Last time we saw Flynn and Charlotte in Happiness And Other Diseases things were not going well for the young couple in love. In Sumiko Saulson’s Somnalia things have gotten worse for them and the gods of the underworld. With Brash the god of erotic nightmares gone, Phobetor the god of nightmares is looking to expand his kingdom. He tries to win the trust of Flynn and Charlotte, while another god releases two dream demons in the form of children into the real world to wreak havoc. Chaos reins supreme in the land of dreams and in reality. Earth’s only hope is in the hands of two lovers who have been separated after making a supreme sacrifice.
The best part of this book for me was the interactions between Phobetor and Flynn. The early scenes with these two were like a therapy session and as the book goes on, you see their relationship change. Both characters manage to learn something about themselves from the other. While Phobetor does have an agenda, Flynn is too trusting and they are both different characters by the end of the book.
One thing Sumiko Saulson does well in her novels is use characters that you don’t see in most books. Some of her characters suffer from mental illness, many are minorities and the main hero in the book, Flynn is a person who doesn’t want to be a hero. Flynn is someone who fell in love and got much more than he bargained for. He has power over a kingdom and other gods want him dead. All he really wants is to be with Charlotte and be happy. The characters are what really make this book interesting because they all are like people whom you would meet in everyday life.
Another character I liked was Sympathy. She starts the book as part demon and works with her sister Mercy to bring destruction to everyone they come across. As the story moves along Sympathy changes and the story gets suspenseful as she tries to escape with her sick mother. Somnalia is an interesting look at what makes a person do what they do and how they change when they see the error of their ways.
Somnalia is not your average horror novel. There are no monsters jumping out at people, it’s light on the gore and, until you get into the last half of the book, there isn’t much suspense. Somnalia is a psychological thriller or in other words an intellectual horror novel. Sumiko brings a lot of different mythological figures to life and lets you see everything that’s going on in their heads. This book also gets heavily into the theme of redemption, loyalty, love and even has an interesting section that focuses on the grieving process. Somanlia is a book for readers who like complex characters and like to look for a deeper meaning in literature. It also has some good humor and some good horror scenes. You might not look at twins the same way again.