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Saturday, 6 April 2013

*** Review*** The Stuff of Nightmares by Malorie Blackman

Begins with a ride on a train.

But where it ends is on a precipice of horror – dangling on the border between life and death.

It’s a moment when Kyle discovers that he’s not the only one in his class who knows about fear.
Not the only one who has nightmares.

And now, as Death stalks the carriages, it’s a moment when nightmares become real.

Nightmares of wars, and the world devastated by chemical weapons.  Of a body being slowly stolen, bit by bit.  Of monstrous actions and monstrous creatures from old myths.  Of jealousy, obsession and a stalker outside your window.  Nightmares of everything imaginable.

What will it take for Kyle to finally face his greatest fear?

I’m choosing this because:

This is the final Malorie Blackman book on Spencer the TBR pile (tell me, how relieved are you to hear that?) So after this I’m officially concluding my part in Malorie Blackman Month (which is hosted with Amy Bookworm) for two reasons. 1. I’ve run out of books and 2. By the time I’ve finished this it’ll be April. However I will be counting this one... because I can, and I’m ahead post wise anyway. Anyway, I think the synopsis is what actually made me buy it but Malorie’s name on the cover certainly helped.

Judging a book by its cover:

The cover is very simple, it’s eye-catching though. Those bright red train tracks really stand out against the black and draw you to the book. I have to say that even though it’s not the prettiest cover in the world, I do like it. It’s dark and intriguing and definitely a cover that does its job. I need to know what nightmares and horrors lie within.

Pricing the (possible) awesomeness:

Okay, I got this as part of a 3 for £5 offer, because I hunt bargains (okay, The Works is more likely to get books I actually like.) but you can buy this on Amazon for £5.24 in paperback or £4.74 on Kindle. Malorie’s books aren’t the best bargains are they?

This is my favourite Malorie Blackman book of the month without a shadow of a doubt. While I didn’t find it scary I did find myself getting drawn into the story and losing hours of my life by just becoming enthralled by the stories. Each nightmare has an individual voice to it but still feels like a part of the overall plan of things, I have to say that I feel like a lot of those nightmares could actually happen in our world. The premise is an interesting one, the ability to hide from your own worst nightmares by jumping into those of others is something I think I’d quite like to do. Knowing people’s deepest, darkest secrets would help make people seem equal to me (we’re all scared of something! The dark’s one of my worst fears. What about you?). The writing is some of Malorie’s best in my opinion, the words flowed together painting beautiful pictures of things no one wants to happen. Her writing is something that just comes with talent and experience and I’m in awe of her.

Kyle – He’s our main character and nightmare jumper. He’s an interesting character and is difficult for me to pin down. I did like him but he was so filled with pain and guilt but as I read his story I came to see why and I felt for him. I understood. To be honest, if I was him I’d have played my cards in exactly the same way. I felt like I wanted to stage an intervention for him, but he’s more intelligent than most people in the world because he figures out what he needs to do to feel better about himself and life in general. That’s something most people don’t manage in more than a lifetime.

Rachel – Rachel’s a bit special, in the sense that she’s not what she appears to be. That makes it really hard for me to tell you about her without spoilers, but she’s the only other main character. I always felt a bit weird about her. Something felt off about her and I didn’t buy into what she was saying at first. She knew way too much. I’m not sure if I’m making sense, I get what I mean though.

Favourite nightmare: Robby’s – Robby’s nightmare was a highlight, it was a nice edge into dystopia and I think it’d make a fabulous novel. A lot of the others felt like they were all they needed to be but this one has more depth to it and a whole back story that I want to explore. I do feel like having it in here undersells it. I want more. And just as a coincidence, Robby’s nightmare is page 99!! So I’m going to use it as a sly way to promote this: My Page 99 Test of The Stuff of Nightmares.

Overall this is a really good set of stories weave into a bigger story arc. I love the idea and I love how Malorie presented it. The writing was amazing and the pace was incredible. I think it’s a challenge to make short stories the right length and Ms Blackman does it time and time again in this story. The way she’d snap back to the present situation to build up tension and anticipation was a stroke of genius as far as I’m concerned! 

This is a really great story. I like it. A lot. Now it got an extra .5 for being my favourite book of Malorie Blackman Month but I feel that it’s one of those amazing stories where you don’t consider a five. (My 5 star books include ‘The Book Thief’ and this simply doesn’t come close.) I still highly recommend this though!

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