ARC Book Review: Sleep No More by Aprilynne Pike

Posted April 25, 2014 by Debby in Book Reviews

I received this book for free from Publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!! This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

ARC Book Review: Sleep No More by Aprilynne PikeSleep No More by Aprilynne Pike
Published by HarperTeen on April 29th. 2014
Genres: Paranormal, Thriller, Young Adult
Pages: 352
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher via Edelweiss

Lisa McMann's Wake trilogy meets the blockbuster Inception in this dark page-turner from #1 New York Times bestselling author Aprilynne Pike.

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.

1.5 Stars

As a fan of all things timey-wimey, when I spotted Sleep No More being advertised as a thriller with a “change the future” kind of aspect, I was immediately intrigued. I’ll be the first to admit that I had not heard many great things about Aprilynne Pike’s writing, but I thought I might as well give it a shot – because maybe this story could convince me. While I was absorbed by the creeptastic story, the ending was a disaster, and without the illusion of suspense I realized… I didn’t like this book very much.

So in Sleep No More, our main character, Charlotte, is an oracle. She’s spent her life fighting her visions, because she’s not supposed to interfere with the future, but now the visions are overpowering her as she sees brutal murders of her fellow classmates. A serial killer is on the loose. I don’t often pick up serial killer type stories, I must admit. It’s not exactly my thing, but I thought with the paranormal aspect of seeing the future, this was worth a shot. And boy did it bring the creep factor. Charlotte sees these murders and the aftermaths, and it chilled me to my core. It evoked such suspense that I just had to keep reading to know who was doing this and why.

And so, for much of the novel, I was completely engrossed. Charlotte finds out more about her powers and what she can do, and tries to help in whatever way she can. However. However. Obviously, there is a big but. The plot was going so well until about 75%, because then, obviously, some resolutions had to happen. And it was a messy disaster. Nothing made sense anymore. View Spoiler » You can’t just throw in all these supernatural elements suddenly and then just rush a half-assed explanation of them. Talk about your poor planning and poor worldbuilding. I was so excited to learn who the killer was and then it was just a combination of easy way out + fuzzy resolutions. Disappointment doesn’t begin to cover it. This could have been so much more.

But how the plot crashed and burned isn’t even my biggest complaint about this novel. When the suspense was receding, my eyes were opened to the bad writing. People weren’t joking around about Aprilynne Pike’s writing. It’s all tell and no show. That makes me sad. It was okay during the sections with a lot of action and suspense, and I didn’t notice it, but at the end, it comes down to the characters and how they’ve been affected. Here’s my biggest problem: Charlotte doesn’t seemed to be scarred at all. I mean, she tells you she is.

I wonder how long it will be before I can sleep peacefully again. Sleep No More by Aprilynne Pike (ARC)
She says it so calmly, but I was on the brink of that insantiy and even now – in this comfortable room with Sierra’s arm around my shoulders – it terrifies me. Sleep No More by Aprilynne Pike (ARC)
But do you see how I don’t buy this? Okay, here’s where my review is going to get personal. At the beginning of the month, I was walking to the station after my cousin’s birthday party. It’s a creepy road that’s almost completely dark, and I was crying because I didn’t enjoy the party at all. Suddenly, out of nowhere, this guy was standing in the middle of the path. I jumped a bit, but I kept walking and moved to walk around him. I passed him, let out a breath, but suddenly, his hand came out of nowhere and he grabbed me by my thigh. I screamed, pulled away, and pulled out my phone. LUCKILY, he backed off there, and I ran off, talking to my dad on the phone until I got to the station, but I have to admit it’s the most terrified I’ve ever been in my life. I was sobbing uncontrollably. The rest of the night I was constantly looking over my shoulder. I was only sticking to well lit roads, always making sure there were people around, and at the station, I pretty much hugged this pole that has a panic button. This is fear.

The fear that I was feeling earlier in the novel was my own fear – not the main character’s fear. And that would have been fine if this was a second person novel, but it’s not. (And ew, no to second person.) The thing is, this is just not how you convey fear. You can’t just TELL me the character’s frightened. You have to make me feel it through the main character – the full range of the emotional trauma, including not only fear, but paranoia, suspicion, terror to the point of uncontrollable crying, and the desire to lock yourself up in the safety of your home for the rest of your life. Thinking about it, I think fear is possibly the hardest emotion to write – especially if you’re writing about attacks, harassment, or abuse, which (hopefully) you haven’t experienced yourself. For people who know even a shred of what that actually feels like, you won’t come across as genuine.

Could what I’m describing be considered overkill? Perhaps. But moderation would be fine. Just, if you’re writing realistic fiction (which I would argue this still is in spite of the paranormal element) and you’re writing a thriller from the eyes of a victim… you have to show that you know at least to some degree what a realistic person would feel in that situation. You have to show that. And not just tell me. Because I don’t buy it. Not even for a second. Charlotte is freaking Hercules, because it seems like none of this affects her for more than an hour. And she witnesses terrifying things. People getting their throat slit, beaten to death with a bat, chopped up by a machete – she’s even grabbed in the dark herself. But no lasting impact, aside from telling us, which I find hard to buy. In fact, when she should be scared and paranoid, she dreams about her boyfriend and how much she wants to kiss him and whatever, even begging her mom to let her leave the house to see him while the killer is still out there. Prioritization, bitch. Ughhhhh.

Summing Up:

Obviously I pulled my own personal experiences into this story, and that’s a big barrier for me to like it. But even without that, this would have bothered me. Perhaps not to this extent, but still. The suspense and creepiness was good… until that last fateful quarter. Then I was left with bad writing, bad characterization, bad romance, bad plot resolutions, and bad worldbuilding. So… yeah. I’m disappointed.

GIF it to me straight!


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7 responses to “ARC Book Review: Sleep No More by Aprilynne Pike

  1. First of all, damn I’m so sorry to hear you got such a scare the other night! But very glad that it was no more than a scare and you got home safe and sound!

    Books that are all tell and no show do end up suffering a lot along the way, you can only stick with them for so long… I wasn’t particularly keen on this book before, and after your review agreeing with another one equally meh from Xpresso Jenni… I’m gonna be skipping this one for sure.

  2. Aww that’s too bad that this was a letdown. I’ve only read one Pike book – Life After Theft, which I thought was okay, but nothing at all special. I don’t think I’ll be rushing out to read this one.

  3. Great review! Happy to hear that the guy backed off, but that must have been completely terrifying. I had three guys come into my work one day who creeped me out the whole night. When I left and was walking under this dark underpass on the way home I phoned my boyfriend and was speaking to him on the phone about them when I heard footsteps behind me, I glanced behind me to find all three men following me. I absolutely freaked out, I started crying and practically ran out of the underpass and my boyfriend left work to come meet me. It was absolutely terrifying, I couldn’t even describe the feeling but I can’t imagine how scared I would have been if someone had actually grabbed me. I am glad that he backed off and you were able to get home safely. I haven’t walked home alone at night since that incident, now that’d real fear. I don’t think I would like this book either, especially when it’s all tell and no show. I think in a story like this it’s important for the characters fear to be believable, how would they not be in those situations. This sounds like a disappointing read, I’ll definitely be skipping it. Thanks for the honest review 🙂

    • Oh my gosh, that’s terrifying 🙁 I’m glad you managed to run away before anything happened though. It’s just awful that some people do stuff like this and it can leave scars for such a long time. I’m already pretty scared to be going to NYC and possibly having to find my way around alone after dark. I’m going to do everything I can to make sure I always have someone with me, or otherwise take a cab.

      I’m sad this was such a barrier for me with this book, but yeah, it was just disappointing – especially when the end was such a mess.