Review: Sleep No More by Aprilynne Pike
Published April 29th 2014 by HarperTeen
Review copy received from the publisher
Charlotte is an Oracle. She gets visions of the future – but one rule she has learnt in her life is to never surrender to the visions. To never see them. One day she doesn’t succeed in blocking the vision out, and she sees a murder. What should she do? Let the future run its course, or try to intervene?
For some reason Aprilynne Pike gets pretty low average ratings on Goodreads, and I have no idea why. Both books I read by her now, Sleep No More and Life After Theft were very enjoyable, and definitely not in any way “worse” than other books in YA. Maybe her writing style just doesn’t agree with all readers. Admittedly, Sleep No More is heavy on the internal monologue. There are very little characters in the book – Charlotte is a very isolated person – and therefore there are less character interactions than you would expect. This was never a problem for me though. The story moved along nicely without interactions. It might just be that I have been reading 19th century literature lately, which has even more telling and near to no showing.
Ms Pike took quite a risk with this story. It’s claustrophobic and has a rather bleak feel to it. Especially towards the end, when Charlotte learns more about her Oracle powers, and the battle against the killer moves from the physical world to the mental, it started to freak me out a bit. Charlotte’s powers and visions were very well done. I usually lose attention during dream/vision scenes, because it’s just so damn hard to make them surreal enough without being incoherent. I didn’t have this problem in Sleep No More, and I never lost attention during the visions.
The visions themselves are quite horrid. Charlotte witnesses several gruesome murders. Although the emotional repercussions for Charlotte are touched upon, they are not fully explored, and there is always some kind of emotional disconnect. This disconnect might put off some readers, but in this case I found it necessary. If Charlotte would truly be traumatised by all the happenings (as every real person would be), Sleep No More would be too bleak to work as a young-adult novel. There are some boundaries you don’t cross in a book for teens, and excruciating details of the implications for Charlotte’s inner life would have been too much.
The ending of Sleep No More was good. The climax was great. I was very happy with how the romantic subplot worked out, and it was fun to see all the hints strewn throughout the book tying together in the end. Sleep No More might not be a Goodreads favourite, but it is one of mine.
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.
- Review: Life After Theft by Aprilynne Pike (4 Stars)
- Review: Until I Die by Amy Plum (3 Stars)
- Review: Lies Beneath by Anne Greenwood Brown (2 Stars)
- Review: In the Shadow of Blackbirds by Cat Winter (5 Stars)