Hello, all! It’s the third Saturday of the month, which means I am writing about what I’m reading. More properly, today, what I read a month and a half ago. I am an avid reader of K.M. Weiland’s blog Helping Writers Become Authors, which you should go check out for helpful writing advice as soon as you’ve finished this post, so I put her fantasy book Dreamlander on my reading list and got it for my birthday. I read it in less than a week and absolutely loved it. So since I already had last month’s review lined up, here is Dreamlander‘s review today!
The Story: Chris Redston, Chicago journalist, wakes up in another world after having strange dreams about a woman warning him not to come to her. He finds out that all humans actually live in two worlds: Earth and Lael. When they are asleep in one world, they are awake in the other, living another life, but believe they are dreaming.
Chris is the Gifted, one in a generation who crosses between the worlds, and can bring things with him. Before being properly instructed in this power, he brings across a warlike leader, Faolan Mactalde, who died in Lael years before, resurrecting him in Lael–and causing the worlds to start breaking apart. Now, Chris must do all he can to defeat Mactalde and restore the balance of the worlds.
I loved this story! The conception of the two worlds and the nature of dreams was so original. There was a lot of politics going on in Lael, as well, and I loved how Weiland wove happenings in the two worlds together. I would like to say more here, but it really falls into the next two sections, so just read on.
The Characters: Weiland really hits character arcs on the head. I loved watching Chris grow into a leader, and watching the Searcher, Allara Katadin, grow with him. Chris was my favorite character, since he was just so relatable and fun to watch and an all-around nice guy, but there were many other great characters: Orias Tarn, Captain Quinnon, Pitch and Raz (the Riever comic-relief duo), Allara, Mike, and even Mactalde. All were quite compelling; only Allara’s characterization might have felt a little forced.
The Writing: So . . . K.M. Weiland is an amazing writer. It was awesome to see all her wise advice about story structure and character arcs and common writing mistakes written into a novel. Dreamlander is one of the best-written books I have ever read. The pacing was superb, the prose excellent, and the plot intriguing and suspenseful.
The worldbuilding was also fantastic. I really loved the uniqueness of Lael. It was sort of a medieval fantasy world with a steampunk vibe. I mean, hydraulic pistols, skycars, swords, and castles? Yes, please. It gave the air of an evolving world, not one in unnecessary stasis, especially when Chris brings over an Earth pistol to fight with (one that gives him more than one shot at a time) and Quinnon mentions how he’ll have to start giving those to his men, or something to that effect. It was just fantastic to read.
Overall: I loved this book. Five stars!
Have you ever read Dreamlander? Do you think you’ll try it now? (Do, please, I highly recommend it.) Do you like fantasy worlds that are evolving, and not in stasis? Tell me in the comments!