*Disclaimer – I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.*
“The Nightmare Giving Demon watches from the shadows, lurking, prowling, waiting for the right moment to strike. He’s probably perched behind your shoulder right now.
He’s watching as you read these words, hoping that you’ll turn the page. He’s licking his lips and rubbing his hands together in anticipation.
He wants to be there as you read these stories. He wants to feel when your heart starts to race, when your palms start to sweat, when you turn your head ever so slowly to make sure there’s nothing else in the room with you. When the chill creeps down your spine, it’s him leaning closer, breathing on the back of your neck. His breath like rotting meat, soaking the room in dread.
The black shadow you spot from the corner of your eye? It’s his sharpened claw, inching its way towards you, getting ready to rip your flesh from your bones.”
Nightmare Realities 2 is the second book of middle grade dark fiction that Evan has published with Handersen Publishing, it’s predecessor Nightmare Realities having been published in 2017, both of which are illustrated by Evans 16 year old daughter Emma. Consisting of 7 tales of creep and dread, each one unique and separate, dealing with everything from death to haunted masks, from vampires to zombies, and even virtual reality – there’s a story for everyone in Nightmare Realities 2.
Nightmare Realities 2 is a collection of stories that I think would be perfect for the run up for Halloween. Whether you are reading with your kids or letting them delve into their own adventures, anyone from 9-10 and up would get a thrill from reading these dark tales. Evans seems to be a writer with many hats to choose from, but her middle grade writing is spot on – it isn’t too babyish to put off the early teen readers but it also isn’t verbose enough to intimidate the younger readers (if that’s even possible).
These are modern horror stories for modern children and they don’t hold back on the fear and terror and don’t patronise the reader. I honestly enjoyed the stories myself and didn’t feel like I was reading a children’s book, however, I also know this is the type of story I would have demolished as kid or a teenager, something to really chew on and get the creative juices going for my own stories. Each tale has a different tone to it ranging from typical teenage drama to hand-me-down ghost stories shared from generation to generation. Some have a sense of slowly creeping dread, and others are all action packed thrillers. No matter what kind of reader you are, you’ll find something that sticks in your mind from these stories, sticking in the dark corners of your mind.
I would have absolutely loved something like this when I was a kid, and to find out that it was entirely illustrated by the authors daughter as well? Priceless. I think that’s something that could inspire a lot of young people, that it doesn’t matter your age you can write your own stories and illustrate them and start as young as possible. And aside from the great illustrations I think the design of the pages is beautiful as well, a great addition to any shelf, physical or digital. This would be a great Halloween present to read over the holiday or just a staple for any creepy kids out there with voracious appetites. I’ll be going back to read the first Nightmare Realities.
About the Author
Amanda J Evans is an award-winning writer of paranormal and fantasy novels as well as children’s stories. Amanda lives in Co. Meath, Ireland with her husband and two children. She was published in several journals and anthologies in 2016 and 2017. Her first novel Finding Forever won Best Thriller in the 2017 Summer Indie Book Awards and her second novel Save Her Soul won Silver for Best Paranormal in the Virtual Fantasy Con Awards 2017. You can find Amanda on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and find out more about all of her works on her website www.amandajevans.com
Links to Buy and Review-
What’s your favourite middle grade horror collection? Do we need more dark fiction for younger horror fans? Do you thinks kids would connect better to a book another kid had a hand in, like illustrations? Let me know down below!