Night­mares are real

But be­ing brave and fac­ing them takes all the power out of them.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - READS - Re­view by SULOSHINI JAHANATH star2@ thes­tar. com. my

WHAT if your night­mares are real? And what if they can come into the real world?

This is the fear that 12- year- old Char­lie Laird lives with in Night­mares. Ever since his father re­mar­ried, and Char­lie, his younger brother Jack and their father moved into the pur­ple man­sion that his step­mother lives in, Char­lie has been hav­ing ter­ri­ble night­mares.

And they’re all about a warty, green- faced witch and her huge cat threat­en­ing to eat him. Char­lie is so ter­ri­fied that he fights sleep by drink­ing coffee and stacks boxes to block the door to his room.

He fig­ures that there must be a con­nec­tion be­tween his night­mares, the pur­ple man­sion and his step­mother Char­lotte DeChant, who, he’s con­vinced, is evil. It doesn’t help that she runs a busi­ness called Hazel’s Her­bar­ium, with lots of witch- like po­tions ( at least in Char­lie’s opin­ion) al­ways brew­ing.

He knows that his step­mon­ster is a witch but he has no way to prove it, un­til a se­ries of events lead him to the Nether­world, the place where Night­mares live. What en­sues is a fight to sur­vive, a few res­cue at­tempts and Char­lie fac­ing his fears ... al­though his fears may not be what he thought they were.

Night­mares! is the first book in a new se­ries by Ja­son Segel and Kirsten Miller. If the for­mer’s name sounds fa­mil­iar, it’s be­cause Segel is more fa­mous for his on- screen work as Mar­shall Erik­sen in How I Met Your Mother.

Based on Segel’s own night ter­rors, Night­mares ex­plores the con­cept of night­mares, re­veal­ing that they are a man­i­fes­ta­tion of our deep­est fears. Night­mares prey on those fears, mak­ing them big­ger and bad­der than they ac­tu­ally are.

The novel could have very eas­ily been a cliché, but Segel and Miller’s writ­ing style suc­cess­fully puts it above that. It’s si­mul­ta­ne­ously scary and funny, while still deal­ing with some pretty heavy is­sues. The char­ac­ters are re­ally like­able, and re­lat­able. What also stands out is how Segel and Miller have delved into the com­plex­ity of loss, love and re­la­tion­ships. Char­lie’s re­la­tion­ship with his father, brother, step­mother and friends all come un­der the mi­cro­scope, and when he faces his fears, it brings clear fo­cus to his re­la­tion­ship with his late mother.

Night­mares! The Sleep­walker Tonic is the se­cond book in the se­ries and con­tin­ues the ad­ven­tures of Char­lie and his fam­ily and friends. Hav­ing closed the por­tal to the Nether­world and stopped the


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