Going beyond the obvious
Nightmares from entering the waking world, life has gone back to normal. Or as normal as it can get for guardians of the portal. Yes, it turns out that’s what Charlie and Jack are.
Working for Charlotte after school at Hazel’s Herbarium, Charlie notices that there are fewer and fewer customers coming into the shop. Finances are tight for the Lairds, and their only hope to turn things around is the book that Charlotte has written – with input from Charlie – chronicling the Netherworld.
That’s not the Lairds’ only problem. Something weird is happening in the nearby town of Orville Falls, and their only clue is the blue “Tranquility Tonic” that claims to help people sleep with no nightmares, sold at the “shop with the clouds on the window”. Charlie, Jack and his friends frantically try to figure out what’s happening before the same thing happens to their own town of Cypress Creek.
Nightmares 2 is just as good as the first book. In fact, it’s even better, simply because now the characters are familiar and yet they’re still growing. Charlie in particular grows a lot in space of 360 pages. Fighting his jealousy over Jack ( who, as it turns out has been a regular visitor to the Netherworld), encouraging Charlotte to sell her book because the family cannot sell the purple mansion where the portal to the Netherworld is, and saving the world again is a lot of things for a terrified, barely 13- year- old to do. Yet he does it. In fact, when Jack admits to being afraid, Charlie tells him that every time he’s afraid, he has a chance to be brave.
And that’s the recurring theme in the novels: facing your fears.
Jack is an interesting character as well. While in the first book he played a smaller role, he is central to a lot of goings on in the second. Fearless, he has made friends with most of the Nightmares, and does the things that Charlie initially hesitates to do. Yet he is also the scapegoat for all the bad things happening, and without Charlie, he is lost and afraid.
Another thing that stood out in this book is that the adults ( aside from Charlotte) are the ones who are at first influenced by the tranquility tonic, while the children are forced to take it by their parents. It’s an interesting look into adult sleeplessness – that adults have very different night terrors than children, yet the nightmares are real, all the same.
Funny and touching, both book one and two are fun and engaging. Book three is due in out September.