Nightmare Academy Fiction Review : 2004/07/25
by Frank Peretti
Nashville: Tommy Nelson, 2002, 311 pp., $16.99, hardcover.
Author Frank Peretti seems to be focused on youth the last few years. Nightmare Academy
is the second in his Veritas (Latin for truth) Project series, featuring the twin brother and sister "spy kids," Elisha and Elijah. They recently came to video life in The Hangman's Curse
DVD, the predecessor to Nightmare Academy
I wonder if Peretti had some bad experiences in school as a child--both tales involve horror in the halls of academia. Then again, since most teens are in school a good part of the time, maybe the settings were only natural.
As a parent, I thought the most impressive aspect of Nightmare Academ
y is the way Peretti teaches the nature of truth in a captivating story. Hand a teen or preteen a book on logic and you'll get a response similar to what you might see if you pass them spinach for dessert. Wrap a little good philosophy in a tale of suspense and they'll devour it, even with a chapter title like "Both/And, Either/Or." It doesn't hurt that the prior chapter is called "The Mansion and the Monster."
Writing book reviews about works of fiction is tough. How do you write a proper review without revealing too much of the story? Frankly, most dust jacket notes give away too much. I'll say this much--if you liked The Hangman's Curse
, you'll want to keep up with the twins from The Veritas Project. If you haven't read the former work, you need to start there. Peretti's books are written from a clearly Christian worldview, with protagonists who don't hide their faith. However, they're not written for elementary school kids who frighten easily. There's plenty of action, and sometimes sheer life-threatening terror. There's a little of the Lord of the Flies
-style mob behavior in Nightmare Academy
, as the adults leave the kids to their own devices at times. The results are disturbing, and the descriptions may overwhelm young readers. That said, teens and adults will enjoy the tale. Peretti fans will be hoping that a DVD of Veritas v.2 will result.
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