Sleep No More and The Innocent Sleep are the two latest novels in the October Daye series. They came out in September and October, and they’re an experiments of sorts.
This is going to be an interesting review. I’ve reviewed the October Daye series before and it’s gone on for a number of installments. These two new books are number 17 and 18. That means I have to avoid spoiling 16 books while talking about these new ones. That’s going to be a challenge.
On the other hand, I wanted to review something good after the pretty negative one last week, so let’s go!
A tale of two viewpoints
Sleep No More and The Innocent Sleep continue after the cliffhanger at the end of the last book. Yes, both of them. Sleep No More covers October’s viewpoints of things, and The Innocent Sleep covers Tybalt’s viewpoint. Both of them are caught up in the same torrent of shit.
If you’ve read the previous sixteen books, you know what’s going on. If you haven’t, like I said, I’ll try not to spoil things. So yeah, I can’t really tell you anything more about the plot.
The characters should be familiar: October Daye, the halfling (half-human half-fae) detective, and Tybalt the King of Cats (who can shape-shift to cat form). October has a known penchant for finding trouble, but in these two novels her go-to solution of taking charge and steamrolling into enemy lines is… hampered. Tybalt is hampered in a different way, but just as constrained in his story.
How did it work out?
Telling the same story from multiple viewpoints is a very interesting exercise for a writer. One of the most basic writing exercises it to describe the same scene from multiple viewpoints to practice giving a unique voice to characters. It also makes it possible to show different nuances of a situation to readers.
However, the drawback is that you are telling the same story twice. A climactic ending will usually only work once, which can be a problem. And, unfortunately, that is a problem for these two books.
Sleep No More came out first — in September — and it is a brilliant novel. I love it, like I loved all sixteen novels before it. The Innocent Sleep is also good, but it doesn’t cover much new ground. You know going in how things will play out. And that really hurts the tension.
Both books end with the same climactic ending. It’s an awesome ending, but it’s less awesome when you read it a second time.
I think this story would have benefited tremendously from alternating the viewpoints instead of separating them into two books. Instead of The Innocent Sleep becoming a rehash after the fact, it would build more tension for the climactic ending. Redividing the chapters from both books over the two in chronological order would work better… Except, part of The Innocent Sleep is set before the events in Sleep No More, but does spoil things. So yeah, a slightly different order of chapters would probably have worked best, although the story as a whole might have suffered.
As it stands, I would say Sleep No more is a worthy Seventeenth book in the series, and The Innocent Sleep is an experiment that might better have been dubbed 17.1.
Both of these novels are really awesome, and I can highly recommend them. That said, The Innocent Sleep doesn’t add much to the overall series. It’s good, but more as an interesting experiment and not so much as a worthy