Monday, June 8, 2015

Black Moon by Kenneth Calhoun

This review was written by: B
Received: Blogging for Books
Publication Date of Book: January 2014
Pages: 277 (Paperback Edition)
Stars: 3.5/5

Summary found on the paperback version of the book:
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 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.

Kenneth Calhoun has written a brilliantly realized and utterly riveting depiction of a world gripped by madness, one that is vivid, and strange, and profoundly moving.

My review:
Black Moon is a novel riddled with insomnia, survival, and insanity.  Calhoun's engrossing writing stunningly depicts a beautiful yet horrifically frightening reality of life without sleep, shedding a dark light on the possibility of a world gone mad from something entirely different than the common Robert Frost theory of fire and ice.  Life has become a constant struggle.  Not many people are able to sleep, and the ones who can are hunted and murdered by the ones who cannot.  Each chapter took me on a wild journey that was captivating to read through even though it was mentally straining.  Happy endings are not always possible, and Black Moon definitely proved that sentiment time and time again.

The cast of characters in this novel were plentiful and equally their own persons.  Calhoun went out of his way to mold different ages, genders, and psyches into his story so that everyone was evenly represented. I especially enjoyed when specific characters unexpectedly crossed paths with one another.  The constant back and forth chapters between the different characters’ story lines were also welcomed; it effectively added to the suspense of the entire novel.  However, I was greatly discouraged when a specific character was dropped.  I had no idea what had happened to them and no way of ever finding out what became of them.  In fact, there were quite a bit of unanswered questions by the end of   Black Moon, and I felt as though not enough closure was given to me.  For this reason, I did not feel fully satisfied with the novel itself.  

For me, one of the more appealing aspects of Black Moon was the reading experience.  Many times the author dove into the psyches of insomniacs and wrote from their perspectives.  In fact, it was almost as if I was actually looking into the mind and stream of consciousness of an actual individual suffering from sleep deprivation.  This exposure was both spellbinding and haunting.  However, even though I enjoyed this novel, I felt as though it drug on at times, and I believe that quite a few sections felt similar to each other and were almost repeats but from another character's perspective.  Also, some of the insomniacs’ story lines become muddled and confusing to follow due to countless incoherent thoughts; however, I realize that this was definitely part of the author’s intent.  In the end, I believe this book to be a worthy read, but it was admittedly not the best that I have ever come by.  

Please note that I received a free copy of this book from Blogging for Books for this review review.

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