Review: When All the World Sleeps
When All the World Sleeps by Lisa Henry
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Sleep walking taken to another level is definitely a unique conflict in a book. Authors Ms. Henry and Ms. Rock bring a thought provoking story involving hatred, bigotry, fear and hope. Daniel Whitlock is a man with a medical condition most people find unbelievable. When he is asleep, he's liable to kill someone, bend over for some sexy time or draw amazing pictures. Daniel is also a man who's been persecuted all his life with no safe haven, even with his family. Joe Belman's known Daniel for most of his life. At one point, he's even been attracted to Daniel. Joe labels Daniel as a murderer and treats Daniel just as poorly as the rest of small town.
What is it about small towns that make them so vicious? Small towns come across as small minded and filled with hatred and violence against those they don't feel fit in. Truly, the authors did a great job of painting a horrible town which would be better off burned to the ground. There is very little redeeming about this place. Yet Daniel and Joe live there as willing hostages in their own purgatory.
The hatred against gay men is not something I can comprehend. It just doesn't make sense to me because I don't understand why other people's sexual preferences is anyone's business. The premise of this book is based on a hatred of gays which makes me sick to my stomach. The bullying both physical and emotional to an already emotionally insecure man makes me see red.
The authors do a great job of changing Joe's perspective of Daniel. The growth Joe goes through is beautiful. If only more people could become as non-judgmental. Daniel's change as he's being accepted and works through his fear is an excellent message of hope. This dark story is given a light at the end which makes this a lovely happily for now story. The way Ms. Henry and Ms. Rock balance the dark and light in this story gives it a realistic gritty feel. I enjoy this because it comes across as more authentic. The characters are fabulous and the way they pull together is heartwarming.
The BDSM element in this story is a surprise. The focus isn't on the BDSM, it's just an element to Daniel. The way BDSM is incorporated into this story is refreshing because it comes across as a lifestyle choice. Just as if someone preferred vanilla sex. The BDSM isn't forced in here to make a point or teach about BDSM scenes. Instead, it enhances this story and allows the readers to see another side of Daniel and Joe. Generally BDSM in a story would make it erotic. In this one, it is a way for two people to connect. BDSM is shown in two ways; those that are into the lifestyle and those abuse the concepts. The two views also add an additional layer of complexity to this story.
I enjoy stories which make me think - stories which are dark and leave a reader wondering what will happen to the two lovers. While this story is filled with a lot of negative elements, the authors also temper it a message of hope and redemption. This is lovely and what makes the story so good for me. Highly recommended to those who enjoy thinking about "what-if" scenarios.
*provided by NetGalley
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