ARC Review: Sleep No More by Aprilynne Pike


title:  Sleep No More

author:  Aprilynne Pike

pages: 352

format: Paperback

isbn/asin: 978-0061999031

buy it: Amazon  Goodreads  B&N

rating: 2/5 [in the genre] or 4/10 [all books I’ve ever read].

recommended for:  Fans of paranormal thrillers.  People who liked Some Quite Place by Kelsey Sutton.  People looking for a fun plot with light, organic romance. 

My Ratings Explained

Oracles see the future but are never supposed to interfere. Charlotte learned that the hard way. If she hadn't tried to change one of her childhood visions, her father would still be alive. Since the accident, Charlotte has suppressed her visions to avoid making the same mistake. But when she receives a premonition of a classmate's murder, she can no longer ignore her powerful gift.

Then Charlotte meets someone who not only knows her secret but who also has a way for her to stop the killer. He offers to teach her how to manipulate her visions to change the future. But doing so will put Charlotte in the path of the murderer.…

Aprilynne Pike's bestselling Wings series was called "remarkable" by Stephenie Meyer, bestselling author of the Twilight Saga. And her most recent novel, Life After Theft, was cheered as a "whirlwind adventure" by School Library Journal. Now Aprilynne returns with this exhilarating departure from her previous novels. Sleep No More is a psychological thrill ride that is sure to keep readers' hearts racing until the very end.

the basics
I really wanted to like this book more than I did.  On a scale of "hated it" to "loved it," Sleep No More was "okay."  I enjoyed it.  It was a good light read while I was in Florida battling flu-like sunburn symptoms wrought of my own stupidity--but it's not particularly memorable.  Charlotte is a decent character.  She's fairly self-sufficient and has a strong sense of justice that overshadows her own comfort and desire.  She's also kind of an idiot, which is partly endearing and partly infuriating.  She sparks the plot on her own by going against centuries-old oracle rules to change a potential murder.  In the process, things get hairy.  I really got into the book when the murder visions became more frequent and Charlotte and her mysterious helper, Smith, become more desperate.  I even liked the romance; it was cute, reasonable for a teenager, and didn't overshadow the plot.  However, it was too long.  In the third quarter, I felt like I was dragging my feet, waiting for another turning point.  It just seemed repetitive at that point.  I found the ending twist unsurprising, and the very end somewhat abrupt.  While this book was entertaining, it's not one I'll go back to.  

plot . 2/5
The plot was the most problematic part for me, full of deus ex machina and shortcuts.  Parts were very strong.  The mystery and chaos surrounding the first few murders is exciting.  So is the situation that happens with Clara and the epic race through the supernatural oracle realm.  However, those good, key events felt embedded in a lot of fluff.  The pacing was just off.  There were too many extra visions in between the first few and anything else important happening, and then too much stuff after the big climactic reveal.  Did I mention shortcuts?  There's the introduction of Smith, who is immediately trusted with little reason or consideration.  Sure, teens are impulsive, but Charlotte seems too bright to give in that easily--and not desperate enough at the point she gives in.  Then, working within the visions seems overwhelmingly easy.  Charlotte manages it the first time.  There's no stress, no mistakes, no fear of it not working.  The rules also seem to change to suit the needs of the plot.  Then there's of course the twist, which I saw coming from page 3.  Give or take.  Except I didn't quite see the reasoning for it, because there was almost no foreshadowing.  It was at once expected and out-of-nowhere.  I can't explain without spoiling; take my word for it.  

Also, there's no way a teenage girl gets away from multiple cops as easily as Charlotte seems to.  

concept . 3/5
The concept for this book drew me in and left me hanging.  I love Greek Mythology.  Oracles were cool.  They were powerful, mysterious, terrifying.  Pike gives an interesting twist by putting oracles in the modern world.  After being abused by the Roman empire, the oracles decided to give up their powers and avoid seeing the future--to avoid the temptation to change it.  Cool idea, but I'm still not entirely sure why they felt the need to avoid seeing the future when they could have just kept their powers secret and done the work on their own, since oracles used to change the future all the time.  We do know that Charlotte's attempt to change her aunt's death got her father killed--but that wouldn't have happened if she'd used her special mind-powers, right?  

Either way, you get Charlotte and her aunt Sierra, who has trained Charlotte to fight her visions for years.  Charlotte becomes a freak, an outcast with weird secrets and seizures.  All that was cool.  What got tricky was the oracle secrets that Smith introduced: changing a vision, walking the supernatural plane, focus stones and alternate realities.  It's cool stuff but I just didn't feel that it was as well thought-out.  Then there's the revelation of the villain, who has his or her own strange connection to the oracles.  This connection was just so un-foreshadowed and out-there that I saw it as more of a plot device than a necessity.  Overall, it was a great idea half-realized.  

characters . 4/5
I actually liked the characters for the most part.  Charlotte (despite her unrealistic stupidity, mentioned above) is clever, vulnerable, and strongly pulled towards justice and truth.  Instead of blindly accepting her aunt's mysterious commands, she questions why she should keep her powers hidden when they could be used to stop evil.  Which is what leads her to break her vow and secretly attempt to save the lives of to-be-murdered classmates, despite danger to herself.  She's also just a teenager with a crush on a boy who finally seems to like her.  Linden is adorable in a normal sort of way.  He's hot, but not preternaturally so.  He's just a teenage boy finding comfort in a sweet girl.  Their romance evolves naturally and stays pretty realistic.  Sierra and Charlotte's mom could have used more fleshing out.  For such an important figure in Charlotte's life, Sierra stays pretty far on the edges of the plot and seems a little dense.  Then there's Smith, who pops out of nowhere to become trusted confidante and teacher.  Again, I think it's silly that Charlotte trusts him so quickly, just because he has special information.  

style . 3/5
I don't have much to say about the style.  For the most part, Charlotte's voice was appropriate for a teenager and expressed her personality well.  It was a little clever, a little vulnerable, with a lot of back-and-forth and fearfulness.  Some of the descriptions were rather pretty.  There just wasn't much else.  I wasn't disappointed, and I wasn't blown away.  

mechanics . 2/5
Like I said, the pacing.  For a suspenseful book, you really need to keep building the tension to a breaking point, and then let it all explode.  Pike just left you in mid-tension level for too long, with the same kind of plot moves, instead of raising the stakes.  Then, when we get our breaking point, it dissolves too quickly, only to ramp up a little bit at the end.  A suspenseful book can be long, but only if the tension carries through.  I just felt too bored in the middle.  

Also, the title has nothing to do with anything.  Sleep?  What?  That was barely the point, and there was actually more sleeping going on, not less.  

take home message
A suspenseful tale with a sweet heroine and a paranormal murder mystery; good for a light read, but it doesn't hold up the tension like some of its better mystery contemporaries.  

Note: I received this copy in exchange for a review.  The price of the book and its origin in no way affected my stated opinions.

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