An Incoherent, Slightly Biased Review (AKA: I LOVE THIS BOOK SO FUCKING MUCH!!!)

So… hi. Look at that, exactly a month since anything new appeared in this little internet space… I feel like I should apologize… but I honestly don’t think there’s anyone hanging out to read these. *Sigh*. One day. Anyway, in case you can’t tell I’ve been feeling a little depressed these past few weeks about my future as a writer, (something to do with Fear Number 1 raising it’s ugly head again) and you know what I like to read when I’m feeling depressed about the inevitable decay of it all? Apocalypse books, because it’s really REALLY cathartic. What’s my favourite apocalypse book you ask (how kind of you to take such an interest)? Well, to be honest, it’s my only apocalypse book, but that is irrelevant because, as you saw in the title…
I LOVE THIS BOOK SO FUCKING MUCH!!!… Ok, ok, ok, I’m calm, let’s showcase this bit of wonder-fiction to the seven or so of you who will actually read this (that’s right, I see you. I see you ALL! Muahahahahahahahahahah! *Ahem*).
Ladies and gentlemen, behold…

Image Via Goodreads.com.

Yup. That’s Nod, inscribed from the mouth of Cthulhu himself, set to ancient parchment in Grimm wolf-blood (“It’s like red chamomile tea!”) by Adrian Barnes. From what I gather of my past experiences, half of you have never in your lives heard of it (treasure your innocence), a quarter of you are joining me in a good bout of evil laughter as the darkness birthed inside you by this book squirms and grins, and the other quarter of you are gnashing your teeth and shooting steam from your ears at my obvious lack of any real judgement in literature. Whelp, sit tight, because, love it or loathe it “Nod” is one mind-fuck of a ride.

Our Hero: His name is Paul. He likes words. And Tanya. People besides Tanya tend to piss him off, particularly Charles. Mainly because Charles is a prick (an opinion I share with Paul. Fuck Charles).

Our Heroine: Tanya. Beautiful, normal, intelligent. She likes Paul enough to have stayed with him for five years at the opening of the book. Looks like hell the first time we see her, but is actually heaven. Paul has it backwards.

Our Villain: The Admiral in Blue? The Awakened? That one guy with the ship and the nukes? The messed up, disheveled, beaten and bleeding world at large? Humanity? Whatever the fuck was happening on that beach (if that scene doesn’t send some sort of shiver up your spine then you might not be human)? Honestly all of these are the antagonist and all of them are not. It’s one of the things I really like about the book. There’s a bad-guy here for everyone, pick your hate!

The Question (because every book needs a question): A huge, resounding, what the fuck?! What the fuck is up with all the fatal insomnia? What the fuck are those children so calm about? And, seriously, what the fuck is that magical golden dream all about? Yes, I am aware that is more than one question… It’s a complex book.

The Plot: No-one sleeps. Well, one in a thousand people maybe do. But most people don’t sleep. Things go to pot in a major, major way. Think of an atrocity and it’s probably committed within these pages, along with a few you probably haven’t thought of yet. Look at that cover, this is not a sane book. And yet there’s an almost indistinguishable grain of hope in there, among all the madness and attempted (sometimes successful) infanticide, there’s one tiny, desperate, dim, flickering point of hope. You have to look really hard to find it, and it offers no real comfort, but it’s there and in some ways it almost makes all the bat-shit insanity worth it.  Almost.

My Honest Opinion: This is not a book for the weak of heart or mind or stomach. This is not a book for a casual summer read, relaxing on a beach. You will find no relaxation here. But you figured that out already. The truth is, I read all one hundred and ninety nine pages of this book in three hours and I was a different person because of those three hours I spent inside Adrian Barnes’ head. My outlook, my speech, my thoughts and, most obviously, my writing have all been heavily influenced by those pages. I have read it once since, over the course of two days (roughly), and it’s punch, while not increased in the re-read, was far from diminished. In my mind, this is not a book, it is a series of images, events, emotions and experiences. “Nod” occupies the same space in my head as my actual memories of real life. It’s a wonder I don’t have PTSD from this shit. I did not turn the pages of this book I watched it happen and it implanted itself deep within me, digging its claws into my hippocampus and refusing to leave. I say I love this book, only because that is the only way to describe this strange cacophony of emotions and be taken seriously. I love Nod the way the abused loves the abuser, I know that it will tear me down, make me feel hopeless and depressed, that it will slap me in the face and punch me in the throat and leave me crying into my pillow, but at the end of the day it is what it is and as long as the bruises are metaphorical, then I will endure that agony. (Side note on abuse: Anyone who is being abused by anything more substantial than a book, say, by a person, PLEASE SEEK HELP! You are not alone, and there are a thousand ways out and a hundred thousand people who are willing to help. I do not condone non-metaphorical abuse in any way, shape or form.)

With that, ladies and gentlemen… Sleep Tight.

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