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Friday, October 15, 2010

Sleepless by Cyn Balog

Release Date: July 13, 2010
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Age Group: Young Adult
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Pages: 224
Buy: Fountain Bookstore / Amazon
Description: Fountain Bookstore

Eron DeMarchelle isn't supposed to feel this connection. He is a Sandman, a supernatural being whose purpose is to seduce his human charges to sleep. Though he can communicate with his charges in their dreams, he isn't encouraged to do so. After all, becoming too involved in one human's life could prevent him from helping others get their needed rest.

But he can't deny that he feels something for Julia, a lonely girl with fiery red hair and sad dreams. Just weeks ago, her boyfriend died in a car accident, and Eron can tell that she feels more alone than ever. Eron was human once too, many years ago, and he remembers how it felt to lose the one he loved.

In the past, Eron has broken rules to protect Julia, but now, when she seems to need him more than ever, he can't reach her. Eron's time as a Sandman is coming to a close, and his replacement doesn't seem to care about his charges. Worse, Julia is facing dangers she doesn't recognize, and Eron, as he transitions back to being human, may be the only one who can save her. . . .

Even once they've become human again, Sandmen are forbidden to communicate with their charges. But Eron knows he won't be able to forget Julia. Will he risk everything for a chance to be with the girl he loves?

It’s taken me a long time to write this review. I should have posted it weeks ago, but I couldn’t figure out what to say about this book. I had some strong likes and dislikes and just couldn't figure out how to reconcile them.

Since the moment I heard about this book I had wanted to read it. Sandmen, an existence somewhere between life and death, and a strange love triangle. I was instantly enamored, and, at the same time, concerned this book wouldn’t live up to my expectation.

After all, reading about a book on Amazon is like having a virtual love affair. When the two of you meet, you might have nothing in common. Sometimes you hype someone or something up so much that the reality can’t live up to the fantasy. And a paranormal without vampires, werewolves, or any other traditional creepy crawlies had a lot to live up to. I'm such a skeptical, picky reader that I was pretty sure one of us would be calling a cab mid-date.

Well, I was wrong. It didn't just step outside the box. It shattered the box.

Normally, it takes me a while to sink into a new world. I was shocked at how quickly I was consumed by Cyn Balog’s Sleepless. Her writing is captivating, the concept is unlike anything I’ve seen, and overall it was a quick, fun read.

I was thrust directly into the story, which I always love. Balog wastes no time getting the reader up to speed on what had happened prior to page one. She effortlessly weaves background information and bits and pieces of her mythology into the plot, crafting a beautiful yet lonely world that exists on the fringes of our own.

All Balog's characters have distinct identities that set them apart from one another, but Eron DeMarchelle was by far my favorite. He was well developed within a matter of chapters. I felt like I really got to know him, past and present. By about chapter two or three, I was secretly wishing he was my sandman.

The only problem was that this rapid, in-depth development Eron went through overshadowed other characters, namely Julia and Griffin, who I felt like should have been tracking along with him. As I read, I waded through Julia's chapters while anxiously anticipating Eron's. I couldn't wait to see him again.

Julia failed to engage me in the same way. I didn't feel like I knew as much about her or her motivations. Griffin's character was nearly stagnant, but he had no point-of-view, so I am more forgiving in his case. However, it did contribute to the only other major problem I had with this book.

About six chapters from the end, I thought I was going to walk away satisfied in a way that I hadn't been with a book in a while. It had this beautiful potential for a bittersweet ending, but, in a matter of pages, all of that changed.

In sight distance of the finish line, one of the major players did a total 180 and ruined all hope that the ending would be as original as the premise of the book. I could literally see things changing course, and the worst part is that I cannot attribute this character's change of heart to careful development throughout the book. It came out of nowhere and was less than believable. The sudden turn around made for an ending that was too neatly tied up for my taste.

Sleepless was an enjoyable read, but it left me wanting something more.

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