mister sandman, bring me a dream

Wednesday, June 9, 2010 |

I was raised on a mix of classical music and 50s and 60s hits, with a foray into 40s big band every once in a while. Mix that in with a father who danced my mother around the kitchen and whistled to every tune, and what do you get? A love (or at least a grudging appreciation) for those oldies. I’m still not a huge fan of opera – my mom pushed that – but I find myself humming doo-wop hits more than I’d like to admit. Thanks, Dad.


Predictably, one of my favorite songs to sing to myself is “Mister Sandman.” When I realize I’m doing it, I usually stop guiltily, but there’s no denying that it’ll be in my head forever. So when I heard about the concept of Cyn Balog’s upcoming novel Sleepless, I was understandably intrigued.


Eron De Marchelle isn't supposed to feel a connection. He is a Sandman, a supernatural being whose purpose is to seduce human charges to sleep. While he can communicate with his charges in their dreams, he isn't encouraged to – after all, getting too involved in one human's life would prevent him helping his other charges get their needed rest.

But he can't deny that he feels something for Julia. Julia, with her fiery red hair and her 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. Eron has always felt protective of Julia...but now, when she seems to need him more than ever, he can't seem to reach her...

Sandmen are forbidden from communicating with humans outside their dreams. But will Eron be willing to risk everything for a chance to be with the person he loves?


Real, live, fiction fantasy Sandmen! That in and of itself gets an A+. And not only because I have a ‘thing’ for Sandmen. But ALSO because it’s (as far as I know) completely original in YA fiction, and Balog creates a plausible mythology for this story.


I think Sleepless has a lot going for it, and the summary/teaser/whatever-you-call-it is certainly appealing. I like the ‘his and hers’ perspective that alternating chapters provide. It allows for wider reader interaction with the characters and storyline, and the changing viewpoints kept me from being too biased towards one character or another. There is satisfying tension and mystery despite the two-narrator system.


With those things said, I did note one weakness. It’s Eron’s voice. I know that it is extremely difficult to replicate the tone, language and speech variance of times gone by, especially in a format that will appeal to a young adult audience. I still felt that Eron sounded stiff, modern and clueless rather than like a man from 1910. It’s probably just me being nit-picky, so if you don’t think it will bother you, pick this book up!


And before I get back to what I liked, I’m going to mention the elephant in the room. I hate to say it (except I don’t – look, I said it last year!), but this book has Twilight-like elements. They’re not all over the place, and no one is going to get sued for copyright infringement, so don’t get your panties in a twist. I just have a few Edward Cullen/Eron De Marchelle similarities to point out:


1. Age. Both gentlemen are over 100. For cereal.


2. Death. They both kicked the bucket in gruesome fashion back in the day, but were ‘saved’ from it.


3. Creepy bedroom stalking scenes. He watches while she sleeps. (I know, it’s kind of the point in Sleepless, but still.)


4. Super-polite behavior. I’m stretching this one, but think of it as a ‘gentleman complex.’


Those things begged to be said. You understand, right? OH! And did I mention the cover artwork?!


Now that I’ve done my duty, I have to tell you one more thing I enjoyed about Sleepless. It was my utter and complete hateration of the character Chimere. Yes, I just used a made-up word in that last sentence. It fit. Don’t argue. Okay, back to Chimere. She is everything I love to hate: inhuman, beautiful, na├»ve-seeming, and giggly. Plus I think she wears ruffles and corsets a lot (or maybe I’m imagining things). And let’s not even get started on what she actually does and says. Anyway, I quite enjoyed my absurd dislike of Chimere; it made the reading experience a lot of fun to imagine different ways to do her in. If that can even be done. But you know.


So there you have it: Sleepless is a flawed but unique tale that will please fans of the YA paranormal genre. Recommended for incurable romantics, anyone with a Sandman fixation (I know you’re out there – I can’t be the only one!), and readers everywhere looking for a tale to wile away those sleepless hours.


Sleepless comes out on July 13, 2010 from Delacorte Press.


I reviewed this book as part of Traveling ARC Tours. It also counts for the Once Upon a Time IV Challenge.

25 comments:

Ann said...

OK, now I will be humming Mr. Sandman the rest of the evening. hehe

Andrea said...

Mr. Sandman makes me think of that scene in Grease (or Grease 2 one of them).

Anyway...this looks like a good book. I am worried about the whole immortal obsessed with a teenage girl thing in yet another YA book, but I still want to read it.

Lenore said...

I just got this at BEA and am very excited! I really enjoyed FAIRY TALE despite my hateration of the fae in general.

vvb32 reads said...

despite all that, the sandman captures my attention.

Mystica said...

Fun post.

JHS. said...

"Hateration." Like it. Will have to use it. :-)

I don't think I'll be making a date with the Sandman.

BTW, stop by and sign up to win a copy of “This One is Mine” by Maria Semple. Entries close midnight (Pacific time), June 15!

JHS
Colloquium

Khelsea @ Once upon a review said...

Ah dang, I probably shouldnt have read that part about the song Mr. Sandman...haha. In my head now.

Really good review. I really love and enjoy when books that have alternating POVs.

CarlyB said...

Thanks for the great review, this one sounds fab. Gorgeous cover too and I totally know what you mean about Mister Sandman!x

Nomes (inkcrush) said...

haha. I love your points of randomness :)

Love the #4 points - what is with that gentlemanly behaviour? :)

this book sounds kinda cool - who doesnt have a fixation with the sandman? ;)

Icedream said...

I am always excited about an original premise and I haven't read anything that I can remember dealing with the myth of Sandman. Sounds like a book I would like to try.

Sas (Tea Mouse) said...

This sounds cool! I like the idea of Sandmen (something I really haven't hear of in YA before either). Where did your 'thing' for them come from?

Interesting points. I'm not sure if I'll like the twilight-y parts, but it sounds alright so I'll give it a try I guess.

Stella (Ex Libris) said...

First it was the eye grabbing cover which made me notice this book, then when I read the premise I knew that I wanted to read it. Thanks for the detailed review, Sleepless sounds interesting, would love to read it for myself.

Llehn said...

I'm looking forward to this one for forever!

Darlyn said...

awesome!i mean, i love sandman and always wish sandman to give me only good dreams when i was a kid. but this one is very cool!

Cass said...

Well, just looking at the book cover denotes that there are going to be resonances between this book and Twilight. Hehe I like #3. :P I hope teen girls don't yearn for their boyfriends to be stalking them like that...

Great review, very thorough. I'd like to read it. I think a sandman is quite an interesting idea.

Jill of The O.W.L. said...

This is the first review I've read of this book. It sounds interesting. I get the not wanting to compare it to Twilight since so many books are compared to it, but your comparisons seem fair.

Kaya said...

This book sounds unique. Sandmen-something I haven't read a lot about in YA! Good, honest review!

Elie said...

I have not read the summary for this before, just drawn to the cover. Sounds fresh. I don't mind about the Twilight elements. Thanks for the review.

Margay said...

I love the title Sleepless because it conjures up so many images just by saying it, and the blurb makes it sound even more interesting. You're right - the concept is totally unique. I have to wonder how many more will try to duplicate it? Thanks for your review, I am more interested in reading Sleepless now than I was before - and that's saying something!
Margay

Alyssa Kirk @ Teens Read and Write said...

I love that song! The double narrator seems to be increasing in popularity. I've been reading many of those. The 100 year old guy and teenage girl is kinda creepy if you think about it too long - so I try not to! Thanks for the review!

~Alyssa
Teens Read and Write

FionaChan said...

sounds interesting, but I'm also a little confused. The super-polite behavior... minus marks. D:

carolsnotebook said...

Sounds like an interesting concept, even if it has some negative points. Few books are perfect.

jpetroroy said...

I love the unique premise.

Alyce said...

I like fantasy, but tend to shy away from paranormal. This sounds like it would be a borderline book for me (because it doesn't sound like it has zombies or vampires in it - which make me rule out a book altogether). I haven't read Twilight because of the whole vampire/werewolf thing, but mostly because of what I have read about the dysfunctional relationship and bad example for teens. I wondering how this one plays out in those respects.

babygirlG said...

I am so looking forward to this book!

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