Sunday, February 26, 2012
REVIEW: Sleep of the Gods by James Sperl
Description: It had been six long years since Catherine Hayesly’s last vacation. In another few weeks she and her family would finally commence their dream trip of a lifetime. But then came the call. The one her high-ranking military husband, Warren, had warned might someday arrive. With a fateful string of cryptic words, and violating every security protocol, Warren informs Catherine of an impending world-altering event.
With the clock ticking and her mind reeling, Catherine finds herself suddenly thrust into a nightmare of global, apocalyptic proportions. Left to fend for herself and her three children in the wake of Warren’s information, Catherine must abandon any semblance of her former life and commit to the only thing that now matters: survival. But confronting her at every turn is the event itself and the enigmatic origins surrounding it and all that it has wrought.
My Thoughts: The world-building and ultimate big bad of this book is fantastically original. Human instincts are geared towards avoiding the dark and sticking in the light as much as possible; by turning daylight into the enemy, Sperl creates an imaginative and suspenseful dilemma for our heroes. I also loved the idea of a parasitic but sentient life form being the thing that ultimately took out humanity, the parallels to our own effect on the planet were obvious. It also gave the villains some damned chilling lines.
If I sound a bit lukewarm about the book, I have to admit that Catherine herself is my main problem. For a good two-thirds of the story, she's completely insufferable. She's okay with leaving people to certain death, but don't they dare point out they she and her daughters would have been raped to death without them! She spouts lines about tough utilitarianism (an ethos that doesn't particularly bother me, as they can save a few or they can save none in the book's scenario), but then risks the entire group so that her children won't have to witness the death of someone that they cared about, AND she smugly congratulates herself on being so good and warm in helping them. The hypocrisy became more and more grating as the book wore on. I'd still give the book a good 3.5 out of five stars for the supporting cast and for a spectacular and imaginative chase scene through a pile of stacked cars, but Catherine requires a pretty strong stomach.