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Black Moon by Kenneth Calhoun

Black MoonA review by C J Dee
  • Page count: 274 [excluding acknowledgments]
  • Format: Paperback
  • ISBN: 9781781090152
  • Publisher: Hogarth (Random House)
  • Rating: ★★★☆☆ 3/5

Most of the world’s population is suffering from an insomnia epidemic. This epidemic causes the sufferers to fly into a homicidal rage whenever they cross paths with someone unaffected sleeping. The story follows several afflicted and healthy characters through their descent into sleep deprived madness and struggle to survive among the afflicted, respectively.

The characters in Black Moon didn’t invoke any real emotion other than curiosity. I didn’t feel invested in whether they lived or reached their goal by the end of Black Moon but I kept reading because the story compelled me to finish. Despite their convoluted histories, the characters still felt lacking in depth and personalities.

The pace of Black Moon was a lot slower than I would have expected and I feel it would have benefitted greatly from some drastic editing. When a book only 274 pages starts to feel overlong and drag, there’s something wrong.

While the erratic writing during sections from the third person point of view for the afflicted makes sense, several chapters switch without warning between two or three characters. In many of these chapters it is often unclear from whose perspective the thoughts are from which makes Black Moon quite tiresome to follow in many parts.

Overall Black Moon is an interesting idea for a novel and it almost hit the mark, but didn’t quite make it. Unfortunately in this reviewer’s opinion the weak characters, pacing and structure let the story down. However, I would still say it’s worth a read if the idea of the story appeals to you.

Nalini is an award-winning writer and artist as well as managing editor of Dark Matter Zine.


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