I had a lot of expectations for When All the World Sleeps. Some of them include: dark, intense, and BDSM! I mean, you can't look at that book cover, see the name "Lisa Henry" and NOT think you'll be in for some hours of absolutely delicious man pain.
But dare I say that WATWS wasn't up to par with my expectations? I think my biggest issue was buying Daniel's sleepwalking. Of course sleepwalking is real. But to take a real condition, and make it become the type of extreme that Daniel experiences almost everyday makes it less believable to me. Even within the scope of fiction too.
Then there was the lack of BDSM, despite the "erotical > BDSM" tag. This is not what I would call a BDSM read. At best, I would call the relationship between Bel and Daniel an awkward type of d/s. Key word being "awkward" - like the equivalent of a substitute teacher trying to bring order to a room of rowdy teenagers. When Bel admits to not really knowing how to be a "dom," I would have to agree since I felt like he didn't really know either.
And perhaps my dark-o-meter needs to be calibrated. There was certainly a lot of introspective lashing on Daniel's part (e.g. "I deserve to live a crappy life because of what I did" x 100) and some crap things that happen to him in a small southern town. But this book didn't feel dark. Heck, there were some very domesticated scenes towards the middle of the book that rubbed me the wrong way, mainly since I wasn't expecting it.
But what were some of the things I liked about this book? Well, I liked the progression of the story in the sense that the resolution was sort-of
realistic. There's no magical fix to the problems presented in the book, and that's how I like it. While it was difficult for me to swallow Daniel's extreme case of sleepwalking, it would have been even more unbelievable if everything was sunshine and rainbows with the wave of that magic wand we call "love."
I also enjoyed Bel's perspective of the story. Less convoluted with self-deprecating thoughts like a certain someone *coughDaniel*. But overall, WATWS just didn't hit the right buttons for me. Sure, it was entertaining, but it didn't leave a lasting impression. This book will be part of that "it's okay" pile.