Night Terrors

Night Terrors - Tim Waggoner

[I got a free copy through NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.]

Well, what can I say... I really liked this one? I tend to naturally gravitate towards themes such as dreams and nightmares, and when I saw that Night Terrors dealt with exactly that—more specifically, nightmares made "flesh"—I just couldn't pass on it. Although I'm also a glutton for punishment, since clowns have always creeped me out, and guess what Jinx is? Yep. The cover kind of gave it away, after all.

Audra and Jinx are agents of the Shadow Watch, an organisation bent on regulating interactions between the human world and Nod, a place where dreams have attained a state of self-awareness. Audra is an Ideator, a human whose psyche created and fleshed out a nightmare (Jinx), until the latter became his own self. Since then, both have been working for that special agency.

Some aspects of this novel rest on well-known tropes, such as the two "cops" with a record of regularly causing havoc while on a mission, or the dashing potential love interest with mysterious goals and a mysterious employer. Or the shady bar with shady customers and a shady bartender who deals information. However, those being traditional fixtures of the detective novel/UF genre, I wasn't too surprised to see them here. What I appreciated was how they were, but didn't become too heavy.

I seriously dug the world-building here. The narrative, told in Audra's voice, is peppered with small doses of information here and there, which allowed me to qickly grasp what Nod and the Shadow Watch stood for, how things worked there, what an Ideator was, and so on. Audra has a tendency to address the reader, which can be annoying to a degree if you don't like that; personally, I thought it created some kind of complicity, as if I was allowed to get a glimpse of what dreams are really made of.

The characters weren't the most developed ever, but I found them fun and sympathetic nonetheless. The nightmares/dreamt creatures came in many flavours, ranging from relatively human-looking dreams to strange animals, fear-inducing shadows and even Deathmobiles beaming green aging lasers into their enemies. The concept of their having Night and Day Aspects added interesting possibilities in my opinion. Night Jinx was pretty funny (in his own frightening ways), while Day Jinx turned out to be quite the decent fellow. There's also a hint of a potential love interest, as said above. It never becomes overwhelming, which I was grateful for: the story's stakes are high enough, and I seldom root for making-out sessions in such cases. The novel paved the way for more in that regard... or not... and it doesn't really matter.

I admit I wasn't too keen on the Evil Gloating speech of the villain towards the end, but at least it wasn't the Bond Villain Stupidity kind.

As a whole, this book simply... clicked with me. I can't really explain in objective terms.