The Tie-Ins That Bind: A Nightmare on Elm Street: Perchance to Dream by Natasha Rhodes

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Well, we’re at book 4 and we’re still finding new unique angles.

That’s probably been my favorite part of looking at this run of tie-ins. Despite being from a franchise and having the basic hook of dream killings, they aren’t all the same book over and over. There’s a lot of flexibility in this franchise and I love it. That’s how it should be. I’m fascinated deeply by dreams and it makes sense horror that understands the power of them works. We haven’t faltered on that point yet and with Perchance to Dream by Natasha Rhodes, things get even more intriguing.

The book throws a unique wrench into the franchise: What if people couldn’t dream? What if there was a force, in this case a teenage boy, with the power to stop people from dreaming? What would that do to Freddy? And even scarier, what would it do to those affected? After all, we need dreams to function. Oh and what’s the boy’s secret? (Hint: it’s set roughly 16 years after A Nightmare on Elm Street 5.)

I love that all of these books have taken a unique approach. We haven’t had the same book twice. This one finds a way for Freddy to have power that’s not an angle you will predict but it’s an interesting one. There’s also a bit of a conspiracy angle as the boy Jacob is chased by people wanting to use him. This is an ambitious book.

As usual for the Black Flame books, the writing is a cut above. Rhodes, who appears to have left writing to go into digital publication, knows the game. She was a staff writer for the company and the staples are here. There’s fun characters and an intense level of atmosphere. The book is dense–that mandated door stopper page count rears its head again–and worth the $8 it would have cost.

I also love that the book, unique in the series, plays with the mythology. Jacob’s history makes this the only direct sequel. I get why other writers didn’t do this as Jacob is about the only dangling thread, but it’s nice. Nightmare had lore. It’s very nice to see the book have fun with it.

But I do have a gripe and it’s the end of the book. I get that these books must have dark endings. I’ve only read one Black Flame book approximate a happy ending. But this one is a cheap sucker punch. It’s a nihilistic end for no reason other than it has to. It was already a dark book. It didn’t need this.

That’s a small gripe. This is a fun one. Read it here.

One more to go next week.

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