Disclaimer: All reviews are the result of my personal opinion from a Christian stand-point. These reviews are provided for those who share my beliefs and morals, to help guide what fiction a reader may wish to pick up. For those who do not share these beliefs, please refrain from hateful comments. It is due to rude commenting that I must now include this note prior to all reviews. For more information, visit my purpose behind this blog. Thank you for your understanding.
Intended Age-Group: 10+
Issues of Violence: fantasy violence
Language: noneRecommendation: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Back Cover Blurb:
Fourteen-year-old Archer Keaton discovers he has the ability to enter and explore his dreams. He is a "dreamtreader," one of three selected from each generation. Their mission: to protect the waking world from the Nightmare Lord, who wreaks chaos in the Dream World. But as Archer's dreams become more dangerous and threatening, so too does his waking life.
Rigby Thames, the new kid from England, builds a suspicious rock star-like following at Dresden High School a little too quickly. Even Archer's best friend and confidant, Kara Windchil, seems taken in by the cool guy with the wild blond hair, which definitely rubs Archer the wrong way. Archer must face two foes in two worlds, but he cannot succeed alone. Archer sets off to find other dreamtreaders in a desperate attempt to defeat the enemy terrorizing his friends and family.
Initial Reaction: *****
I delight in books about dream worlds for many reasons that I won't waste time listing here. Dreamtreaders immediately caught me in its delicious web with its concept and cover art. I'll be forever drooling over the cover. FOREVER. (I mean it!)
But once I cracked open that cover, I didn't remain as hooked as I'd hoped. The writing style was very simple, even for the young age group.
I try to lock my author/editing brain in a trunk while I pleasure read, but sometimes it peeks through the keyhole, sees what I'm reading, and screams a little.
It's very distracting.
That being said, there were some writing patterns that broke the pace of the story for me. I've lost the ability to know if it's just me, or if it's something that might distract the average reader, too. On occasion, it left me lost.
The characters were, at best, average. I didn't connect with Archer at all, but that could be based completely on my subjectivity. Some of his choices didn't make sense to me, but I didn't get to know his character well enough in this book to know if these choices even matched up with who he was.
I have full faith that the characters will deepen as the series continues. :)
I liked how Archer Keaton was chosen to be a dreamtreader, to be set apart for a specific calling. I also liked how we didn't know too much of when or how that started. We entered into the middle of the action and didn't have to sludge through a bunch of backstory and discovery.
While the characters were school-age and Archer had to deal with some real-world drama at school, it didn't bog down the story. We spent more time in the dream world than the real world, which pushed the action forward. But the real-world action was still hugely applicable to the entire story. Side characters had mysterious roles that kept me guessing the entire time whether or not she was so-and-so or if he would do such-and-such. I like having to guess and wonder as I read a book and the author really painted quite a bit of mystery.
The end battle really surprised me. If you read it, you'll know where I was fooled. It was brilliant. The rest of the story eventually concluded while leaving an enormous opening for book two. What a delightful mixture! :-)
Spiritual Content: *****
I know the author and publisher create books with Christian worldviews, but I didn't see any mention of God or evidence of belief. Maybe it was all figurative and I just didn't put it together. I can appreciate the clean content and safe humor, but I wasn't sure what the enormous takeaway was for the teenage believer. Keep fighting? Obey the rules? Trust in friends? I'm not sure...and I would have liked to know.
Overall, it was a good read. it was quite different than what I'd expected, but it is going in my stack of "Books for my Future Kids." [grin] Pick it up and give it a try! And revel in the glorious worldbuilding.
This was my first Batson book and I'm excited to read more. I give it a 3.5 mainly because of limited draw to keep reading. But for appropriateness and clean content, it definitely gets a 5-star.