Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Book Review: Night Terrors by Tim Waggoner

Pros: interesting mystery, interesting mythology/world-building

Cons: climax involves antagonists explaining their plan

Audra Hawthorne works for the Shadow Watch, an organization that helps keep the living nightmares, or incubi, created by human ideators, in Nod, and away from regular humans.  When the capture of an incubus assassin on Earth goes awry, in several ways, she and her partner are taken off the case.  But Audra doesn’t take orders well, and neither does her partner, the homicidal clown, and incubus, Mr. Jinx.

This is an urban fantasy novel with a pretty neat premise, that some people can be terrorized by their nightmares to the point of making them real.  And then sometimes partnering with them.  There’s more to the world building than that, of course, and Nod, the incubus realm, has some pretty interesting goings on considering that the populace is stronger than humans, heals faster than humans and is significantly more insane then the human one.  One thing I appreciated was that though there’s a lot of violence, a good portion of the blood and guts is left to the reader’s imagination, rather than graphically described (though, there are some creepy scenes).

I liked Audra and Jinx’s interactions, and while more explanation of how she got over her fear of him once he became real would have been nice, I did like that their relationship was complicated.  And as this is the start of a series, there’s time for explanation later on.

Written in first person singular, there are periodic asides to the reader that make it feel like you’re reading Audra’s diary.  There’s a dry humour to these that I loved.

The mystery was suitably complex and involved several subplots that were all pretty much resolved by the end of the book.  

The book felt cartoony at times, due to Jinx’s hijinks and the high level of violence contained in certain scenes.  This is most noticeable during the climax when the antagonists stop fighting in order to explain their plan to the protagonists.  I can’t help but think this information could have been parcelled out in a more organic way, but it did fit the tone of the book.

Ultimately it was a fun, quick read, though if you’re scared of clowns this book won’t help you get over that.

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