Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Book Review - Dreamlander (JS)

Dreamlander by K.M. Weiland

Review by Jacqui Slaney

I purchased this book on a spur of the moment, as I liked the sound of it. After reading an interview with the author, and having a quick glance at a few reviews, I was even keener to read it, as it sounded so good.

This is the description:

What if it were possible to live two very different lives in two separate worlds?

What if the dreams you awaken from are the fading memories of that second life?

What if one day you woke up in the wrong world?

Only one person in a generation may cross the barrier of dreams to reach the other world—a world of war-scarred countries and fallen faiths. When a Chicago-born journalist finds himself on the far side of his dreams, he must hurl himself into battle to save a princess from her own people, two worlds from annihilation, and himself from a dream come way too true.

Everything I read told me that this was an excellent book, that straight from the start the characters were well crafted, that the story hooked you from the first page. Sounds good does it not?

However, I found myself strangely disconnected from it, I would read a few pages at a time and then make excuses and put the book down, and even at one stage started to read a completely different book.

I cannot put my finger on what I did not like about the book, all the elements were certainly there, but for me when I started reading it, they just did not work.
The idea is clever, the main character Chris Redston when he falls asleep and dreams, awakes in a body in another world called Lael.  He is a Gifted and is fated to change worlds. A princess called Allara Katadin looks after him. She is a Searcher, and is linked mentally to him and who has felt him in her mind even before he travelled for the first time to her world.

Chris does not get off to the best start in Lael by bringing someone into the world that is going to start a war. This act of breaking down the barriers between worlds has also had the knock on affect of damaging the structure of the worlds and so Chris has to work fast to try to correct what he has done.

So as I say all the elements are there for a good read, but I came really close to just giving up on the whole thing. I will be honest and say maybe it was me, as maybe I was in the wrong frame of mind for reading a fantasy novel, but then again when I stopped reading this one for a while and started a Scott Lynch, I had no problem with that one at all.

However, I stuck with the story, I am stubborn and hate to give up on books so I persevered.

The character of Chris, I found in the first part of the book as being annoying, he was the classic, - ‘ I think I am going mad so refuse to believe what is happening to me!’ This is fine for a short time, but seemed to me to drag on far too long, and he seemed far to ready to believe everything characters were saying to him, who he had already been warned against.

Things did get better though luckily and I did like Allara who was actually a decent female character, strong but with flaws and doubts and Quinnon the old soldier and Orias who will do anything to save his people.

The book is long, and has plenty of action but I think it could have been shortened slightly which I think would have improved the pace of the book some what.

Please bare in mind that this is just my opinion and I would say give the book a go as though I found the start slow and dragging, it did pick up and get better and came to a good conclusion so is worth a read.

7 out of 10