City of Nightmares: The thrilling, surprising young adult urban fantasy
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In the city of Newham, no one is safe. Corruption is rife, violence is commonplace, and if people dream when they sleep, they become their worst fear. Ness's sister Ruby dreamt once, for once is all it takes, and became a giant man-eating spider, killing her father and leaving Ness traumatised. She ignores me, piling up all the pamphlets she has. A gust of wind chooses that moment to come in through the small, open window and whip the pamphlets around the room, making them soar like it’s raining therapy advertisements. Review copy was received from NetGalley. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
The world here is creepy, strange, brutal at times and just so weird. This is one of the few books where I didn't see many of the twists coming and was surprised every time. It is a dark tale and the city has horrors people have just learned to live with are mind boggling but humans can get used to anything we are just resilient that way.Being the only suspects puts them into a bloody, threatening dilemma. Every reporter is after their story, leaving them trying to solve a mystery in a city swarming with police corruption, conspiracy theories, and cults. Of course, it hasn’t stopped people bootlegging and making their own liquor. Because some people are stupid enough to take the risk—after all, you don’t dream every time you sleep. As a side note, coming from someone who has had pretty extensive involvement with domestic abuse and the care of victims, if anyone ever tells you that enemies to lovers, vampires, or weird spicy sexy romance books will affect your tolerance for abuse, get the hell away from them. Abuse is perpetuated through the manipulative and coercive actions of the abuser. 'Accepting' abuse comes from extensive periods of being broken down by that abuser. Sexy romance fiction is not poisoning the minds of women. I cant express how upset I am that this book pushes this concept so hard.
Okay, so if you've made it this far into the review and are somehow NOT already interested, let me just say that City of Nightmares was such a fun and self-aware ride. She’s small and looks even smaller in her tiny apartment. Like most apartments in Newham, it’s basically one room—double bed in one corner across from a tiny kitchenette against the wall and an attempt at a sitting room with one skinny sofa and table. Every available surface is covered in flowers. 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.The characters in this book really stood out to me. Ness, our main character, is described as a coward, but it runs much deeper than that. I love a good unlikable character, and Ness is definitely one. She’s on the morally grey side, and she’ll do anything to ensure her safety. I loved her character arc, and I’m really excited to see where this series will go. Behind me, Priya is practically dancing with excitement as she rips off her coat to reveal all the weapons underneath. She has a utility belt with so many different implements of murder it can’t possibly be legal, but that’s never stopped anyone from doing anything in Newham.