by Maureen Noel

These dreams go on when I close my eyes
Every second of the night I live another life

These Dreams  by Heart

Imagine that you’re a girl living on Orcas Island in what is – or was – The State of Washington. Your name is Safire and you are a highly skilled insurgent battling the rapidly decaying order of things on Orcas Island in the not too distant future. Orcas Island – and indeed Washington state – has become depopulated as thousands have fled the advancing glaciers of the new ice age. Civil authority has disintegrated and the island is ruled – or rather, terrorised – by an organised gang of thugs. You were employed as a scavenger in the island’s old landfill rooting out things like plastic bottles, rusted car parts and paper but now you are in a guerrilla war against the authority wielded by the thugs who control the crumbled civilisation.

Now imagine, if you will, that you’re a young woman named Sapphire working as the seasonal manager of a book shop in the present day village of Eastsound on Orcas Island. You are – somehow – pregnant though you have no recollection of the act that started it and your nights are consumed with strange dreams – nightmares, really – in which you become Safire. Going to sleep is something you fear because you see what Safier does, thinks and feels – including wounds she suffers – and more than once, you have awoken to find yourself bruised, cut and bleeding. Safire dreams about you and your quiet life at the book shop in a time that is so much warmer than hers.

This is the dichotomy that Maureen Noel has created in her novel, Nightworld, a gripping thriller about both a present-day and future world that are seemingly connected only by dreams. At least that’s the way things are until a character from Sapphire’s Nightworld makes an unwelcome appearance in Eastsound and things are never the same after that.

Abiding by my rule of not revealing the plot synopsis or ending., I can say that once this story really gets underway, it gets better and better by each page. At first, readers are thrown into a confusing situation where they spend time trying to determine just what is happening; not unlike the confusion that Sapphire must have felt when she found herself pregnant and dreaming of the Nightworld inhabited by Safire. As the plot progresses, the reader starts to get his or her feet on the ground and the book becomes less and less easy to put down.

While the book is classified as “Fantasy”, it is definitely not the stuff of unicorns, Hobbits, mermaids, royalty or talking animals. Instead, it is a dark and brooding work punctuated with flashes of terror; both in present-day Eastsound and the Nightworld of Sapphire’s dreams. The book, Nightworld, is suitable for the upper age  segment of Young Adult readers as well as adults.

Remember, don’t go to sleep as you never know what will happen to you in the Nightworld.

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