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Book Review: ‘Sleepless’ by Louise Mumford

Hello everyone, and welcome back to The Bookworm’s Fantasy! I hope you’re all doing well. Today I’m posting my review of Louise Mumford’s debut thriller, ‘Sleepless’. I read this book quite a while ago now but have only just gotten around to reviewing it – I’m a bit behind with my review posts! I was lucky enough to be sent a copy of this book by Louise Mumford herself – thanks so much! I really enjoyed the book and have been looking forward to sharing my thoughts with you. So, keep reading…

Don’t close your eyes. Don’t fall asleep. Don’t let them in. 

Thea is an insomniac; she hasn’t slept more than three hours a night for years.

So when an ad for a sleep trial that promises to change her life pops up on her phone, Thea knows this is her last chance at finding any kind of normal life.

Soon Thea’s sleeping for longer than she has in a decade and awakes feeling transformed. So much so that at first she’s willing to overlook the oddities of the trial – the lack of any phone signal; the way she can’t leave her bedroom without permission; the fact that all her personal possessions are locked away, even her shoes.

But it soon becomes clear that the trial doesn’t just want to help Thea sleep. It wants to control her sleep…. 

‘Sleepless’ is Louise Mumford’s debut novel, which was published on 10th December 2020. Mumford was born and lives in South Wales. She studied English Literature at university and worked as a teacher for many years. In 2019, she was discovered as a new writer by her publisher at the Primadonna Festival – and so began her writing career…

The novel has received lots of positive praise, from the likes of fellow authors such as John Marrs: “The Circle meets Black Mirror in a thrilling, plausible and gripping debut”, Roz Watkins: “A twisty, action-packed plot make this intriguing thriller unputdownable”, Catherine Cooper: “A brilliantly original premise which is horrifyingly believable – one for insomniacs everywhere” and Philippa East: “An original and action-packed thriller, with a perfectly unnerving premise that hooked me from the start”.

‘Sleepless’ tells the story of insomniac Thea, who signs up to an experimental sleep trial. Her sleeping begins to improve almost immediately – but there are strange things happening in Morpheus, and the trial wants to control much more than just her sleep…

The narrative is told from the third-person perspective throughout, with Thea as the main focus. The reader is given an in-depth insight to her thoughts, feelings and emotions, as well as a distanced account of the events as they unfold. The story is told in the present tense, with some allusions to the past. Overall, the narrative is extremely easy to follow, yet still very effective.

Thea is a very well-written character. She suffers terribly with insomnia and has tried everything to cure her sleep issues, with little luck. She is so exhausted all of the time, causing her to make stupid mistakes – and so she becomes desperate to improve her sleep. Thea enters Morpheus feeling understandably sceptical, but soon she begins to see a huge improvement in her sleep and feels amazing. She makes friends with others on the trial and is given a new found confidence. But soon it becomes clear that there is something much more sinister going on, and she finds herself in a very dangerous situation. Thea is strong-willed and brave, yet still emotional and vulnerable. She isn’t perfect and makes her fair share of mistakes, making her an extremely realistic character. I felt a great deal of sympathy towards Thea, and really enjoyed discovering more about her as the novel progressed.

As the narrative motors onwards, strange things begin to happen on the island, and Thea feels more vulnerable and isolated than ever. Thea attempts to get to the bottom of what’s going on at Morpheus, but unfortunately she finds herself and her friends in a very dangerous situation. Will Thea manage to escape, before it’s too late?

So, let’s talk about the ending. I have to admit that I didn’t really enjoy the last quarter of the novel. The narrative reaches a dramatic climax, and Thea must fight for survival. The ending is jam-packed full of action and suspense, which usually I love – but in this case, it felt too exaggerated and over the top for my liking. The novel ends on an ambiguous note which frustrated me, and I didn’t feel like the events were resolved at all. But don’t necessarily be put off, as you may enjoy the ending much more than I did!

Overall, I highly recommend this novel to those of you who enjoy dystopian thrillers, particularly if you’re interested in reading about the topic of insomnia. The premise is unique and interesting, and it was what originally drew me to this book. I really enjoyed the first 3 quarters of the novel, and felt that Thea was an excellently-written character – but for reasons stated above, I didn’t enjoy the final quarter. That being said, I’m still really glad I read this book and found it a thoroughly enjoyable experience. Sound good? Click here to purchase your copy!

Happy reading 🙂

2 thoughts on “Book Review: ‘Sleepless’ by Louise Mumford

  1. It’s an interesting thing between some readers who like endings to resolve everything and those who don’t mind things left a bit open-ended, perhaps so they can decide how they want it to end. I think either can work well if done right. For one book I wrote in particular my ending left it up to the reader to decide what was true. What I found most fascinating is that the ending chose told me a lot about the reader.

    Liked by 1 person

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