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Dreamwalker by C. S. Friedman
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I had enjoyed Friedman's work in the past, but this YA style tale disappointed. ( )
  orkydd | Feb 2, 2017 |
Dreamwalker by C. S. Friedman is an intriguing mix of parallel worlds and fantasy elements and the start to a new series with a lot of potential. I haven’t read any of Friedman’s adult work so I went into Dreamwalker not knowing at all what to expect! I’m excited about the new universe that Dreamwalker has revealed, even though I didn’t completely connect with Dreamwalker itself.
Note: I received Dreamwalker for review from the publisher.



Dreamwalker by C. S. Friedman (Dreamwalker #1)
Published by DAW on Feb 4, 2014
Genres: Fantasy, Sci-fi, YA
Length: 312 pages
How I got my copy: Publisher

All her life Jessica Drake has dreamed of other worlds, some of them similar to her own, others disturbingly alien. She never shares the details with anyone, save her younger brother Tommy, a compulsive gamer who incorporates some aspects of Jessica’s dreams into his games. But now someone is asking about those dreams...and about her. A strange woman has been watching her house. A visitor to her school attempts to take possession of her dream-inspired artwork.

Why?

As she begins to search for answers it becomes clear that whoever is watching her does not want her to learn the truth. One night her house catches on fire, and when the smoke clears she discovers that her brother has been kidnapped. She must figure out what is going on, and quickly, if she and her family are to be safe.

Following clues left behind on Tommy's computer, determined to find her brother and bring him home safely, Jessica and two of her friends are about to embark on a journey that will test their spirits and their courage to the breaking point, as they must leave their own world behind and confront the source of Earth's darkest legends as well as the terrifying truth of their own secret heritage.

Strengths:
I’m a fan of parallel worlds generally and Dreamwalker has a cool premise that integrates parallel worlds with fun sci-fi and fantasy elements.
Dreamwalker takes place mostly in a parallel world and the world-building (universe-building?) of what could happen if magic and the ability to cross between parallel worlds was concentrated all in one world was pretty awesome. There are some cool alternate history pieces thrown in mostly revolving around how the colonization of America could have been different with interference from parallel worlds. Plus it’s always fun when secret magic stuff is actually the explanation for all our various myths!
I’m a huge fan of strong sibling relationships and Dreamwalker’s plot is completely driven by sibling love, woot!
Dreamwalker has a nice and straightforward adventure plot. There is just something comfortable about knowing from the first couple of chapters what the goal is and running around on an adventure to meet that goal ;-).

Weaknesses:
Dreamwalker had a surprising amount of typos, especially for a traditionally-published finished copy.
There is the typical group of three teens setting out on adventure in Dreamwalker and the two secondary characters ended up feeling very flat to me. We barely get to know who they really are as people and they just kind of follow Jesse along on her quest.
Dreamwalker had a couple of plot holes that I actually felt the need to go back and make sure I didn’t miss something. One of them is kind of explained, but it really feels like a stretch. For those of you who have read this one, perhaps you can help me out: Why is Rita at the house on THE NIGHT and how do they get a car to drive to the mines since it seemed like it was implied that Rita left the original one to be found?
Despite the title of the book being Dreamwalker, we really don’t get all that many details about how that whole thing works, even from Jesse’s perspective. I realize this is likely to be filled in in later books, but I really felt unsatisfied with not getting more details given the title.

Summary:
Dreamwalker is a promising start to a series combing sci-fi and fantasy, even though there are some rough spots. I’m excited to see where the second book goes given that ending. If you’re on the fence, I’d recommend waiting until the second book is out and seeing how that one goes ;-). ( )
  anyaejo | Aug 12, 2015 |
Friedman is the latest author to decide that YA is where it’s at, so this novel features a 16-year-old protagonist whose strange patterned dreams lead to her brother’s kidnapping, which in turn leads her to a strange secret world. Travelers to our world abuse their power in various grim but not hugely explicit ways (there’s none of the sexual coercion of some of Friedman’s other work), and also abuse most of the people back in their own world, which never got democracy because of the special superpowers of the aristocracy. Jesse, our hero, may have one of those superpowers—and they’ll kill her for it if they catch her. Interesting worldbuilding, but I found the contrast between Hot Safe Boy and Hot Dangerous Boy a little by-the-numbers. ( )
  rivkat | Aug 4, 2014 |
3.5/5

Dreamwalker is the start of a new series with a very fascinating take on alternate realities. In a way I would consider this a blend of both fantasy and science fiction. Things seem magical and yet light scientific explanations are given as to the reasoning to help take away some of that mysticism. It worked nicely so you had that ingrained natural tendency from me as a reader to be more accepting of the elements that I would otherwise in a strictly science fiction book would have been wanting more explanation.

I find it easier for this book to break it down by what I saw as its strengths and weaknesses.

Strengths:

- Alternate worlds / realities! The worldbuilding of one in particular that the bulk of Dreamwalker takes place in is fascinating. How that world elates to the others, or really in actuality dominates the other worlds was just so cool. This world is pretty much the world that these people consider Prime - and so they go into the other realities and take what they want, technology, people, resources. There is however a checks and balance system in place and they must work within those guidelines. Because of this the author was able to weave into her story our own myths and legends of changelings, people showing up in times they don't belong, or people disappearing and reappearing years after they disappeared thinking no time had passed. This was the leading reason that I enjoyed Dreamwalker.
- There was a very well executed blend of both fantasy and science fiction. Things we would see as fantasy would then lightly be given a somewhat scientific explanation - not too much of a one mind you because then that would be stepping more firmly into the realm of science fiction. But just enough that it straddled both genres.
- There was an easy reading flow that quickly moved me from one scene to the next. This is typical young adult fair in that I would believe the author was writing to accommodate the young adult audience. Most of the narrative was from Jesse's perspective and so the dialogue and observations were fitting. There were a few chapters that were not from her perspective.
- I enjoyed the addition of Jesse's brother, Tommy's perspective. He had some spunk and I readily identified with him, heck in some ways I wished he would have been the main character since I definitely preferred him. Maybe its the video game and fantasy geek in me that just bonded with his personality since we have so much in common.

Weaknesses:

- I really groan when this happens to me because I can rarely figure out the reason for it. With that said I really didn't care for the main character Jesse. I was never able to adequately attach to her and a few times found her mildly annoying. This was usually when it came to her views on family. I don't think her views themselves were annoying, indeed they were quite admirable. What I found off putting was she had this mindset like her views of family were right and that everyone would feel the same way that she does, and woe be to them if they weren't and she would of course properly educate them. No I'm sorry not everyone would cross worlds and put themselves in jeopardy for a family member, some people's families suck, with her family history you'd think she would kind of know or see this?! Frankly, not everyone has that same level of love for their family and this just rankled me.
- The additional side characters were not given enough personality or presence of character for them to adequately stand out as true parts of the story. They did not feel like real people rather more like extras in a film. Due to this I didn't care what happened to them and really nothing they did felt important to me, nor did I feel any sympathy over their fates. Does that make me cruel or was it my subconscious telling me, hey these aren't real people?
- There were a few plot points that either didn't make sense or felt like some information was missing. I really don't want to point out more than one, because of spoilers but this one is mentioned in the book description so I think it's ok. Jesse grabs her brother Tommy's laptop when she is escaping the house (that's on fire mind you) - I just don't think this is a realistic action at all.
- The title, Dreamwalker, so that is what Jesse is but ultimately that really isn't gone into enough. I thought it would be more about her and her abilities. But for the most part the gifts various people have aren't gone into as heavily as I thought they would be.

Ultimately, Dreamwalker definitely was an enjoyable read. Once I got going I finished the bulk of it in one day - so it made for quick reading. There are a lot of things that I know or hope will be coming in future volumes and I look forward to seeing where things go. Dreamwalker definitely falls into the category of books that I anticipate forthcoming volumes being stronger than the first. ( )
  Pabkins | May 2, 2014 |
I enjoyed reading C.S. Friedman's first foray into the world of YA novels. The story moves right along with a likeable protagonist, Jessica, trying to rescue her little gamer brother Tommy from people from another dimension/alternate Earth who kidnapped him. The passage between worlds and the connection to art and dreams is interesting and well-done, and the Shadowlords are damn creepy. While I enjoyed the book, the world-building, and read it in one sitting, I don't feel like it resonated with me in the same way some of her other books have. Perhaps the pace was a little too smooth and fast, but I still enjoyed it and hope to see the next installment build and extrapolate on the Terra Prime that Jessica visited. ( )
  Starsister12 | Mar 3, 2014 |
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For Kim and Larry,
Best Family Ever
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With a last furtive glance behind him, the grey man began to climb down the ladder.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0756408881, Hardcover)

All her life Jessica Drake has dreamed of other worlds, some of them similar to her own, others disturbingly alien. She never shares the details with anyone, save her younger brother Tommy, a compulsive gamer who incorporates some aspects of Jessica’s dreams into his games. But now someone is asking about those dreams...and about her. A strange woman has been watching her house. A visitor to her school attempts to take possession of her dream-inspired artwork.

Why?

As she begins to search for answers it becomes clear that whoever is watching her does not want her to learn the truth. One night her house catches on fire, and when the smoke clears she discovers that her brother has been kidnapped. She must figure out what is going on, and quickly, if she and her family are to be safe.

Following clues left behind on Tommy's computer, determined to find her brother and bring him home safely, Jessica and two of her friends are about to embark on a journey that will test their spirits and their courage to the breaking point, as they must leave their own world behind and confront the source of Earth's darkest legends – as well as the terrifying truth of their own secret heritage.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:09:53 -0400)

All her life Jessica Drake has dreamed of other worlds, some of them similar to her own, others disturbingly alien. She never shares the details with anyone, save her younger brother Tommy, a compulsive gamer who incorporates some aspects of Jessica's dreams into his games. But now someone is asking about those dreams and about her. A strange woman has been watching her house. A visitor to her school attempts to take possession of her dream-inspired artwork. Why? As she begins to search for answers it becomes clear that whoever is watching her does not want her to learn the truth. One night her house catches on fire, and when the smoke clears she discovers that her brother has been kidnapped. She must figure out what is going on, and quickly, if she and her family are to be safe. Following clues left behind on Tommy's computer, determined to find her brother and bring him home safely, Jessica and two of her friends are about to embark on a journey that will test their spirits and their courage to the breaking point, as they must leave their own world behind and confront the source of Earth's darkest legends as well as the terrifying truth of their own secret heritage… (more)

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