Once Upon A Nightmare is a fantastically-paced novella set in a fascinating future LA where dreams (and nightmares) can manifest. The twist of having a main character who discovers she isn’t “real” is an ironically humanizing one and an excellent origin story for a fish-out-of-water superheroine.
I enjoyed the writing and appreciated the lack of distracting typos–a pet peeve of mine that happens more frequently when reading indie books. Newman’s work allowed me to create clear images in my head of a world that has reacted to a supernatural incursion within a lifetime. The factions that spring up around the “shades,” as the manifestations are called, are realistic, and the action sequences are exciting and well-crafted.
The story itself has twists and turns, secrets and hints, allowing the reader the joy of guessing about what will happen next. The ending is very satisfying, and yet a perfect launch point for the full series. This is an urban fantasy world that does not read as dysptopian. Good outcomes are possible, but as in all great stories, the characters are going to have to work to get them.
Full Disclosure: I’ve met the author and she’s a lot of fun.