Nod by Adrian Barnes

Dawn breaks over Vancouver, it is a new morning yet no one was able to sleep the night before. Or almost no one. Out of the entire global population perhaps one in ten thousand people can still sleep and they are all sharing the same golden dream.

Panic ensues. Science has shown that after six days of sleep deprivation, psychosis sets in; after four weeks, the body simply shuts down and dies. With no known cause and no known cure a strange new world rises from the ashes of the old.

I wanted to like Nod, I really did. The premise was quite interesting and the blurb on the back drew me in. However as I read, I found myself more and more disappointed. Too many questions were left unanswered, too many story lines were left unexplored. What caused the population to stop sleeping? What was it about those who were able to sleep? Was there some connection between them? Known or unknown? What did the ‘golden world’ the sleepers dreamt of allude to?

Another thing I found disappointing was how I felt no connection with Paul, the main character and narrator. To draw a reader in, the author must create a person the reader can connect to. The character must elicit some kind of emotional response: love or hate, admiration or disgust. Unfortunately, for me, I felt none of those with Paul. I simply did not find him interesting and felt no emotion over his eventual outcome.

Handled differently, Nod could have been a very different story. While there is a great deal of potential, it isn’t explored to its fullest and that makes me quite sad. There are those who enjoyed Nod, but I dear reader am not one of them. Skip this book and perhaps try something else.

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