the paranormal and this one did indeed to turn out so,but it was also a full blown horror story and there were some gruesome passages! Nevertheless I enjoyed the whole ex ...more
Sep 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
Inventive, original, dark and disturbing. Wake takes what has become a common story - a small group of people survive while everyone around them dies, and makes something unique out of it.

I don't want to say too much about the plot because I don't want to spoil it, and really you just need to read it yourself, but Wake is a mix of horror, thriller and drama, with a touch of sci-fi added in.

Wake has a cast of 14 characters and a large part of the book is about how they interact, how they work tog
Mar 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I strongly suspect that Wake is a novel that will stay with me for a very long time. Set in a small, coastal town in New Zealand, the novel tells of a group of fourteen people who survive a strange kind of madness that causes many to harm themselves before death eventually overcomes them. The same, invisible field of energy that is responsible for causing the madness also cuts the fourteen survivors off from the rest of humanity and they are forced to learn to bind together as a community first ...more
Jan 31, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This should be a 4 and a half star rating.
I loved this book in every single way except for a dollop of confusion I had around the Sam situation. This confuzzled state meant I was busy thinking beneath the reading experience, "why is Sam like this? Two or split?"
The bone is picked.

Now, let's just get straight on to why this book is fabulous.
This is horror/zom-rom (with a dash of com) in the most intelligent form you're likely to read in many a month. We start off with mindless acts of violence
Marianne Elliott
From one of New Zealand's finest writers, Wake is mesmerizing. If you are new to Knox, she comes with two warnings: 1) She's unafraid of exploring the terrifying, and; 2) Her writing is so compelling you'll need to be prepared to do nothing but read for a little while. In her words, "[t]his book has a catastrophe, but it’s also about the struggle to stay useful and good, and what’s encouraging in that. ... A book about being trapped with mystery and malevolence, and trying to get by, and get on. ...more
Claire McAlpine
A sleepy, waterfront town in the South Island of New Zealand with a Kākāpō reserve is the setting for this macabre, sci-fi adventure, revolving around 14 survivors of an invisible, destructive and still hungry presence that has created a kind of net outside which the survivors can not move without dire consequences.

When the presence arrives, as it does in the opening pages, death, destruction and bizarre, disgusting action follows, the kind of thing that might normally turn this reader off, howe
Cheryl Klein
Jun 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi, fiction
One of the strangest and most human stories I've read in a while, this novel starts out like a zombie book (why are the residents of this New Zealand spa town gnawing each other's faces off??) and takes a turn for the existential. Elizabeth Knox is a genius at manipulating point of view, creating a story with a relaxed pace that is somehow also full of twists. The invisible monster wreaking havoc on the survivors of the initial massacre literally feeds off human misery, which is basically how ev ...more
Alumine Andrew
Aug 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: my-favourite
Knox has been a favourite of mine for a long time so I eagerly read this new book. She is amazing, what a great author we have. Her imagination is something else.

Wake starts by describing a strange fire seen in a valley. A police officer drives there as the first responder and on the way starts seeing horrible and unexplainable things. People dead and dying from gruesome injuries, cars crashed and abandoned.
Things are spinning out of control in this small community. Fourteen survivors emerge, bu
Jan 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow Elizabeth Knox is a genius. Her writing is brilliant and her imagination is like nothing else. Once again she has conceived of an extraordinary world - this time where 14 normal humans battle to survive in a small Golden Bay community where all but them went simultaneously insane before dying. It is a powerful visual tale and an absolutely compelling plot - i was literally obsessed until I was done. Loved it - as I have almost all her other books which have an element of the supernatural abo ...more
Bronwen Jones
Jan 28, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Oooh, got a wicked book hangover... When you are pushed beyond endurance, the monster comes to feed on your most desperate emotions... A fabulous read. Just lost track a bit of one or two of the peripheral characters now and then, but no biggie. I was lost in the story world.
Sean Williams
Mar 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Minus half a point for being just a hair too long, but otherwise gripping, full of complex characters, and ideas that pay off exceedingly well. Forget UNDER THE DOME: this is the real deal!
Antony Millen
Check out that cover! 'Wake' is the latest in my ongoing review of New Zealand novels. Most of my regular blog readers will know that my posts about books are part reviews and part journal entries connecting my reading to my own thoughts, experiences and events as a writer. For over two years I've focused on reviewing New Zealand books, often by writers who have a connection to me, regardless of the genre: Taumarunui authors (Cate Sutherland, Stuart Campbell, Nix Whittaker), online connections ( ...more
Feb 26, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really wanted to read a New Zealand book, not sure I ever have. And this was horror, so a no brainer of a choice really. Yet it really didn't wow me and maybe even disappointed me somewhat. Knox is a novelist and essayist of some renown in her native NZ and this is her first genre foray and it really reads like one. As such it reminded me of Justin Cronin's Passage in its literary quality and impressive girth (although Wake in notably slenderer than Cronins' behemoths), but Cronin's books were ...more
Jul 04, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Incoherent drivel.....It began well as possible edge of the seat horror genre but fourteen thinly and unrealistically developed characters and a vague premise made the novel difficult to read let alone enjoy. No comparison whatsoever with a sure handed author like Stephen King. The author is unable to satisfactorily complete scenes so that the whole is very fragmented. Some characters ,like Kate and Warren, seem to disappear completely for much of the novel and the ways in which the group reacts ...more
Kirsten McKenzie
Jun 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kiwi-authors
Where to start?! Firstly, I don't think I have a good enough grasp of the English language to properly describe this story. But I'll try.
Elizabeth Knox has a sublime way of storytelling. Her descriptive passages are beautiful and compelling. The characters bold and real. The sort of characters where every reader has the ability to side with a different character - which would make it an interesting and argumentative choice for a book club no doubt!
It wasn't at all what I was expecting, the blurb
Reece Roberts
Oct 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My God. What an amazing novel.
A little confusing at times. Because of the multiple character view points the story has.
And then it takes the narrative into a whole different area, doubling the confusion.
Epic action scenes, utter chaos, distopian values this book may not be to everyone's taste but if you want a truly science fiction novel set in New Zealand than this book is exactly for you.
Brilliant read. and the first for 2015.
I wonder why there hasn't been a movie adaptation based on this book
One of the best books I've read in 2013. In the beginning it's easy to assume that Wake is riffing on existing dystopic horror genres, but the story quickly emerges and develops as a work of fiction of immense originality. It's not often that I get the sick in the pit of the stomach variety of dread when I'm reading, but I totally felt it with this. I don't want to give away anything about the plot, and instead urge you to read this book immediately!
Dec 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Visceral, non-stop suspense, darkness, humour, utterly loveable characters.
This might be my favorite of Knox's novels.
Nick Imrie
Jan 21, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, horror
So a sleepy New Zealand town is suddenly gripped by homicidal madness and when the madness is over everyone is dead except 14 people who are trapped by an invisible force field. It's like Stephen King's Under the Dome, right? Well, as everyone knows, King is great at characters and rubbish at endings. Knox is the opposite: the ending is great but the characters are rubbish. Unfortunately, horror must have good characters. It must. Otherwise you simply don't care when they die.

There are 14 charac
Jan 08, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nbhs, read-2014
Wake is set in Kahukura, a small fictional town in Golden Bay, not too far from Nelson. In Kahukura there is a small fishing wharf, an expensive luxury resort, a native bird reserve for endangered kakapo, an old folks' home, and a new subdivision is being built. The place is so familiar to a New Zealand audience that you can almost smell the sea air and recognise all of the locals. That is what makes what happens there so jarring.

An illness suddenly descends upon the town, turning all its inhabi
Dec 29, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
On Christmas Day, my mother told me, "There was a book I was going to give to you, but then I saw it in the children's section at Whitcoulls, so I'm giving it to Maisie instead." Maisie is my 12-year-old sister.

"Was it Wake?" I asked. "By Elizabeth Knox?"

Mum confirmed that it was, and I told her she really didn't want to give it to Maisie. I'd seen the news articles about how Whitcoulls had mistakenly shelved Wake, a "violent adult horror novel", as a children's book.

The first few chapters of Wa
Do not read on an empty stomach. Or a full stomach. In fact, try not to think about your stomach at all, or possibly, keep a handy bucket nearby. Or a teddy bear.

Knox's writing is as incandescent as ever and her mastery of horror - bodily, intellectual, cultural - beautifully rendered in WAKE.

Without a doubt one of my top reads from 2013. Brr.
Vaughan Osborne
May 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Terrifying horror story that scared the shit outta me (and not what I was expecting from Knox). The story is set in the Nelson region & I read it while visiting there - extra scary when you're sitting on the Mapua pier and expect Bub's boat to rock on by!!!
Jan 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Not bedtime reading at the start, but you begin to really enjoy this dark gripping tale. Loved the development of the characters, and the ending was satisfying indeed, and largely unpredictable for me. Highly recommend, you can read this quite quickly compared to some of her other books.
Nov 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Every superlative in the book
Elizabeth Knox can do no wrong
I loved it from page one to page 443
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Elizabeth Knox was born in Wellington‚ New Zealand‚ and is the author of eleven novels and three novella and a book of essays.

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“Oscar's father had first put his message in a bottle into the outgoing tide at the mouth of the Motueka River seven days after Kahukura was lost to the rest of the world. He wrote to his son that local experts on the vagaries of Tasman Bay tides and currents all agreed that things drifting from the river mouth would eventually find their way with the tide to Kahukura, or Mapua, or Ruby Bay (or, in certain winds, across Tasman Bay and out to sea). "But you see," Oscar's father wrote, it was worth a try."
The first letter Oscar opened was his parents' fifth. It - and ten other copies in ten different bottles - had been dropped off the wharf at Motueka six weeks before.
Pg 361”
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