Sunday, February 13, 2011

Sleepless- Cyn Balog

Do you like your romantic heroes Edwardian (as in, Edward Cullen-esque)?  Well, then you'll probably like this book.
Eron is a sandman.  He has three charges, and every night, he uses sand and his so-called 'seduction' to put them to sleep.  He's been doing this for 100 years.  Before then, he was a poor Italian immigrant from Ellis Island who died in a factory incident.
Julia is one of his charges.  Every night since she was born, he put her to sleep.  Meaning, yes, he would watch her sleep like Edward did with Bella. Only this time, he only did it because it was his job, not because he was naturally stalkerish and creepy. But after 100 years, sandmen can go back to being human if they manage to train another sandman to take their place. In this case, Eron has to train Julia's dead boyfriend.
Yes, total recipe for disaster.  Griffin (said boyfriend) doesn't want to believe he's dead and wants Julia still and he doesn't want to just help her sleep at night with no talking and no touching. He wants her all the way, whereas Eron, though he feels protective of her, wants her to move on because Eron is not a douchebag.  He's gentlemanly and well-behaved, though he is often shocked at what people wear in this modern age as well as their looser ethics.
As he becomes more human and Griffin becomes more sandman, there is a developing love, erm, square?(Griffin's friend is also in on it) with Julia the object of affection. 
While there are resemblances to Twilight, what with everyone liking the same girl, and the girl managing to hurt herself pretty often, and guys watching her sleep, it's quite a different story.  The whole idea of sandmen being in a paranormal romance is not something I personally have come across before. Also, there are alternating first person points of view which is probably my favorite format in fiction. It's also a much shorter book; there aren't repeated and exaggerated descriptions of achingly beautiful wealthy teenage boys, and Julia is slightly creeped about the sandman thing (everyone has one, you know, and they put you to sleep and watch you EVERY NIGHT).  Eron is genuinely confused about how life works in this day and age and he is not all-powerful.  He has no money, hardly any education, doesn't understand the changes in society, yet he still manages to overcome some of this and be a person who others genuinely like.  He actually cares about people and is concerned about pretty much everyone. He has no contempt for anyone, has excellent manners, and actually has interests in common with Julia.
Overall, the story is light and sweet with a little paranormality mixed in.  It exhibits the changes in society over 100 years, yet also highlights the similarities. It has hints of time travel and ghost stories, yet it isn't either of those. It's an original.

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