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4.6 out of 5 stars24
4.6 out of 5 stars
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on 3 November 2007
It would be difficult for any reader to write their next big novel after writing the iconic 'Noughts and Crosses' series. But Malorie Blackman, in typical style, pulls it off again.

This time, Blackman enters the realms of fantasy horror, through the eyes of a doubting child. With its rather unusual plot, the book describes how the main character 'hops' into other people's nightmares after a school trip goes terrible wrong. The ending is perhaps the only weak point of the book, it leaves you feeling almost empty after the fullness of the rest of the book.

The book is truly spooky, with some of the nightmares truly spine-shivering material. Thanks you Malorie for another great read.
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on 18 April 2011
I picked up this book because I knew Malorie Blackman was good, in fact, I think her Noughts & Crosses series is quite possibly the best set of young adult drama novels there is. In this book, the main character Kyle and his friends go on a field trip, unfortunately, the train they are on is involved in a crash which brings many of the passengers close to death. Being close to death has suddenly given Kyle the ability to jump into his friends' nightmares - some real, some fantastical, some horrible. Six of the 'nightmares' have actually previously been published in other short story volumes by Blackman so some fans may feel cheated by the fact they'll find half the stories very familiar.

As a whole, I don't think the book quite clicked, I felt the main story arc revolving around Kyle and the train crash was weak and served only as an excuse to launch into the short stories. I found myself wanting to skip the bits about Kyle and just head straight onto the 'nightmares'. But my oh my, some of those short stories were brilliant. My personal favourites were the ones devoid of overt fantasy elements but full of thrills, horror and drama - genres which I believe Malorie does best. So ones to watch out for are: Steve's nightmare, Roberta's nightmare, the Stranger's nightmare and Lily's nightmare. The rest of the nightmares verge on being plain old ghost stories which suffice to keep the reader interested with some good twists every now and then but they just don't have the same gut-wrenching impact as the more 'realistic' stories that involved suicide, murder, ethnic cleansing and rape.

In summary, Blackman's attempt to rehash some of her short stories into a new collection, fell slightly short of the mark. If I hadn't felt like wanting to fastforward the times Kyle had a flashback into his own life issues, I would have given it 5 stars. The short stories by themselves are well worth a read though, even for adults. I think everyone would come away with their own favourites.
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on 16 February 2010
Malorie Blackman is one of those authors that is extremely popular with primary and lower secondary audiences and teachers, and indeed this is probably how I received my first 'experience' of Blackman, with 'Hacker', although that was some years ago now! Next, the fantastic 'Noughts and Crosses' series in my mid-teens - I was blown away by these, and they truly are modern classics.

I would like to say the same about this book, and to an extent it was. The plot is compelling (essentially train crash, lots of different nightmares, family issues...), if possibly slightly contrived with all the nightmares, and by the last couple of nightmares you can tell what's going to happen in them. There is a note from Blackman at the end of the novel in which she says that some were already in anthologies of short stories, and 'The Stuff of Nightmares' does seem to sometimes be no more than a collection of short shories at some points.

Another small criticism of Blackman is that I found it hard to determine the target audience for this book - the writing, particularly as it is first person. is at times very basic, leading me to believe it's for a younger audience, but the events of the nightmares described (albeit in a more psychological than physically horrifying and gory way) and the use of words such as "ephemeral" for example, makes me think that a slightly older audience is intended.

However, I am somewhat missing the point here, as Blackman manages to write a novel that uses fantastical metaphors to deal with harsh realities of life, and of family. Although there is some problem what her target audience is, and the disconnectedness of some of the stories doesn't make the book as big a page-turner as, say, 'Noughts and Crosses', 'The Stuff of Nightmares' is a substantial read, and I would not hesitate to recommend it to readers wanting to find an exciting book for a young adult.
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on 10 February 2009
Bought for my 12 year old son Kyle who really enjoyed the story particularly as the main character was a Kyle too! It held his attention really well and written by an author who he really likes. Malorie Blackman really knows how to grab a young persons attention and how to keep hold of it throughout by ensuring something is always happening and a really good use of langauge. She is indeed a special writer and can write for children of all ages. Kyle has now read 5 of her books and continues to work his way through the rest of her books and has enjoyed every single one of them so far!
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on 10 August 2014
The Stuff of Nightmares is one of the most chilling and gripping books I think I’ve ever read. It honestly is. There was so much mystery and intrigue that I could never predict what would happen next just that there would be a twist which would blow me out the water.

Every single time, for every single nightmare Malorie Blackman would surprise me no matter how many times I tried to guess at what would happen or the truth of what was going on. It was very much thirteen individual horror stories, nightmares, all woven together by yet another nightmare and this (while maybe not making sense as I try to describe it) worked surprisingly well.

Malorie Blackman’s writing is what brought this book together so beautifully. Many an author could have attempted this and failed miserably because their pace wasn’t suitable, or it took too long to sink into the different stories or the parts didn’t flow together properly. Yet Blackman did none of this effortlessly. Jumping seamlessly from people’s minds and the present it was easy to read and understand, because every voice and character was distinguishable.

The characters themselves who were the ones having the nightmares were incredibly original with the fact that they were easy to tell apart. Trying to develop over 13 characters while telling a different story for each of them was a task only Blackman could have attempted, and succeeded in. Their nightmares said a lot about not only their past or future, but about the person, and it is a brilliant idea for character growth.

Really what can I say, I loved this book. Malorie Blackman is a genius. Her book never dropped my attention portraying the concept that there’s a lot more to a person than the face they let the world see.

Posted on: http://enchantedbyya.blogspot.co.uk
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on 3 February 2009
The stuff of nightmares tells the story of Kyle as his school trip goes horrificly wrong.

The story is woven around thirteen nightmares and follows Kyles as he attempts to beat death. The book is written with such passion that it feels as if you are living these nightmares.

A chilling read with some compelling characters and unique plots
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on 1 June 2013
I wasn't sure when I started out and I still think it a very dark, sinister book not suitable for younger teens, but it's cleverly written and executed and there are a few twists along the way. When Kyle is involved in a train crash, he seems to be the only one well enough to escape and fetch help, but he can hear a voice calling to him and see a strange dark shape materialising before him. When a stranger persuades him it is Death come to claim him, he finds he can escape into the minds of his fellow travellers and schoolfriends. This opens up a whole range of scenarios, but are they real - some are from past lives, some from the future and some plain nightmares and each one is a chapter of the story. Every time he escapes their stories to return to the train, he finds the dark shape a little nearer to being formed. But what is Kyle's own nightmare and how will he face it?
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on 13 August 2015
The Stuff of Nightmares by Malorie Blackman is an imaginative thriller that takes you on a jorney with the main character Kyle as he looks at his friends and strangers nightmares and afterwords figures out his nightmare only to then over come it and face death. I personally enjoyed the book because the story itself wasn't just one story, it was many stories in one as you explored and went through the kyles friends nightmares. I also enjoyed it because with the book telling more than one story I didn't get bored of the story line at all like I do with other books. It was also a good book because you could easily get sucked into the book as if you were Kyle or one of his friends.
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on 2 August 2011
I was browsing through my library's teenager section and when I saw "Malorie Blackman", I instanlty remembered my school friends recommend it.
I simply couldn't put the book down! It's scary, yet fantastically well written...I'd go so far to say it's the best book I've ever read!

Since reading this book (which took me two days), I've become a massive fan of Blackman and I am currently reading Naughts and Crosses, which is fantastic too!

Since I began to read Malorie Blackman, I've been literally too busy to even consider homework which gets me long detentions, but by god is it worth it!

I'd recommend this book to anyone aged 12-18+.
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on 4 December 2013
I love this book. I've read it many, many times before but it never fails to surprise and impress me. It's engrossing, thrilling and I just can't put it down. Blackman's style of writing is always interesting and modern. For those of you who like a chilling yet moving book, this one is for you. Each nightmare that was told left me wanting more. I recommend reading other books my Blackman aswell, such as the Noughts and Crosses series, The deadly dare mysteries, Pig Heart Boy and Boy's don't cry.
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