Wake For Me (Life Or Death #1) by Isobel IronsWake For Me by Isobel Irons
Published December 2013
Series: Life Or Death #1
Genres: New Adult
Format: ARC

Note: I was granted an advanced reader's copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my rating or the content of my review.

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When winery princess Viola Bellerose has a fight with her "up and coming" Irish rock star boyfriend, she blows off steam in true diva fashion--by making out with a hot stranger in a bar and promptly crashing her Mercedes into the East River. Whoops.

Now Viola spends her days trapped inside the prison of her own body. When she isn't eavesdropping on the private conversations of her hospital caretakers, Viola is lost in a world of vivid and terrifying dreams, in which a tall and brooding doctor appears in a sizzling romantic role.

First year intern Sam Philips is barely surviving his complicated life, juggling family drama, the pressure of looming exams, and competition with his fellow interns. His daily solace is the time he spends with his favorite patient, the young girl he's nicknamed Sleeping Beauty. Convinced that Viola will eventually pull through and wake up, Sam spends hours at her bedside, telling her everything from the minute details of his day to some of his deepest secrets.

But what Sam doesn't know is that his Sleeping Beauty is aware. That he's the only thing still tethering Viola to reality. That she's falling for him.

And what Viola can't tell Sam, is that someone is trying to make sure she never wakes up.

Further to a car accident Viola Bellerose finds herself in a coma, imprisoned between dreams, nightmares and the soothing voice of lovestruck intern Sam Philips, who finds solace in baring his soul to her unconscious body, without even knowing that every word registers with her.

“That was what Brady called the coma ward. The Matrix. It was probably in bad taste, but Sam kind of liked to think it was possible that all these unconscious people were living full, meaningful lives in some alternate reality.”

When Viola finally wakes up, her memory is slowly coming back to her and her nightmares fill out the blanks. They complete the puzzle that paints out the circumstances of her accident, and she will have to relay on Sam – to whom she felt a connection since he started talking ot her – to help her figure things out.

Wake for Me was yet another great ARC read, which I truly enjoyed! First of all, I really loved the characters. Sam was the perfect-book boyfriend, in a very refreshing way: he’s the nerdy intern specialized in internal medicine, a bit of a coward with a few family issues… but he’s totally hot and doesn’t actually know it. Viola might be seen as a bit of a bitch at first, but then she turns out to be a very sharp and tough girl, with a great sense of humor and repartee, although still hotheaded at times.

I found it a bit unrealistic that Viola could have developed feelings, or at least a special connection with someone she’d only heard talking to her during her 2-week comatose state, but the book doesn’t only revolve around their story and relationship (and the difficulties around the doctor/patient relationship, memory loss, awkwardness etc.) No – it is also about the whole intrigue that caused Viola’s car accident, which I must admit – is a very suspenseful one.

I was impressed with the writing in this book – words just flowed coherently and I loved the fact that the vocabulary in this book was a lot more refined than your average book, yet accessible. And Wake for Me was also written in third-person, alternating between Viola and Sam’s POV. From the tons of books I’ve read so far, third-person is always the most difficult POV to write in, but Isobel Irons mastered it completely. She does however make an exception for Viola’s dreams/nightmares, as they are written in first-person.

Those dreams are confusing, but they play an important part in this book, as a source of symbolism and the gate to a person’s subconscious, which will eventually help Viola put back the pieces. I greatly appreciated the author’s research work for this book (around this subject in particular, but also around the hospital milieu and its medical terms), which made it seem that much more real. Every chapter of the book starts with a quote from Freud, generally around subconscious and dream-interpretation.

“Unexpressed emotions will never die. They are buried alive and will come forth later in uglier ways.” – Sigmund Freud

All in all, it was a book with a suspenseful intrigue, a complex love story, and which included many details and “side-stories”. To me it ticked all the boxes of a very good read that I would recommend to anyone who likes a suspenseful and unusual story (and doesn’t mind a little lack of steam).

This is book 1 in the series, and book 2 – Say Anything – will pick up the story of Sam’s promiscuous friend and fellow intern Brady, and I will definitely check this out. As in, right now.