Book Review: To Wake The Dead

Book Review: To Wake The Dead

Classes have begun... The battlefield is set... Let the fight for the Fade begin.

Partial synopsis provided by Goodreads.

To Wake The Dead

Series: Dead Dreamer #2
Author: Sarah Lampkin
Publication Date: October 8, 2019
Publisher: The Parliament House
Page Count: 
Format: eARC
Genre: New Adult, Paranormal, Contemporary, Fantasy
Cover Artist: Shayne Leighton
My Rating: ★★★★1/2

To Wake the Dead (Dead Dreamer #2)To Wake the Dead by Sarah Lampkin
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

I received an ARC of this book from the publisher, The Parliament House, in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! In no way does this affect my rating or review.


All included quotes have been taken from an ARC and may not match the finished publication.

Content Warning: Discussion of Death, Murder, Injury, Underaged Drinking, Self-Harm

The demons were always peaceful creatures. Sure, they weren’t the prettiest things to look at, but they never caused any harm. On the nights of the full moon, their doors would open, allowing them the freedom to explore the Fade. They would play pranks, laugh, and even dance as they explored. From my experience, they were harmless. The fairies were a different story.

It’s not often that I find the second book in a series better than the first. Yet, here it is, the mythical favored second book. To Wake the Dead answers all the questions and/or issues I had with To Dream Is To Die (not that there were a ton). I simply wanted more backstory and detail into the facts that were given. A great thing about this series is that it is in a contemporary setting. There isn’t a lot of time spent on world building because it’s not necessary, and the details can be spent on the complexity of the matter and hand, instead. While I like my fantasy worlds, I have found this series to be incredibly refreshing in that regard, especially seeing how there is a lot going on with the realm of the Fade and much to unpack.

The main character Brenna, isn’t as likeable as the average protagonist throughout To Dream Is To Die, which honestly, I understand why. For anyone who had an issue with Brenna before, you will most likely find that she’s much more palatable in To Wake the Dead. I rather appreciate a character who is slower to trust anyone and everyone, as it allows her to be smarter. I said it before and I’ll say it again, I really like how this author captures her characters. They feel real, are engaging, and has made me really care about their stories–which for me, is an accomplishment. I tend to love the overall “atmosphere” and setting that a book offers over the characters themselves.

Two new, and influential characters arrive on the scene throughout this installment. Mysterious and rather creepy Lara and Leon introduce an entirely new complexity to the overall plot. As revelations about the Gatekeepers are made, Brenna finds herself at the center of something much bigger than her–and something that has been going on for many, many years.

The Gatekeepers are revealed to be essentially a group of “cultish Christians” (a complete dichotomy, if you ask me). Thinking to do the work of the Bible, they seal the demon portals to cleanse the town of demons, and lock them out. While I find this to be an odd twist on Christianity, and making them essentially the bad (or naive) guys and demons good in the eyes of the reader, I think it does bring up a good point–man-made laws or protocol should be brought into question, as man oftentimes gets it wrong. This is seen in, but not exclusively in the Church throughout history time and time again.

”Who wrote the laws saying that doorways must be sealed? Who told you to create another one of you?”
“The church.”
“Why?” He was silent. For once, he had no answer. He merely stared at me00not blinking or unwavering as his eyes locked on mine. I thought I had him; nowhere in the Bible did it say to interfere with the dead or the other side. In fact, the Scripture scorned it. If I remembered correctly, that would border on witchcraft and necromancy, which was forbidden. So, if Wilson were the type to follow the Bible no matter what, then these questions just pushed his logic out the window. Even if the church said he had to do those things, who was to say they were right?

Demons, having quite a history of being bad, hold a very different status throughout this plot. Brenna, having the unique ability to see the inhabitants of the Fade for what they are, has an understanding of things that typical mortals do not. While I don’t exactly like this angle on the story, it’s fantasy, and it not to be taken literally. I do think the idea creative, and it definitely offers a twist on common conceptions of who stands on the side of good, bad, and somewhere in between. I’m so curious to see what will happen with these characters, and am definitely looking forward to To Reap The Spirit.

Vulgarity: Moderate.
Sexual content: Not as much as To Dream Is To Die but it exists as an undertone to conversations
Violence: Quite a bit. Considering Mora is Brenna’s suicidal soul that tries to make Brenna meet her demise, there are frequent occurrences of what would be considered “self-harm.” Also, the faeries are nasty creatures that are to blamed for some unpleasantness.

My Rating: ★★★★1/2

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I am the author behind Foals, Fiction & Filigree. An all-encompassing blog about horses, books, and my art.

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