Insomnium by Zachary Bonelli
Published by: Fuzzy Hedgehog Press
Review by: Dani Hoots
Nel Hanima grew up amidst chaos. The government collapsed when he was five, and he lived in an underground bunker until he was twelve. His adult life, by comparison, is stable. Government and public services have been restored. But still, the trees and grasses grow browner. The ocean continues to rise, swallowing up neighborhood after neighborhood of Nel’s youth.
A faint tug drags at him day after day–the suspicion that his life is without purpose or meaning. Hope for a better future fades with each passing day.
One night, he falls asleep in his Seattle apartment and awakens in the City of Nowhere, an impossible conundrum world of non-human citizens, where time and space are an illusion and paradoxes run rampant.
As Nel explores the city, he meets Giniip Pana, Rev Merveille, and Drogl Belgaer, humans from alternate versions of his world’s timeline. Together with his new friends, Nel works to unravel the mysteries of Nowhere, to learn how he came to be there, and discover not only a way to return to Seattle, but also the purpose and meaning his life has lacked.
*Description copied from Amazon*
Alice in Wonderland meets Inception, this story covers it all. We are introduced to Nel as he is pulled into a dreamworld where he must begin to understand what it’s like in other people’s shoes and why people do the things they do. I enjoyed it a lot as we get to see different universes and how society could have been if things had been different.
The different worlds were definitely unique and I loved how Bonelli was able to draw in problems in modern society and show them in a way that was clear. It differently mirrors Alice in Wonderland in that way, as Lewis Carroll was defining British Society in his tale, Bonelli does the same for the United States, more specifically Seattle. I thought it was a great way to get people to think not only on problems like homophobia and racism, but also in understand why people act the way they do and how their past has shaped them.
The characters were interesting but I wasn’t able to fully grasp them until near the end. I wished I was able to really get into their shoes near the beginning, but other than that I found this novel to be outstanding. If you love anything that has to do with parallel universes, dreams, and perception, definitely pick this one up.
All in all I give this novel a 4.5/5 and recommend it to anyone who is wanting an interesting read. Please check it out and I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did!