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Dream Eater by K. Bird Lincoln

Dream Eater

by K. Bird Lincoln

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This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
A young woman in Portland Oregon is living a hermit-like existence, because physical contact with other people seems to transfer their dreams or memories to her. Then she discovers that her affliction is actually a talent inherited through her Dad: they are both “Dream Eaters”, a mythological nonhuman being from Japan. Just as she is beginning to understand this, she is also forced to try to protect her father from other malevolent creatures who are attempting to exploit him for their objectives.

The story is told mainly from the point of view of the main character, Koi. Koi's often witty “interior” dialog makes the book fun to read, balances the more serious aspects of the story. A minor criticism is that I felt that Koi seemed to evolve from a social misfit to a poised, semi-super-heroine a little too quickly. But this is a fast-paced action novel, so I guess that's alright. I think the author has a talent for creating believable and likable characters. The premise of conflict and/or cooperation between the mythological beings or creatures from Japan, the Middle East and North America is interesting, but a little more explanation would have helped me to follow along better.

Overall, I enjoyed the book, and will look for the sequel. The subtitle, “Portland Hafu Book 1”, indicates that there will be more stories with the same character set in Portland. This book should appeal to people who like the fantasy/action genres, especially with plots grounded in world mythology. And Oregon readers should enjoy the local color. ( )
  dougb56586 | Apr 20, 2017 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I was pleasantly surprised by this book. The blend of mythology, the supernatural and different cultures was intriguing and kept me reading the book until the end. I was (still am) ambivalent about the main character, on one hand I sympathise with her, she has a number of difficulties to overcome, she cannot touch people, she is misunderstood, she is trying to make the best of a ‘bad situation’ and has been kept in the dark about her abilities etc etc BUT she is stubbornly, defiantly ignorant about her condition. Instead of trying to find out what’s going on, she repeatedly leaps into situations and trusts to luck that it will turn out ok! That said, I did find her ability an intriguing one. I would read the next book providing she is a little more clued more clued up. I feel that on the whole it would suit young adults; it was a little naïve for me – well written though ( )
1 vote Suzanne289 | Apr 18, 2017 |
Koi can read other people’s dreams – it’s a curse she’s had from childhood; a curse that brings consequences every time someone touches her. It’s made life almost impossible, but she’s finally getting it together… though she’s not ready to look after her father with Alzheimer’s

And then Ken comes to town and he seems to be carrying a whole lot of mystery with him – and one of her university professors has some terrifying dreams. And he’s fixated on her.

I can’t say I’m a huge fan of Koi. There’s a lot about her characterisation, her struggle, the affect her power has on her and how she is struggling to make a life despite that often in the face of scorn from her sister.

I really think her experience is closely related to disability. She struggles a lot with daily life, crowds, dealing with people and in general making it very hard to go out, shop, go to school. At the same time she is criticised sharply and condescended to by her sister who doesn’t understand why Koi can’t just do better – not knowing what she has to struggle with and just seeing her failing.

I like the nature of Koi’s power as a really unique element that I haven’t seen in many places and Koi’s experience of them is a good element. She does have a tragic-dead-mother and a father with Alzheimer’s – but while both weigh on her and shape her character, she isn’t consumed by it. They’re not used as quick and lazy characterisation for her, they have meaning, they’re actually shaping her

Unfortunately while I like these elements, Koi herself tends to annoy me. One of that is unfortunate word choice. Authors ”said” is an acceptable word – stop looking for synonyms. In this case, stop using “snapped”. Koi seems to be constantly snarling and snapping at everyone around her. And I don’t know if this is intentional or just bad word choice. Especially when later, Koi decides she absolutely has to put herself at risk because she wants a burrito. And maybe that would make it a little better if we’d better establish how much she needs to eat after using her power.

It doesn’t help that I really don’t like how she interacts with Ken. It seems to bounce between over the top unnecessary sexual attraction (which, yes, I get it – Koi’s power means she can’t touch people easily so meeting a guy she can kind of touch without consequence is a wonderful thing. But my gods that’s an overused trope!) and then back to really excessive antagonism which feels like someone has decided to take a long love/hate attraction storyline, speed it up and shoe-horn it into the story.

On top of this is a really unnecessary dragging out of the supernatural. Koi must be aware she is supernatural – early in the book she is clear she know she is dreaming other people’s dreams, she doesn’t think it’s some kind of delusion. So it’s not like she’s completely naïve to the supernatural. Ken is clearly aware of the supernatural as a major member of the supernatural community and organisations. It is obvious that Koi has been kept in the dark

But we keep circling – Ken assumes Koi is lying to him so doesn’t explain things. She assumes Ken is kind of weird so doesn’t ask questions. And they just keep circling for a waaaay too long for the first half of the book without answering the obvious questions.

But I do like how we are introduced to the supernatural in that not everything is explained to Koi. In particular we learn that the supernatural inhabitants of Seattle Portland have some kind of beef with the organisation that Ken is part of. I love the clear philosophical tension that is repeatedly referred but never entirely explained. And it shouldn’t be – clearly there are lots of issues concerning “purity” “being tainted” relationship to humans, killing and not killing, territory and snobbishness. I like that we’re touching on the hugeness here – but Koi is clearly not interested because she wants to rescue her father and sister. She doesn’t have the time or inclination for a history lesson. While Ken and Kwaskwi are clearly not going to lecture us on past issues between them or the underpinnings of their society. It would be extremely weird for them to have a time out for world building.

Read More ( )
  FangsfortheFantasy | Apr 17, 2017 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I am so glad I requested this book to review. I couldn't put it down! Loved the main protagonist, Koi, and her family. I loved, loved, loved the way Kitsune was portrayed. I really liked the variety of mythos blended with this tale and I am so looking forward to reading the continuation of Koi's story. Good story for young adult and older.

I received this book for review from Librarything.com and this is my first time reading this author, but won't be my last! ( )
  llyramoon | Apr 15, 2017 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
As an avid reader of fantasy with a background in dead languages, Dream Eater worked the two together seamlessly. The idea of a girl having dormant magical powers, which her father had long hidden from her, is nothing new. But having her hide away from most people, as a result of this strange “condition” gave this secret an entirely new meaning. Dream Eater is filled with fanciful creatures and kind strangers (some more trustworthy than others), and rooted in the folklore of several cultures which are identified rather than morphed together. This book also shows the power of love for family and a willingness to do difficult things in order to protect those you love.

Koi’s story pulled me in immediately and kept my attention throughout the entire book. There were numerous twists, but never abandoned the hope of a happily-ever-after. The blossoming love story was sweet, particularly because I felt Koi’s emotions when she was finally able to touch someone without the typical repercussions. The mythology was also fascinating. We don’t have enough mythology from Asian cultures in mainstream fiction, so this is a gift to those who loved Percy Jackson, but wish to move beyond the well-known Greek and Roman myths. I recommend this book to anyone who loves fantasy, ancient cultures, and all things Asian.

I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. ( )
  Constant2m | Apr 12, 2017 |
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