Book Reviews

City of Nightmares by Rebecca Schaeffer // Book Review


Gotham meets Strange the Dreamer in this thrilling young adult fantasy about a cowardly girl who finds herself at the center of a criminal syndicate conspiracy, in a city where crooked politicians and sinister cults reign and dreaming means waking up as your worst nightmare.

Ever since her sister became a man-eating spider and slaughtered her way through town, nineteen-year-old Ness has been terrified—terrified of some other Nightmare murdering her, and terrified of ending up like her sister. Because in Newham, the city that never sleeps and the only other home Ness has known, dreaming means waking up as your worst fear.

Whether that means becoming a Nightmare that is only monstrous in appearance but is otherwise able to live a semi-normal existence, to transforming into a twisted, unrecognizable creature that terrorizes the citizens of Newham, no one is safe. Ness will do anything to avoid becoming another victim, even if that means lying low among the Friends of the Restful Soul, a seedy organization that may or may not be a cult.

But being a member of the Friends of the Restful Soul has a price. In order to prove herself, Ness cons her way into what’s supposed to be a simple job for the organization—only for it to blow up in her face. Literally. Tangled up in the aftermath of an explosive assassination, Ness and the only other survivor—a Nightmare boy who Ness suspects is planning to eat her—must find their way back to Newham and uncover the sinister truth behind the attack.



Cheesy, camp, hilarious and so much fun, this was so much fun to read. I liked that it had the gritty, urban vibes of Repo The Genetic Opera and V For Vendetta, plunging us into a dark, grimy city where everyone’s just trying to survive day to day.

I wasn’t expecting this to be as funny as it is, and the story balances that well with the fear and grief that Ness constantly feels. I loved that she wasn’t a complex character, or a savior of the world, she was just a girl trying to get by, wanting to get back to the safety of her small room.

Cy is a more complex character. A boy turned Nightmare Vampire due to the fear of his father who chose to become one, his wit bounces off Ness’s sarcasm so well and the scenes they were both in were some of the best. I do want to see more from Ness’s friend Priya in the next book, as she only appeared a few times.

I liked that I couldn’t predict where this story was going to go next, and I’m so ready for the sequel. This does have a little bit of a cliffhanger ending, leaving me desperately wanting to know what will happen next now Ness’s decision seems to have changed her world forever.

Have you read this book? Let me know in the comments!

Follow me: Twitter / Tumblr / Instagram


Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s