It's hard to fit in when your nightmares open portals to the Netherworld, where horrible creatures live - like the class 3 Netherstalker that invaded a sleepover and tried to eat the other children. Luckily, there's a place for Charlie: the Nightmare Academy. Built from wrecked ships set in the branches of the world's most incredible tree fort, the Academy trains people to use their unique gifts to fight the monsters that rush in when the lights go out. But Charlie is far more powerful than anyone ever imagined, and his entrance exam opens a portal straight to the heart of the Netherworld, where ultimate evil plots Earth's destruction. He'll need all his cleverness and the help of his new friends to save himself and his family and to put these bad boys to bed once and for all. The monsters under your bed are real!
But never fear: the Nightmare Academy will train Nethermancers and Banishers like you to destroy them!
©2007 Dean Lorey; (P)2007 HarperCollins Publishers
I'd already read the second book on this series (hadn't been able to find this one in the kindle store), so I knew this would be good. I hadn't realised it would be amazing! Great introduction of a fictional world, really nice characters and exciting plot. I was initially a bit worried about the narration - I'm a Brit so my internal voice when I read to myself definitely doesn't have the American accent of Oliver Wyman and I wondered if it would put me off. That lasted about ten minutes. His narration and the huge range of subtly and not-so-subtly different voices, accents and vocal mannerisms he had for the different characters really brought them to life and added so much to the description of each character. And they were spot on: the bravado of Theodore; the 'popular girl' obnoxiousness of Brooke; the calm of the Headmaster; and the self-important brashness of the Director came across perfectly. Loved it.
My kids and I listen to this on the way to and from school everyday, until it was over. They loved it. It was a bit anticlimatic but fun.
"The dangers of having a good imagination."
Charlie Benjamin's nightmares are more dangerous than those of other children. His can summon monsters. But when he joins a school that trains children with similar powers, the real fun begins. Watch as Charlie learns to face his fears and battle monsters and overcome the hardest hurdle of all—making friends.
Dean Lorey writes a good, fast-paced story that's easy enough for children to follow, but witty enough for parents to enjoy. This is the kind of book which teaches children simple, powerful lessons that will stick with them long after they forget the story, while giving parents a chance to bond with their children.
Oliver Wyman is a fantastic narrator. He animates the characters of 'Nightmare Academy' so they are easy to recognize and remember.
If you like books like 'Harry Potter', 'Charlie Bone', or 'How to Train Your Dragon', or enjoy simple stories to read with your children, this book is for you.
Note: Parents, be sure to read any books for your children _before_ you offer them to be read. You know your children best and know what they can handle. Parts of this story may scare some children, and the underlying lessons may not be the ones you wish to teach your children.
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