Wednesday, March 30, 2022

Review: The Nightmare Brigade by Franck Thilliez

 Today's read greets from France. This is a well-sold series from a well-known author, which is now being translated into English (yippee!). The second I read the blurb, I knew I had to get my hands on this one. It came out end of February and promises thrills, excitement, diversity, depth, and tons of imagination.

Ready to head into the darker side of dreams?

Vol. 1 The Girl From Deja Vu
by Franck Thilliez
Illustrated by Yomgui Dumont
Tween Science Fiction / Graphic Novel
112 pages
ages 8 to 12

The Nightmare Brigade is a dream team led by Professor Angus. With his two young sidekicks, 14 year-olds Esteban and Tristan, they have one goal: help people get rid of their worst nightmares. With unique skills, the team members can literally infiltrate their patient’s nightmare to seek its root and destroy the cause. Things are shaken up a bit, however, when they meet the young Sarah. The Brigade has a feeling they have seen her before… Then, an insomniac is invading other’s dreams. How does he do it and how can he be stopped? It’s a paranormal story you won’t want to sleep on!



A hint of thriller, a dash of friendship, mounds of secrets, and tons of mystery make this into a gripping science fiction/paranormal read with just the right amount of spook and tension.

Fourteen-year-olds Esteban and Tristan are more than friends; they're brothers thanks to Professor Angus. Together the boys help their father cure children, who are plagued by nightmares, by entering the dreams and figuring out what the cause really is. It might seem harmless, but the dangers in the dreams are real. Plus, time is always tight because if the sleeper awakes before they've left the dream, they'll be stuck in the nightmare.

Although not a horror, this tale leads to deliciously dark corners, where monsters lurk in the shadows. The tension remains high the whole way through, guaranteeing to keep the reader on the edge of their seats, and yet, there's a good dose of heroism, friendship, family, and even a bit of humor. This is an unique trio, who have each others' backs and are family, but they still each possess their own burdens in very different ways. There's a hint of 'crazy' experiments, which make the entire dream-entering-danger seem even that much more questionable, and yet, it's balanced by the good deeds they do as they truly help the patients. It's a constant edge which never crosses into scary or disturbing but rides it just enough to cause a bit of discomfort.

The illustrations are well done. The characters carry sharper lines and features, which fits perfectly with the dark tones of the tale and allows the dreamscapes and their horrors to unfold with wonderful atmosphere. The text is fitting to the audience level, never overpowering, and balances with the illustrations. 

Of course, there's mystery, too. The young band really has their job cut out for them as they dive into the realm of the mind and use the settings and happenings of the dreams to try to link them to problems the sleepers might have in real life (while trying to stay alive). These are not clear cut and will have the reader thinking. 

Add the every day life problems outside of the dream world that the characters face, and there are plenty of subplots to not only add depth but promise rich stories to come.  

And here they are...

Franck Thilliez, former engineer in new technologies, is the author of about fifteen successful crime novels. With the adaptation of his novel "Room of Death" (winner of the SNCF prize for French crime fiction), Franck Thilliez is also a screenwriter. The Nightmare Brigade is his first book for younger audiences and sold over 20,000 copies in France upon its release.

After having completed his studies in applied arts, Yomgui dumont has worked wherever he was able to move a mouse and a pencil: cartoons, multimedia, advertising, and the press. His first series are Raph' and Potetoz, Chambres noires, and L'cole de PAN. He has published around twenty graphic novels and teen novels.

1 comment:

Natalie Aguirre said...

I love thrillers and mysteries to solve, so this might be one I'd like. And it's awesome that it is illustrated.