If you have enjoyed C.S. Lewis' Chronicles of Narnia series or Tolkein's Lord of the Rings series, it is probably a fair guess that you are going to like Batson's newest book Dreamtreaders.
In Dreamtreaders we are allowed to explore three different worlds, the Temporal, the Ethereal, and the Dream. The Temporal realm is where all humans dwell during the waking hours. The Ethereal realm is where humanity came from and it is also their ultimate destiny. Finally the Dream realm is the realm between the two.
"Dream is the twilight world intended to remind those dwelling in the Temporal that there is a far better land, a spectacular far-off country, that waits for them in the someday . . . in the plane of the Ethereal."
With the opening scene we are thrust into the Dream with dreamtreader, Archer Keaton. Archer is there just to patch up some breaches but against all directions to the contrary he decides to take on the Nightmare Lord. After a very close call we follow Archer back into the Temporal realm and experience his life with his family, friends and schoolmates.
The story continues to split between the two worlds with action packed scenes filled with important lessons. The characters are fascinating and the switching between the worlds is very plausible in a fantasy type of way. I appreciated how Archer was portrayed. He made mistakes and he fell into temptations of self-will as any typical teenager would. What set this story apart from so many others in the genre, was that Archer corrected and learned from his mistakes. I also appreciated that even though it was a fantasy book it had good Biblical basis that should lead to some great discussions with your middle grade reader.
While science fiction and young adult fiction are not my typical cup of tea, this story kept my attention throughout the entire book. In fact I am looking forward to reading book two when it comes out. I do however, have two areas of caution. First this is a trilogy, so this is not a stand-alone book. You are going to be left hanging at the end so you will need to read the next two books to see this story draw to a conclusion. Secondly, this book is recommended for readers ages eight to twelve. I would have no problem handing this book to my twelve-year-old without pre-reading it. But I'm not so sure about the younger set. There is nothing out-of-bounds about this story (no sex, no cursing, no untoward innuendos) but it does have violent fighting scenes that might be best experienced while reading with an adult.
I received a copy of this book to facilitate my review.
Dreams aren't real, right? In Archer Keaton's world, they are, and they are about to get dangerous. Enters the Nightmare Lord. He rules the Dream World and seems bent on breaking through the dream fabric to the Waking World, also known as the Temporal world. And then there are the dreamtreaders who go around patching up the breaches. What an awesome concept!
The story moved swiftly along, kept me turning pages. I enjoyed the humor, the author's voice/style of writing. Personally, I don't like revisiting middle school or high school in my reading (although I LOVE YA novels, fantasy, in another world), but it's the dream world that drives this story, not the drama that is normally found in school settings, although, we do have some. And it will be interesting to see how relationships will develop. I know who I am rooting for. ;-)
This story eases us into new concepts of the three worlds presented, laying the foundation of something bigger yet to come, and to obviously whet our appetite for the oncoming adventure. Thus, there were several things that left me with questions: Like Kara, why did she want to enter the dream world so bad? Who is Rigby really? And Bezeal? How could some of the characters do dreamlike stuff in the Waking World? And that ending! I guess I will be looking for book two when it releases.
Three things that stuck out:
1)The font choice for the Dreamtreaders Creed, which isn't really anything against the story. I like that those chapters changed font, but it was hard on my eyes.
2) Old Jack_.uh, Big Ben??? I suppose a bit of the Dream World would reflect the Waking World.
3) And then there was that scene with his dad, and "anchor first, anchor deep" took on a deeper meaning. Love when that happens.
Good read, great adventure. I will be checking out more of Mr. Batson's works.
*In conjunction with the CSFF Blog Tour, I received a free copy from the publisher.