What’s the Page 99 Test?
Well the page 99 test was created by Ford Maddox Ford as a way to test the quality of a book you may want to read. Apparently page 99 is the point in the book where the author should have hit their stride and hopefully we’re not so far in we hit spoilers.
Begins with a ride on a train.
But where it ends is on a precipice of horror – dangling on the border between life and death.
It’s a moment when Kyle discovers that he’s not the only one in his class who knows about fear.
Not the only one who has nightmares.
And now, as Death stalks the carriages, it’s a moment when nightmares become real.
Nightmares of wars, and the world devastated by chemical weapons. Of a body being slowly stolen, bit by bit. Of monstrous actions and monstrous creatures from old myths. Of jealousy, obsession and a stalker outside your window. Nightmares of everything imaginable.
What will it take for Kyle to finally face his greatest fear?
The Test Paragraph
“We’d been in this country for a little over eighteen months when the civil war started. A war between those who wanted their own separatist state against those who insisted that the country shouldn’t be divided. And the country was already so small, little bigger than a question mark on any world map. The war was brutal and bloody and the rest of the world just wasn’t interested. But then the separatists got hold of chemical weapons and some lunatic actually used them. That’s when the rest of the world started paying attention, but by then it was too late. Our rain had become lethal, and unlike people, the rain didn’t discriminate. My mother had called it the Sad War; I thought the name apt. Some of the people I met on my travels were sad –remembering how things had once been. More people were unfriendly, belligerent even. I could understand that. In these times it was the only way to survive.”
Okay, so let’s start with the synopsis: the synopsis is creepy and gives the impression of a horror story. I have to say that I find it intriguing, blurbs like this always catch my attention because they reveal so much without actually giving away the plot. This is definitely the kind of book that I’d up because I’d wanted to know more.
The cover: the cover is what I’ve come to expect from Malorie Blackman. It’s minimalistic in design, it’s red train tracks on a black background. Although I will admit that the red really stands out drawing the reader’s eye to the centre of the cover. I really like how the title and author’s name don’t detract from the overall focus of the design.
The paragraph: this paragraph actually starts on line three of page 99. I have to say that it’s my favourite paragraph of the page 99 test so far. It really has a beautiful feel to it. I can’t help but be moved by the scene that it pays. I want to make it known that it feels different to what I’ve been accustomed to when it comes to Malorie Blackman. It feels more dreamy. One of the things I’ve grown to love about Malorie this month is her ability to hit you hard with her vision of a world’s reality. However, I do think it’s a stunning piece of writing and I’d definitely read the book based on this.
What do you guys think of the sound of The Stuff of Nightmares?
Let me know in the comments!