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Dreamhunter by Elizabeth Knox

Dreamhunter (2006)

by Elizabeth Knox

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I enjoyed this book, mainly for the intriguing plot and world. The writing is not anything special, but I want to find out what happens in the sequel! ( )
  PeterWhitfield | May 19, 2016 |
Simply beautiful, perfect story. Love the characters, the setting, the otherworldliness of their world... ( )
  susan259 | Jan 20, 2016 |
This is the first in duet and as stated earlier in the reviews should be read as such. It is clear that the book simply ends and that most of the story has not been told. The author does a great job of creating a dreamlike atmosphere in the book and is able to maintain that quality throughout. Evocative atmosphere aside, the author has created a believable world that is clearly some sort of colony of the old British Empire. In this the book reminded me of the work of Libba Bray and Robin McKinley, where it is clear that the protagonists live in this colonial empire. I was impressed with the writing in that the main characters do not always make the right decisions and are clearly struggling to find their way. I have started the second book and so will reserve further judgement until I finish it. ( )
  benitastrnad | Sep 16, 2014 |
On the island nation of Southland - a sort of alternative New Zealand settled by immigrants from both Britain and the Aegean island of Elprus - a strange phenomenon had been discovered. "The Place," as it was known, was an alternate dimension, existing alongside the everyday one in the Rifleman Mountains, and accessible only to a few. A strange, dusty world, constantly illuminated by a diffuse light, it was a source of incredible dreams - dreams that could be harvested by those known as Dreamhunters, brought out into the larger world of Southland, and transmitted to others. And so an industry was born, as dream parlors and dream palaces flourished, and an entire infrastructure developed - all regulated by the Intangible Resources Act, and enforced by the Dream Regulatory Body.

In 1906, some twenty years after the discovery of The Place by a violinist named Tziga Hame, whose family came from Elprus, and were reputedly descended from Lazarus (ie, Lazarus of Bethany), Dreamhunter opens, following the story of the extended Hame/Tiebold family, and focusing on two young women: Laura Hame, daughter of the famed Tziga, and her cousin Rose Tiebold, daughter of another famed Dreamhunter, Grace Tiebold. As the girls prepare for their Try - in which they test whether they can enter The Place, and possibly become Dreamhunters themselves - their world is shaken by a series of tragic and terrifying events. Tziga, under contract to the Department of Corrections to supply "Think Again Dreams" for prisoner rehabilitation, disappears; only one of the cousins (despite their strong expectations otherwise) is able to enter the place; and a sinister conspiracy, one involving the use of dreams and Dreamhunters to influence the political life of the nation, emerges. As each member of this close-knit family struggles with larger issues, they must also contend with the changing nature of their familial bonds, and their relationships with one another.

Thought-provoking, original, and - in the end - deeply moving, Dreamhunter is a book I would recommend to readers who enjoy fantasy with a little philosophical heft. So many fascinating questions are raised, in the course of the story, from the nature of dreams themselves, to the proper response to state misconduct. I appreciated the fact that Knox does not always depict her characters as knowing the correct (or any) answers to these questions, or following the correct path. In fact, the entire final sequence, in which Laura commits an act of mass brutality and dream terrorism, at the behest of her missing father, points to the fact that these characters are anything but generic cookie-cutter cut-outs, firmly in either the "good guy" or "bad guy" camp. On the contrary, Knox's characters, from the Hames and Tiebolds, to figures like Mamie and Cas Doran, are complex and true-to-life, and witnessing their interaction with one another, the ways that they negotiate their ever-changing relationships, is one of the great joys of the story.

I thought Knox brilliantly captured the surreal quality of dreams, and the dream-world in this first entry in her Dreamhunter Duet. In fact, she captured that feeling almost too well, something that created a sense, not of being repelled, in the course of my reading, but of being slowed (sometimes almost to a crawl). I found it difficult to read as quickly as I would have, if this had been any other book, as I needed to savor, and to think about what I was reading. I found that I simply couldn't race through it, as I've done with so many other, more plot-centric stories, but really had to think about what Knox was depicting. I found her use of the Lazarus character, and of the golem-like Nown, immensely fascinating, as it raised additional questions about the nature of creation, and of the (porous) division between humanity and divinity: What does it mean, to create a being? What obligations do the creator and created have, to one another?

It is this last - the questions raised by the creation of the sandman Nown (and what an inspired thing, that he is a sandman, when one considers that this is also a tale about dreaming) - that really makes the story stand out to me, from an emotional perspective. I found the exchanges between Laura and Nown to be immensely moving, as Laura seeks to understand her creation - how he thinks, why he responds the way he does - and comes to love him. There is a distinct effort being made here - nothing comes naturally, or free from strain - knowledge has to be won, after a struggle. And I think that is true for the reader as well: there is a struggle involved, in reading this book... but by the end, I was convinced that it was worth the effort. ( )
2 vote AbigailAdams26 | Apr 19, 2013 |
anna recommends
  joeyreads | Apr 3, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 33 (next | show all)
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To my son, Jack Barrowman.
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On a late winter night, the Isle of the Temple lay quiet, streets empty and shimmering.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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"Dreamhunter" and "The Rainbow Opera" are the same book with different titles.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0374318530, Hardcover)

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 . . .
In the midst of a fascinating landscape, Laura’s dreamy childhood is ending and a nightmare beginning. This rich novel, filled with beauty, danger, politics, and intrigue, comes to a powerful crescendo, leaving readers clamoring for Book Two.

Dreamhunter is a 2007 Bank Street - Best Children's Book of the Year.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:25:36 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

In a world where select people can enter "The Place" and find dreams of every kind to share with others for a fee, a fifteen-year-old girl is training to be a dreamhunter when her father disappears, leaving her to carry on his mysterious mission.

» see all 4 descriptions

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