Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Review ~ The Sleepwalkers ~ J. Gabriel Gates

Title: The Sleepwalkers

Author: J. Gabriel Gates

Published: 4th October 2011

By: HCI Teens

Source: netgalley

First line: Something in the ruins waits.
Last line: But it sure is dark for noon on a cloudless day.
Fave line: Let people call rock and roll the music of the devil all they want; some of it, not all but some, is divine.

The Sleepwalkers is essentially a YA horror story and you can pre-empt the darkness of the novel based on the opening paragraphs of the first chapter which describe a nightmare that the main character Caleb is having. Caleb is described as a skinny 18 year old who has just graduated from high school and who has everything to look forward to. As he planning to travel to Africa to enhance his profile as a journalist he receives a letter from his old friend Christine addressed to Billy (his childhood name) begging him to come and help her. Together with his friend Bean they travel down to Florida (leaving behind Amber, his rather needy girlfriend) to his old childhood home to find that not only has his father gone missing but there have, over the years been many incidents of people from the sleepy town going missing over the years but no-one seems to be doing anything about it.

They eventually make their way to the Dream Centre, a hospital that now exists within the old mental where plenty of patients seem to enter but no-one seems to leave. Here they find Christine who is a patient in the hospital. She tries to explain that an evil force is determined to bring about the end of the world and it eventually emerges that he, Caleb is ‘the bringer of death’. With the help of Anna, the spirit of Christine’s missing sister who vanished when Caleb dared her to go into the old institute, the friends set out to put a stop to everything happening around the town. It turns out however that the influence that the protagonist has on the area is greater than it first appears and the main characters in the book find themselves fighting to survive against what seem to be increasingly insurmountable odds.

There’s something quite refreshing about the way that Gates writes. His style is quite snappy, almost disjointed at times but that doesn’t make it any less descriptive than any of the other YA books that I’ve read. It just gets to the point a lot faster. You could almost imagine that rather than reading a book you are in fact listening to the story being told to you as there’s an almost conversational element to it at times. I particularly liked Caleb’s friend Bean. It was I felt Bean that seemed to have all the witty one-liners and had a more rounded personality than the rest of the characters in the book. That said there was enough information about everyone mentioned that you felt as though you had a fairly detailed picture of them as you ran through the story. I think the way that the plot unfolds makes it easy to see how this book could be easily turned into a film as it follows the plotlines of a well crafted teen horror movie and contains all the elements you would expect a film of this genre to have. I also loved the twist at the end of the book – certainly didn’t see that coming!

In short, I enjoyed reading this book as it was a step away from the usual YA fiction. I would recommend this for readers aged 15+ years who are looking for something more akin to classic horror tales. You won’t be disappointed!

3/5 Might be best to read this one with the light on...


Book Reviews From The Basement said...

I was hoping you would give this book a higher score 'cause it sounds really exciting and the concept is really making me curious. I'm a sucker when it comes to horror:)

Liz. R said...

This book definitely sounds like a scary one - I'm not a huge fan of horror, but I am intrigued! Glad you enjoyed it overall :).

Anonymous said...

Hi both,

I think if you like horror stories then you'll love this. I used to be a big fan but my taste has changed over the years. That said I really enjoyed reading this because the writing style is different to most books that I read.

I'd still recommend this book to anyone who is a fan of the genre.

Book Reviews From The Basement said...

I will definitely add it to my wishlist. Thanks!:)

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