Written by: Aprilynne Pike
Published by: HarperTeen
Release date: April 29th 2014
Genres: Mystery, Paranormal, Young Adult
Buy: B&N, Amazon, Book Depository
Add on: Goodreads
The blockbuster film Inception meets Lisa McMann's Wake trilogy in this dark paranormal thriller from #1 New York Times bestselling author Aprilynne Pike. This novel is also perfect for fans of Kelley Armstrong, Alyson Noel, and Kimberly Derting.
Charlotte Westing has a gift. She is an Oracle and has the ability to tell the future. But it doesn't do her much good. Instead of using their miraculous power, modern-day Oracles are told to fight their visions—to refrain from interfering. And Charlotte knows the price of breaking the rules. She sees it every day in her wheelchair-bound mother and the absence of her father. But when a premonition of a classmate's death is too strong for her to ignore, Charlotte is forced to make an impossible decision: continue following the rules or risk everything—even her sanity—to stop the serial killer who is stalking her town.
This book was good. I’m having a hard time come up with much more than that, even now, after I finished it mere moments ago. I picked up this book a little earlier than I’d planned, because nothing else was holding my attention — I needed something that would suck me in. Sleep No More did that. It was exciting, a cool take on a murder mystery with a paranormal twist. The pacing was great (by which I mean, it was pretty fast, and there weren’t any slow sections), and the story clipped along really well.
The characters were good — not amazing, but they did their jobs within the plot and story. I liked Charlotte, the main character, mainly because there’s just not a lot to dislike about her. She does a lot of reacting to what’s going on around her, and she’s oddly trusting at times, which I found hard to believe; but she’s in a really interesting situation, and she isn’t stupid by any means. I liked that she was willing to take risks once she figures out that her visions can be used to help people.
As for the little bit of romance, Charlotte and Linden (a friend of the first murder-victim) were pretty adorable, and there were a couple scenes that had me smiling just because cuteness. There’s not a lot to their relationship at first, but where things end up in the end was pretty satisfactory, to me. I can’t say more because spoilers, but it takes a turn that I found realistic and refreshing.
The secondary characters were a bit two-dimentional, and I never really got invested in anyone, but I didn’t dislike anyone either. They weren’t the bad sort of two-dimentional, if that makes sense – they just weren’t focused on enough to be developed more, I think.
Sleep No More definitely isn’t a character-driven book, that’s for sure. The plot of the serial killer, Charlotte’s premonitions, and murders is really the driving force, and is what kept me reading despite the “just okay” characters. It had a more of a murder mystery vibe, too, rather than a story driven by the paranormal/supernatural elements, though those play a huge part. This is probably where the comparison to Kimberly Derting’s The Body Finder series comes into play in the synopsis. I haven’t read that series, though I did give The Taking a try, and I think there is definitely a similar feel in writing style and tone here (though I definitely liked the characters and relationships in Sleep No More a lot more than in The Taking). I wouldn’t be surprised if fans of The Body Finder series end up liking Sleep No More, as well.
As much as I enjoyed the plot — it definitely kept me interested, but serial killers will do that, lol — I do have to say, I guessed the ‘whodunit’ really early on. That didn’t stop me from enjoying the story, though — there was still a lot of tension and me second-guessing myself, which I liked.
The worldbuilding was okay — we don’t learn much about the Oracles as a “sisterhood” until the very end, and there’s definitely the possibility for more, wider worldbuilding in later books (I’m assuming there will be later books, with everything that’s revealed in the ending). But we don’t see that in Sleep No More. Mostly we’re kept in the dark about things because Charlotte is in the dark herself, and we learn about her own personal abilities as an Oracle, at the same time she does.
Finally, a quick note about the Inception-reference in the synopsis, because that’s one thing that really drew me to Sleep No More: There’s definitely something a bit Inception-ish about Charlotte’s powers and how she can manipulate her visions. However, that’s really where the comparison ends. I wouldn’t go into this book expecting the mind-bending, multi-layered awesomeness of the dream-worlds of Inception. There’s a tiny bit of a similar feel, but nothing significant that blew my mind.
As I said before — this book was good! It was a fun and fast-paced mystery, which usually I have trouble getting into (mysteries, that is). But the supernatural elements held my attention, though I’d still mostly classify this more as a “mystery” rather than “supernatural/paranormal”. The main characters weren’t unlikeable, and I found some parts of the romance really cute, and the plot (though I figured it out early) was still engaging and suspenseful. Don’t pick this one up if you’re looking for Inception-level mind-bending-ness… But all in all, I’d recommend it — as the synopsis said, especially if you’re a fan of The Body Finder series or are looking for something similar.