Review of Nightmare Child, by Ian K. Sylus

A psychological thriller delving into a realm of dangerous subconscious, Nightmare Child is both a physically and emotionally tumultuous journey. This story sucked me in and left me wanting more- but I’m getting ahead of myself. Here’s the reasoning behind my 4 star rating, with the key points I liked and did not like.

– The atmosphere! The very feeling of the novel, the environment that Sylus crafted with his words, was enough to land a 4 star rating on its own. He forms a world that provides the kind of mood which not only supports but feeds the plot. The environment is, in many ways, another character, and a well-written one at that. It is a creepy, nostalgic, fantastic, twisted child-like fusion of memory and dream.
– When I use the term “psychological thriller,” I mean it very literally. The book revolves around the psychology of the subconscious and repression. These elements play a very heavy hand throughout the story, although sometimes more subtly than others. Either way, the incorporation of these elements really improves the plot and contributes to the effectiveness of the big reveal (which is being lumped into this pro). In general, the concept/plot was really well thought out, and it showed.
– Pacing seems like an odd thing to have in the list of top pros, but an unfortunate reality with thrillers of this nature, both indie and not, is that the pace tends to fluctuate. One chapter will be fast and exciting, and the next will be slow or dry. This novel managed to maintain a steady pace that kept the reader hooked without ever throwing too much at them.

– By the end of the novel, I really wanted more. Wait… is that a pro or a con? Maybe a little bit of both? I guess that’s why it really earned that fourth star! But still, I consider this a con because I wanted more of some very specific things. Mostly, I wanted the characters to be fleshed out a little more. We learn quite a bit about the main character at the end, or rather our suspicions are confirmed, but I still wanted to see more of her in the “real world.” Not to mention her mother and father, who were vital but still a bit too absent. Even the “dream world” characters felt truncated. This is not to say the characters weren’t well done, I just wanted a little more.
– Action and fighting scenes are difficult to write, no question about it. But in this case they were particularly detrimental to the story as a whole. These scenes were confusing and, unlike the rest of the novel, hard to picture or follow. I had to reread paragraphs to keep track of what was happening, and even then moved on with only the general understanding of the events that had unfolded during the action sequence.
– I was somewhat disappointed by the ending. Not the whole ending, as I mention “the reveal” as being a definite pro, but literally the last page was notably mediocre. I will avoid any and all spoilers, so unfortunately I can’t give much more detail than that. Sorry I’m not sorry.

Would I Recommend?
I certainly would, despite those few shortcomings. There’s no real limit to who can enjoy this book (unless you hate awesomely crafted dream worlds), and even as someone who does not generally stray into the realm of fantasy, Nightmare Child left me highly content and only hoping that more people will have the privilege to read it.

Here is a link to the Amazon page: Nightmare Child

Has anyone else read this book? Let me know what you thought! Any other indie authors looking for a review? Feel free to send me a message!


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