Monday, July 1, 2013

Insomnia ~ J.R. Johansson (earc) review

Insomina (Night Walkers #1)
June 8, 2013
351 pages
add to Goodreads/buy from Book Depo/or Amazon

It may seem easy to just say, "I didn't sleep last night." Yet, when Parker says it, he really - literally - means it. And every night.
Her eyes saved his life.
Her dreams released his darkness.

After four years of sleeplessness, high school junior Parker Chipp can't take much more. Every night, instead of sleeping, he enters the dreams of the last person he's made eye contact with. If he doesn't sleep soon, Parker will die.

Then he meets Mia. Her dreams, calm and beautifully uncomplicated, allow him blissful rest that is utterly addictive. But what starts out as a chance meeting turns into an obsession; Parker's furious desire for what he needs pushes him to extremes he never thought he'd go. And when someone begins to terrorizing Mia with twisted death threats, Parker's memory blackouts leave him doubting his own innocence.

It seems like I have read quite a few books recently where the main character(s) were somehow experiencing some form of sleep loss beyond the norm. What made Insomnia different - and one of the things I really liked about it - was that it's main character, Parker also experienced the effects of that sleep deprivation.

Parker's extreme sleep deprivation wasn't just a plot element used to make his character more interesting or make things quirky. In a lot of ways, his 'insomnia' and its repercussions were the plot of Insomnia. We see the full toll it has taken and continues to take on Parker's life.

Though it's been four years of sleepless nights, the book is set at really the perfect time. Insomnia introduces us to Parker at two turning or, perhaps, tipping points. He seems to be reaching that point where it's all becoming too much (or not enough) and it's also when he meets Mia who promises a possible salvation.

A possible salvation she may not be willing to offer.

The closer Parker gets to that ultimate tipping point (where his lack of sleep will kill him), the more desperate he is for the real sleep Mia can provide. It's also the more unsure he becomes of his own actions.

The struggle present within Parker -- both physically and mentally/emotionally -- is incredibly well portrayed. What he's feeling physically and the mental effects it produces  fuel his actions as the story progresses. It's also enough motivation that it, along with the turmoil we see him experiencing, would stop even the most unsympathetic action from alienating him as a character. We can understand why he's doing what he's doing.

Or at least why he thinks he needs to.

I will say that the way one character was written made them seem more villainous than they were and so I kept waiting for some nefarious twist or turn involving them. It may have been a purposeful red herring deal or they may just have come across that way (to me).

How everything wrapped up though was fantastic and I am really happy that I didn't see it all coming together that way. (Although, I am happy that one of the minor characters was there for the reason I suspected and I am, thus, looking forward to Book 2.)

Rating: 9/10

thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for the arc (and the author for review copy opportunities mention on her site)

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