by Elizabeth Knox
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Reading level: YA
Book type: prose novel
Laura comes from a world similar to our own except for one difference: it is next to the Place, an unfathomable land that fosters dreams of every kind and is inaccessible to all but a select few, the Dreamhunters. These are individuals with special gifts: the ability to catch larger-than-life dreams and relay them to audiences in the magnificent dream palace, the Rainbow Opera. People travel from all around to experience the benefits of the hunters' unique visions. Now fifteen-year-old Laura and her cousin Rose, daughters of Dreamhunters, are eligible to test themselves at the Place and find out whether they qualify for the passage. But nothing can prepare them for what they are about to discover. For within the Place lies a horrific secret kept hidden by corrupt members of the government. And when Laura's father, the man who discovered the Place, disappears, she realizes that this secret has the power to destroy everyone she loves...
(synopsis from Goodreads)
This book has been in my TBR pile for ages. I think it was one of the first books I bought after starting this blog... and it's sat in the pile ever since as other books have clamoured for my attention (and won). Now that I finally got a chance to read Dreamhunter, I'm not sure what to think. I enjoyed it... and yet something was missing.
The pace starts out quite slowly, which was okay since the author spends a lot of time developing the setting of Laura and Rose's world. The whole idea of the Place is intriguing, and the scenes that describe the Rainbow Opera and what goes on there are evocative and colourful; I could almost imagine myself there, in the festive atmosphere, among society's wealthiest citizens in their silk pajamas... The writing is quite nice, with almost an old-fashioned style (quite different from a lot of the current crop of YA books).
Unfortunately, while the overall premise and the setting are unique and unforgettable, the plot is somewhat weak. For a book that's so long (actually, it wasn't that long, but the slow pace of the story made it seem longer), there isn't a lot of action. The climax is amazing and satisfying and makes sense in the context of the story, but it's so long in coming that it was a bit frustrating. And while the climax makes sense for now, there are a lot of loose ends that weren't tied up. The book is advertised as the first of a "duet" of books, so I'm assuming those missing answers are in Dreamquake.
By the time I finished Dreamhunter, I thought I wanted to be done with the series... but now I find that I really want to see how it all turns out. I've got other books I want to read in the meantime, so it'll be a while before I get to Dreamquake... but I guess I have to give the author some credit for making me curious enough to want to continue!
Overall: 3.57 out of 5