Illustrations – Kieron Dwyer
I was quite interested in the premise of this graphic novel. Mary enters the dreams of some seriously troubled people to gain insights that will help her father (who runs a sleep disorder clinic) to help them. Mary is trying to cope with the ‘loss’ of a patient and the guilt she feels for what she feels is her responsibility in the circumstances surrounding the loss. The fact that there’s been another presence in Mary’s lucid dreams since the ‘loss’, in the form of a disembodied eye and the words “Dreamer, wake unto me”, only adds to the creep factor.
There were too many backstories and ethical dilemmas that were dealt with too superficially for me to love this one. I would have preferred there to be less ‘stuff’ going on. You’ve got a daughter lucid dreaming for her father while clearly traumatised. He’s quite happy for her to be missing out on school because she’s doing what he trained her to do since she was a small child. You’ve got a mother who’s in a coma due to ‘the accident’ and the daughter who’s supposedly responsible for bringing her mother out of the coma. The father has his own backstory. Each patient has their own backstory. The FBI is involved. There’s the “Dreamer, wake unto me” thing throughout the story.
The artwork was interesting and the splashes of blood worked well in the scenes that were mostly greyscale. Having the dream/nightmare sequences in different colour schemes depending on the content and dreamer was a nice touch and I liked that it was the time the characters were awake that had the least amount of colour.
I didn’t have any problems with the dream/nightmare sequences being disjointed and strange. Had they all flowed seamlessly with no weird elements they wouldn’t have appeared dreamlike to me. What l did have a problem with was how quickly the story was wrapped up. It was all a bit too neat towards the end and the final few panels provided a pretty clichéd conclusion. Ultimately I didn’t love or hate it. While I was reading I wanted to continue to see how it would end but I don’t feel the need to urge you to read it immediately so we can gush over its awesomeness together.
Once Upon a Blurb
Meet Mary Specter, a misunderstood teenage girl trained to be a lucid dreamer. Mary’s father runs a sleep disorder clinic where Mary enters the ghastly dreams of severely disturbed people in an attempt to help them. When a patient is revealed to be a serial killer, the nightmare world and the waking one become intertwined, putting Mary in real jeopardy. Set in a world where the boundaries between dreams and reality are tenuous, Night Maryis a very dark and terrifying trip into psychological horror.