Gotham meets Strange the Dreamer in this thrilling young adult fantasy about a cowardly girl who finds herself at the center of a criminal syndicate conspiracy, in a city where crooked politicians and sinister cults reign and dreaming means waking up as your worst nightmare.
Ever since her sister became a man-eating spider and slaughtered her way through town, nineteen-year-old Ness has been terrified—terrified of some other Nightmare murdering her, and terrified of ending up like her sister. Because in Newham, the city that never sleeps and the only other home Ness has known, dreaming means waking up as your worst fear.
Whether that means becoming a Nightmare that is only monstrous in appearance but is otherwise able to live a semi-normal existence, to transforming into a twisted, unrecognizable creature that terrorizes the citizens of Newham, no one is safe. Ness will do anything to avoid becoming another victim, even if that means lying low among the Friends of the Restful Soul, a seedy organization that may or may not be a cult.
But being a member of the Friends of the Restful Soul has a price. In order to prove herself, Ness cons her way into what’s supposed to be a simple job for the organization—only for it to blow up in her face. Literally. Tangled up in the aftermath of an explosive assassination, Ness and the only other survivor—a Nightmare boy who Ness suspects is planning to eat her—must find their way back to Newham and uncover the sinister truth behind the attack.
5 stars and read in one sitting!
All along while reading that story I couldn’t help but thinking of Gotham and I swear I hadn’t read the blurb before!
But that gave me a real “Batman/Gotham” vibe with a city filled with monsters , a mayor election on the run and corruption everywhere, even among the police!
Imagine fearing to fall asleep because you nightmare could come to live and you could become you nightmare! A giant spider , a killer cockroach, an hybrid King Kong/dragon… anything!
That’s Ness’s world for you.
And since her big sister morphed into a giant spider and ate her father alive, Ness is traumatized and fearing every nightmare!
She has found refuge among the Friends of the Restful Soul, a questionable organization/cult because that’s the only place that makes her feel safe, resting in a closet!
But Ness is on the verge of losing her shelter, that’s why she must prove herself to her boss. And that’s the moment where everything will literally blow up for her. Ironically, she’ll escape death thanks to a nightmare boy.
And soon after, she realizes that killers are after her and she’d better discover who and why!
I loved that story!
I found so refreshing that the main character was a literal coward!
Yes Ness has been traumatized but the thing she excels at when confronted with danger is run, and run fast! That’s a nice change from all the fearless heroines!
I also really liked the universe, set in that corrupt Newham city, full of skyscrapers, dirty cops, sleazy mayors, monsters and so much more!
Of course, you don’t write a story with the main character alone! And the side characters were a real delight as well as the friendships!
From her best friend Priya frosting at the mouth when seeing a dangerous nightmare, ready to kill it and prove herself worth of joining the Nightmare Defense association to the nightmare boy with a marshmallow heart and so sad that he has no friends anymore.
“I look at him, bathed in the moonlight, pacing forward, his green eyes sad, lost somewhere in the past, and I wish I could make myself less afraid. Because I think I’d actually like to be his friend.”
The pacing is just right, not too fast but not too slow either, with never a dull moment and everything meant to further the plot.
There is also an incredible character growth as Ness will have to overcome her fears when her life will be turned upside down.
That story was just a pure delight, even if it’s far from a genre I am used to read and I hope we’ll get a sequel!
Thanks for reading.