Saturday, May 2, 2015

Review: "Black Moon" by Kenneth Calhoun

Black Moon, the debut novel of Kenneth Calhoun, is a new entry into a long list of recent dystopian novel. The good news is that it presents a unique premise that injects some fresh blood into a genre that is always at risk of overexposure. The bad news is that it is not really as grand as it premise promises and never has enough room for all of its story threads, most of which need some breathing room, to reach maximum altitude. But the first thing I noticed about this world Calhoun creates is how urgent and dangerous it seems to be. It doesn't seem like it just reading it, but the world he describes, if it came to fruition would be nightmarish and just as bad as it is described in the book. It is an endlessly interesting concept that has a rare relatable quality that you don’t find in stories like this, and it is unfortunate some of the book’s meatier parts don’t have the impact they should. The books describes a world that is suffering from and insomnia outbreak, which affects most of the population, turning them first into hallucinating drones losing their grip on reality, to ravenous monsters willing to brutally kill anyone they think might still be able to sleep. In this world we meet Biggs, whose wife has disappeared after becoming infected, who goes out into this strange world looking for her. There is also Chase and Jordan, two carefree hoods looking to profit from this outbreak, Felicia, Chase’s ex-girlfriend who escapes a test facility, and young Lila, who wears a mask to protect herself now that her parents have also become infected. It makes for some cool scenes, like the transformation of Lila’s parents, and what happens to Chase when he accidently takes a Viagra. But sometimes it is too weird to create an emotional connection, at least within this short form, barely over 250 pages; it left me unsatisfied and hoping for a sequel. But this is still a cool story, with a setup that inspires fear easily and is well worth your time if you check it out. 
Rating: 4/5

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