Reviewed by Johnny Butane
Written by Graham Masterton
Published by Leisure Books
I knew my ration of good luck had to be getting low. I had read too many good (and some great) Leisure novels in a row; I was due for something bad. I thought I was clear for at least another month when I saw that Graham Masterton (author of The Manitou and many, many other books) was among this month’s selections, but boy, was I wrong.
It’s not necessarily that Night Wars is a bad story; in fact the ideas within are pretty interesting when taken out of context, but the way it’s presented and the characters used to tell it make it groan-worthy throughout. It’s one of those books where I actually had to stop reading towards the end and shake my head in disbelief because of what had just happened. It takes a lot for a story to do that to me, let me tell ya.
All right, so what’s Night Wars about? Try and stay with me here; it’s a bit hard to condense in a few paragraphs. In the great state of Louisiana babies are being born without the ability to dream. As soon as they’re out of their mothers’ wombs, they are screaming as if terrified of everything, and absolutely nothing can stop them except death.
Five people, unknown to one another save for a pair of brothers, are chosen by the forces of the being who really created the world, which some would call God, to fight as Night Warriors in the land of dreams. For you see, that’s where the villanous Winterwent and High Horse are scheming, attempting to steal the first dream of newborn babies, and so far, only managing to prevent them from dreaming at all.
Why would they do this? Well, as the Night Warriors are told, babies are born with the knowledge of how absolutely everything works, how and why the universe was created, what we’re all here for, and, most important to the bad guys, how it can all be disassembled. They want a return to chaos for reasons that are never entirely clear, other than that they’re naughty and like to do naughty things. As soon as a baby has its first dream, all the information is gone and it starts the world fresh. If the big bads get their hands on the dream, they can tear apart the universe from the ground up.
All right, so these Night Warrriors are just regular guys and gals like you or me in the daytime, but in the land of dreams, they are told, they become mighty warriors with ridiculous names. That’s not how it’s described, but it’s simpler to explain it that way. One of them is a weapons expert, one of them is able to create men and beasts out of thin air, another knows how everything works … basically they all have incredible skills in the world of dreams that will help them fight evil. Know how I know that? Because they talk about it over and over and over and over and over again.
Which brings us to the first issue with Night Wars: It’s ridiculously repetitive. Characters repeat the same information to one another over and over again ad nasaeum, I would assume so Masterton can make sure that his readers don’t have a single confusion as to what’s gong on. I hadn’t recalled when I was reading it, but the exact same issue is what dragged down his last Leisure book, Manitou Blood, to the point that I was terribly bored by about the halfway mark.
The other issue ties in with the first, and both exacerbate one another. Though the fate of the very universe is in their hands, though they’re being pursued by otherworldly creatures who feed off the suffering of humans, our gang never misses an opportunity to stand around and talk. For a long, long time. And generally it’s about shit we already know from what went on before, or it’s information that we really don’t need to know but apparently Masterton thought he was so crafty coming up with that he had to make sure it was drilled into our heads. You know when you hear the same word over and over again and it loses all meaning? The same thing can happen when you read it over and over again, only in this case it lost all of its menace; specifically the name Winterwent, which I believe some sort of record was set for the amount of times it was used in the span of a few pages.
I could go on and on as well, but then I’d feel I was catching whatever kind of literary diarrhea Masterton apparently suffers from of late, so I will just stop and reiterate that, aside from some interesting ideas as to where we come from and the true significance of dreams, Night Wars is a dull and frustrating book.
1 out of 5
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