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Dreamwalker by C. S. Friedman {3 Stars}

Dreamwalker by C. S. Friedman is an intriguing mix of parallel worlds and fantasy elements and the start to a new series with a lot of potential. I haven’t read any of Friedman’s adult work so I went into Dreamwalker not knowing at all what to expect! I’m excited about the new universe that Dreamwalker has revealed, even though I didn’t completely connect with Dreamwalker itself.

Note: I received Dreamwalker for review from the publisher.

Dreamwalker by C. S. Friedman {3 Stars}

Dreamwalker by C. S. Friedman (Dreamwalker #1)
Published by DAW on Feb 4, 2014
Genres: Fantasy, Sci-fi, YA
Page Length: 312 pages
How I got my copy: Publisher
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All her life Jessica Drake has dreamed of other worlds, some of them similar to her own, others disturbingly alien. She never shares the details with anyone, save her younger brother Tommy, a compulsive gamer who incorporates some aspects of Jessica’s dreams into his games. But now someone is asking about those dreams...and about her. A strange woman has been watching her house. A visitor to her school attempts to take possession of her dream-inspired artwork.

Why?

As she begins to search for answers it becomes clear that whoever is watching her does not want her to learn the truth. One night her house catches on fire, and when the smoke clears she discovers that her brother has been kidnapped. She must figure out what is going on, and quickly, if she and her family are to be safe.

Following clues left behind on Tommy's computer, determined to find her brother and bring him home safely, Jessica and two of her friends are about to embark on a journey that will test their spirits and their courage to the breaking point, as they must leave their own world behind and confront the source of Earth's darkest legends as well as the terrifying truth of their own secret heritage.

3 Stars

Strengths:

  • I’m a fan of parallel worlds generally and Dreamwalker has a cool premise that integrates parallel worlds with fun sci-fi and fantasy elements.
  • Dreamwalker takes place mostly in a parallel world and the world-building (universe-building?) of what could happen if magic and the ability to cross between parallel worlds was concentrated all in one world was pretty awesome. There are some cool alternate history pieces thrown in mostly revolving around how the colonization of America could have been different with interference from parallel worlds. Plus it’s always fun when secret magic stuff is actually the explanation for all our various myths!
  • I’m a huge fan of strong sibling relationships and Dreamwalker’s plot is completely driven by sibling love, woot!
  • Dreamwalker has a nice and straightforward adventure plot. There is just something comfortable about knowing from the first couple of chapters what the goal is and running around on an adventure to meet that goal ;-).

Weaknesses:

  •  Dreamwalker had a surprising amount of typos, especially for a traditionally-published finished copy.
  • There is the typical group of three teens setting out on adventure in Dreamwalker and the two secondary characters ended up feeling very flat to me. We barely get to know who they really are as people and they just kind of follow Jesse along on her quest.
  • Dreamwalker had a couple of plot holes that I actually felt the need to go back and make sure I didn’t miss something. One of them is kind of explained, but it really feels like a stretch. For those of you who have read this one, perhaps you can help me out: Why is Rita at the house on THE NIGHT and how do they get a car to drive to the mines since it seemed like it was implied that Rita left the original one to be found?
  • Despite the title of the book being Dreamwalker, we really don’t get all that many details about how that whole thing works, even from Jesse’s perspective. I realize this is likely to be filled in in later books, but I really felt unsatisfied with not getting more details given the title.

Summary:

Dreamwalker is a promising start to a series combing sci-fi and fantasy, even though there are some rough spots. I’m excited to see where the second book goes given that ending. If you’re on the fence, I’d recommend waiting until the second book is out and seeing how that one goes ;-).

3 Stars
Anya from On Starships and Dragonwings

Have you read this one or anything else by Friedman? What did you think? Are you excited for it if you haven’t gotten to it yet?
– Anya

 

 Dreamwalker by C. S. Friedman

© 2014, Anya. All rights reserved.

Comments

  1. I enjoyed reading this one. I connected very well with the characters, whom I felt got along in kind of a Breakfast Club way. You’ve got three teenagers from different backgrounds who are thrust into an alternate world and have to use their individual strengths and weaknesses to survive.

    I’m looking forward to the rest of the series and to finding out more about the dreamwalkers and what they can do. I started reading C.S. Friedman’s adult work first, and I feel like although this book had a lot of setup by comparison, the series has some great potential for awesomeness.

  2. Jessica @ a GREAT read says:

    Ooh nice review! I got this from the publishers awhile back as well. Thought it sounded sort of intriguing considering the pubs just sent it to me as a surprise! Might read it eventually though! Glad to hear it was a pretty decent read! And again, great review!

  3. I agree, I liked this book a lot but the plot seemed very scattered, with a lot of things that only seemed halfway explained. I think it’s a matter of the author finding the right pacing though, I’m glad that it’s setting things up nicely for a series because I look forward to getting answers to my questions in the sequel.
    Mogsy recently posted…YA Weekend: The Eye of Minds by James DashnerMy Profile

    • Scattered is a good word. I think that’s part of what bothered me since I could see so much potential and then was sad when it wasn’t as good as it could have been! Hopefully the series continues to improve ;-)

  4. I’m having a strange writing moment. I read through your review and somewhat digested all your thoughts, but at post’s end, all I could think was: what an oddly structured synopsis. It seems to go along one train of thought and then jump to a different track in the middle. And something about the word choice and/or sentence structures in it…it’s not smooth for me. Is it weird that I zoomed in on that? ^^;
    Kel recently posted…Shop Talk: “Local” Book EventsMy Profile

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