Check out after my review for an excerpt of Slumbering!
Author: C.S. Johnson
Released: December 19th, 2012
Received: Review Request
I received a copy of Slumbering in exchange for a fair and honest review.
Slumbering is the first novel in the Starlight Chronicles series by C.S. Johnson. It’s a young adult fantasy series that it sure to please fans of both genres. Slumbering follows young Hamilton Dinger, AKA Dinger, AKA Hammy, on a surprising and unexpected journey in his very own hometown.
Dinger is used to be the best in school. He’s brilliant, he’s a great athlete, and everything comes naturally to him. Especially when it comes to making friends. But things are about to change in his life, and the question is, how is he going to handle it?
The series takes a new perspective on superpowers and saving the world, and is really quite a lot of fun to read. If you’re looking for a story with a protagonist that has a lot to learn, then this is the one for you.
Also, side note: I just want to point out how much I adore this cover. It’s absolutely stunning! And honestly I know that I would have picked up this book for that reason alone, even if I hadn’t been approached to give it a read.
I really enjoyed Slumbering, and once again found myself completing this novel in one sitting. I just couldn’t put it down. And trust me, I tried to put it down for a bit to get some work done – it didn’t work.
This was a fun and unique experience for me. I’ll confess that I really didn’t like Dinger at the beginning of the book. Honestly, I’m not even sure I liked him all that much by the end of the book. But I was still curious about the plot and what was happening around him. It proves that you don’t always have to like the protagonist in order to enjoy their story.
And I can honestly say that my not liking Dinger didn’t take away from the book in the slightest. Instead I just happily read on, waiting for that big moment when everything would change for him, forcing a perspective shift – because I had no doubt that one was on the way.
The novel did a trick that I’m personally a fan of – starting at a later point, but then bringing us back to the beginning to explain everything. It’s smart because it gives us a glimpse of the action, but then it gives us a chance to understand (and care about) everything that is happening.
The mystery about what was actually happening during Slumbering was exceptionally done. It had a gradual buildup, courtesy of Dinger’s refusal to deal with the situation. The storytelling style helped here as well, since Dinger was essentially telling us the story from a later point in time – with him essentially admitting where he should have noticed that something was off here and there.
I really enjoyed that this novel was a bit of a twist on the coming of age story, or at least it felt that way for me. We have an inherently selfish character – Dinger – forced to come to terms with the evil happening around him, and make a choice he doesn’t want. That doesn’t automatically mean that he’s going to do a better job of thinking about other people of course…but it’s a start. I’m looking forward to seeing his character progress in later novels (oh I do hope he appears in the rest of the series).
The superhero names in this novel were a bit all over the place, but in a good way. I love that Dinger is Wingdinger. It’s so appropriate somehow. And Starry Night is another fantastic name, which an implication of mystery, which is fortunate since we don’t know much about her. Though I do have my theories on the matter.
I’m looking forward to reading the next novel in the series, Calling. There’s also a novella that’s #0 in the series that I apparently missed, called Searching. I’m going to have to look into that one as well!
Excerpt from Slumbering
Maia, the Sinister of Sloth, and Orpheus, are attacking Hamilton’s school, and Starry Knight makes her first official appearance.
“Maia, you have done well up to this point,” a new voice called out from the sky. “Why do I have to come to your rescue now?”
I didn’t have to look up to know who it was now. Everyone and his brother had shown up. Why not Orpheus too?
“Orpheus!” Maia cried out. Her fro-like hair whipped around as she turned her attention to the newcomer.
Hovering in the sky just above the school was a dirty-looking man wearing a black cloak-like outfit. The long robes mostly disguised a wrinkly, repulsive body, but didn’t do anything to contain the smell. The rotten-eggs aftershave wasn’t going to get him a girlfriend any more than the comic-con outfit.
“Yes. Yes, it’s me,” Orpheus replied, confirming my suspicions. “What seems to be the problem?”
“A what? A block in your brain?” he asked as he floated over to her.
I smirked, briefly forgetting the imperative nature of the situation. He might smell bad, look horrible and not be a nice guy, but I liked his insults.
Everyone looked back toward the angelic warrior. I didn’t blame Orpheus for getting angry a second later.
“What?” Maia gasped. “She’s gone?! I swear, Orpheus, there was a person standing up there a moment ago!”
“You’re not supposed to be afraid of people—you’re supposed to attack them.” Orpheus sighed.
I suppose people will wonder why Gwen and I didn’t just run away. You have to understand that this was not something you get to see every day. After years of reality TV shows, you should know by now the power a dysfunctional family has over its audience.
So it was only when Orpheus looked down at us that we snapped back to normal fear mode.
“Let’s just hurry up and get these two, and be done for now. You know we need their Soulfire.”
Soulfire? Okay, so reality TV had just turned into science fiction. Or maybe fantasy?
“Psst! Dinger!” I looked over and saw Mikey beckoning me from behind some brick columns. I almost rolled my eyes; Mikey wasn’t seriously stupid enough to think a brick wall could fend off these evil magician-electrician people, was he?
But better to be behind a wall than out in the open. I grabbed Gwen by the wrist and pulled her along behind me as I ran for cover.
I flinched as Orpheus suddenly appeared directly in front of me. “Augh!” I screeched to a halt, falling over; Gwen followed in suit.
“Hammy!” Gwen cried out as she landed hard on her right side. There was a snapping noise, and horror sneaked into me as I saw Gwen’s hand bent back on her arm. I felt sick.
And Orpheus wasted no time.
He grabbed me by the wrist. A strong stinging sensation flew up my arm, my teeth clenched in severe, excruciating pain, and I struggled not to scream (loudly). I trembled as Orpheus laughed. It was the same cold laugh I remembered from my dreams.
Why do my dreams only come true when it means certain death? No, it’s never for true love or winning the championship title.
I went back to being concerned for my life as another sizzle of power crept through my body, setting my nerve endings on fire. “Stop it!”
“You’ve been enough trouble!” Orpheus cried out, laughing. “I’ll burn your body and suck out your soul, and then we’ll see how much trouble you cause!”
Orpheus and I were too caught up in his moment of glory and my moment of life-altering agony to see the arrow. It sliced through the air and dug into his left eye, squirting what looked like a stream of runny black acid all over his front. The force of impact and injury rattled him enough to let me go.
“Augh! Ouch!” Orpheus cursed loudly. He clenched his teeth as he jerked the arrow out a moment later; the eye popped out along with it, nearly making me vomit on the spot. And while the flood of pain stopped drowning my body, I was still physically reeling from the forceful shadow of his power.
“You see? I told you!” Maia called out. “She just moved!”
Orpheus looked over with his remaining eye to see the warrior with the violet eyes staring down at him. I followed his gaze as I fell to my knees, trying to recover.
She narrowed her gaze. “Let him go!” she called out. Her voice was strong. I was just about to ask her for her name when she added, “Your battle is with me, not these children.”
Children?! Children?! Anger blistered through me as I squirmed, trying to get out of the ugly weirdo’s grip. My earlier pain was nothing compared to the rage fueling me now!