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Reviewed by Cheryl E. Rodriguez for Readers' Favorite
Nancy Janes writes an entertaining narrative in Night Rumbles. Brad is nineteen, an astrophysics research student on the planet Lydo. His focus of study is the behavioral habits of the Netherworld. Brad is given permission to take a field trip to the unknown and dangerous country of Daganland. Sounds exciting. However, when Brad enters the Darklands, his memory is erased, leaving him no ties to home. When he arrives, he no longer resembles his former self and his name has changed to Brat. In Daganland, Brat is a student as well. Ironically, he is given a special assignment to observe humans, researching their behaviors. Brat is clever, intelligent and mischievous. He gets a thrill out of his episodic rovings among the “Earthies.” Every trip and every course of study bring forth questions with no answers. The black hole around him gets deeper and deeper. Plagued with senseless dreams of his past, his former self beckons to him. Brat attempts to fly under the radar, but roaming eyes are everywhere. Will he stay and fight or flee the darkness of the Night Rumbles?
Night Rumbles is a cute, comically creative allegorical tale. Tapping into the sinister realm of the Netherworld, Nancy Janes writes a similar, yet lighter account of C.S. Lewis’ Screwtape Letters. Piquing the interest of the young adult reader, James includes many hidden morals within the text of this sci-fi fantasy. She enriches the narrative with meaningful idioms. Furthermore, the amusing, double meaning of the names of characters and places is right out of the game of “Mad Gab!” The writing style is simple, appealing to the young reader. However, the complexities of the battle between light and darkness, or good versus evil, remain abundantly clear. The setting of Daganland resembles the evil works of hell – a place where no love or kindness resides. The exploits of the protagonists capture the mind of the reader, causing one to give thought to the design of heaven and hell, and the concept of an omnipresent, caring Supreme Lord and a menacing, grim Head Honcho.