The Sleepless

By Nuzo Onoh

This book is classified as African Horror. I have read many different books from many different cultures, including African, but I don’t think I’ve ever come across a horror novel until now. I love horror and I’m not turned off by a bit of gore so I was definitely intrigued when the author contacted me for a review.

I enjoyed this book. I will say that upfront. I liked experiencing another culture in such an unconventional way. Most of the time I read about positive experiences from other cultures, a lot of authors really want to represent and showcase their culture in a good light so to have such a scary theme in this book was surprising and entertaining.

The story actually reads kind of like a murder mystery with a bunch of violent, bloody twists of course. The pacing is probably one of the most complimentary aspects of the book. A span of about two years passes over the course of the book but the flow doesn’t give you a dull moment. Readers aren’t jumping around from paragraph to paragraph, or chapter to chapter. We are given a really straightforward timeline and it is very easy to follow.

I really praised the flow and pacing of the story but what I liked most was the author’s style of writing. It was very descriptive and it had a unique style that fit the theme of the book very well. Onoh gave a solid story with strong background and great characters to carry through. The opening to the story was pretty cool. Onoh describes a dead cat and it is portrayed in such vivid detail, I knew right away that this would be a good quality book. Every word was deliberate and meticulously planned. There were no unnecessary descriptions and everything fell in line with the story. I was never confused and I understood how well planned this story was.

While I did like the style of writing, I think it was sometimes cheesy. I don’t know how else to put it. I did like it and I did feel that it fit the story well but sometimes the story read more like a children’s book with a little too much violence rather than the young adult to adult novel that it actually is. I think most of that came from the dialogue. When I said the writing was cheesy, I meant that it felt forced when the characters spoke and used phrases like “At de speed you be going”. This kind of language only served to amplify the fact that the characters were deeply involved with African culture and dialect but it just didn’t work for me. I have read books from African culture before and some characters did speak that way and it did work, but not here.

Other than my one complaint, I found this story to be pretty well-written and entertaining throughout. I would definitely recommend it to readers looking for a unique horror novel, especially if you actually want to be afraid. If you’re open to other cultures and want to experience a unique ride, then this is definitely the book for you. This novel has a fair amount of violence, heightened by great details, so if you aren’t too open to blood then I wouldn’t recommend this to you.

*I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review*

The Book Reviewer Yellow Pages