Maia Sepp’s new novel Wake, takes place before her previous book, An Etiquette Guide To The End Times. I don’t usually like prequels (SORRY MAIA!) because they have to be so, so good to let readers overlook that the definition of prequel means they know how everything’s going to end up.
But this prequel is based around Camilla, a minor character from the Etiquette Guide and someone I really, really wanted to know better. In The Etiquette Guide To The End Times, Olive says Camilla used to do PR, back when there was anything to publicize, and in Wake, we get to see it.
The world hasn’t quite ended yet in Wake, so even though there’s an unprecedented amount of glacier melt (calving, as Camilla’s climate scientist father would say), and a carefully orchestrated almond theft (nut-napping) on her morning commute, Camilla’s working at her high-pressure, high-stakes PR gig.
Camilla’s company has gotten an account with a SmartHomes manufacturer, so free and basically mandatory home upgrades for all employees! Like that time the PR company next my studio did some work for Arizona, and I drank all the watermelon coladas ever, and got a total sugar high. Only the smarthomes are a bit more invasive than sugary not-soda, so when they’re hacked, everyone’s personal lives are suddenly exposed.
There was just so much to love this book! Like the nerdy accountant, who really doesn’t want his relationships with his two wives exposed. He’s not a bigamist, that is, like most of my poly friends, he is just quietly involved with two people, and doesn’t want to discuss that at work. I also loved Camilla’s discussions of her work visa, because as I write this, I’m in my THIRD time going through the application process for a Chinese visa, and basically you hand in every piece of paper proving you’re not a criminal, that you’re a real person, and that you can legitimately do your job, and then after a while, you get back another terribly valuable piece of paper, saying you can work legally, and you promptly shove it into a drawer and forget about it entirely. Which is exactly what Camilla does.
Olive and Fred, from An Etiquette Guide To The End Times, make appearances, but this is really Camilla’s story. I could see Camilla’s hardworking optimism, totally different from Olive’s sensible practicality, but another good way to face the end of the world. There are so many threads to this story, and at times I really wondering how the nut-napping. mysterious visa problems, angry refrigerator, cute coworker, and oh, yeah, the end of the world, were going to tie back into each other. But they do.
I’m so glad this is a series now, and I hope there are about a hundred more books in this series!
I received an eARC of this novel from the author, which was awesome, but eARCs have never stopped me from snarking when I don’t like the book. All opinions are my own, as always.