REVIEW by Damien: Once Upon a Nightmare (Morpheus #1) by McKelle George (@DarkeRea​lmEnt)

Unknown to their victims, Nightmares and Dreams are actual creatures who invade human minds as embodied fears and joys. But with the new BlissMax pill–guaranteed to give you good dreams all night!–the Nightmares are starving.

Violet doesn’t use BlissMax (or any modern niceties, thanks Dad), and one night, a Nightmare—the fear of hell—enters her enticingly innocent mind and gets accidentally trapped. Though Violet has a penchant for creepy things, having a Nightmare stuck inside her mind causes problems: narcolepsy and yet further distance from reality, to name a few, not to mention the Nightmare begins to starve in the wake of fresh human fear.

In a misguided attempt to get him home, she gets dragged into the city of Nightmares—Halloweentown on steroids. Once there, it becomes apparent the Dreams and Nightmares hate each other and getting back (alive) only tips the list of growing complications.

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Concept: This took a different approach to drawing readers in, literally, by going into a young lady’s dreams. In her world people aren’t having natural dreams because most are hooked on BlissMax which pretty much keeps all of their dreams blissful and happy. No one seems to suffer any bad dreams anymore, except Violet, and that’s how all of her troubles begin.

Story: For Violet her dreams are just like the books she loves to read… they are always dark and when they get to be too much for her she’s developed a means of getting out. This works for her until she happens to trap the Nightmare Alexander inside of her head – inside of her dreams. As the two spark up a reluctant friendship, Violet begins to notice that Alexander isn’t looking too good and seems to be shrinking, fearing the worse they begin to search for a means to getting him out of her dreams and back to his world of Nightmares. The story itself takes a crazy twist when Alexander’s life it pretty much restored thanks to an old curse and in return he has to save Violet’s life by taking her back with him into the land of Nightmares and Dreams. Now it’s a race to get Violet back to the land of the living before the time on her expires.

Character Development: There was a really settling growth between Violet and Alexander going from just being Nightmare and Human to trying to co-exist enough to figure out how to get her back to the land of the living. Violet learns a lot more about herself than she ever would have being that kid who was always stuck in her room with her nose in a book, and Alexander ends up learning a lot more about himself than the fact that he loves just being a wild and loose free spirit. They both come to terms with the fact that they have to take responsibility for their lives and actions.

Dialogue: Loved the dialogue… there were no rushed or forced conversations; most of the times it was like talking to and arguing with one of your friends. There are a few times Violet does get a little whiney, but when you consider what she’s going through you can rather expect it from a teen age girl lost in the lands between Nightmares and Dreams.

Structure: I think this was structured excellently. You are whisked away between the realms of a young girl’s imagination to a realm beyond her wildest dreams. The creative manner in which everything is described you could pictured yourself walking around looking around like a tourist. Superb job.

Overall Review: I can only wish that I had time to just sit and really read this book through in the first couple of nights, but reading it just before I’d pass out really worked out well for me. I completely enjoyed book and the twists and turns and the subplots that kept you wondering, “What’s next?” Written for a younger crowd this book is great because he contains no profanity or adult situations, and yet, its actually a really good book for those of us who aren’t so young. This was a great read and I give it 4 stars and look forward to reading more from McKelle George.

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