Monday, March 3, 2014

Review: Black Moon by Kenneth Calhoun

Title: Black Moon
Author: Kenneth Calhoun
Format: ARC
Publisher: Hogarth
Publish Date: March 4, 2014
Source: I received a copy from the publisher; however, this did not affect my review.

What's the Story?:

From "Insomnia has claimed everyone Biggs knows.  Even his beloved wife, Carolyn, has succumbed to the telltale red-rimmed eyes, slurred speech and cloudy mind before disappearing into the quickly collapsing world.  Yet Biggs can still sleep, and dream, so he sets out to find her.

He ventures out into a world ransacked by mass confusion and desperation, where he meets others struggling against the tide of sleeplessness.  Chase and his buddy Jordan are devising a scheme to live off their drug-store lootings; Lila is a high school student wandering the streets in an owl mask, no longer safe with her insomniac parents; Felicia abandons the sanctuary of a sleep research center to try to protect her family and perhaps reunite with Chase, an ex-boyfriend.  All around, sleep has become an infinitely precious commodity. Money can’t buy it, no drug can touch it, and there are those who would kill to have it. However, Biggs persists in his quest for Carolyn, finding a resolve and inner strength that he never knew he had."

My Two Cents:

"Black Moon" is a speculative fiction story about a country that has been overtaken by a plague where everyone who has the plague cannot sleep at all. They fall into slurred speech and red eyes and can't get any relief. They take out their inability to sleep on those that are able to sleep by chasing them and trying to kill them. There is no remedy in sight! It has been awhile since I've read some good speculative fiction and this book definitely fit the bill.

This book is definitely a little creepy, which is what I really like about speculative fiction. I am lucky to sleep pretty well these days but I went through a phase of insomnia in college and it was terrible. There is nothing more terrible than really, really wanting to go to sleep and not being able to because you just keep getting more and more worked up. And then when I should be awake, I was extremely tired and dopey. I could see how not sleeping at all could make you crazy. I liked that the issue in this book feels like something that could happen if a whole bunch of people stopped being able to sleep at all.

The book follows several characters whose lives have been turned upside-down by this plague. The book seems to focus mostly on those that still have the ability to sleep. It was so interesting to see how each different person dealt with the plague's effect. Human nature is truly at the center of this book.

Overall I really liked the writing in the book. The book flows nicely. I did wish that the book focused on fewer characters. It took awhile to figure out where the story was going but it worked well to show how much the world was being affected by this plague. I wish that there would have been a little bit more of a tied together ending. All in all, this would be a great book to make you think a little bit!



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