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Dreamhunter (The Dreamhunter Duet, Book 1) (original 2006; edition 2006)
by Elizabeth Knox
Dreamhunter by Elizabeth Knox (2006)
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Interesting concept for this duet of books. A place where people can go to get dreams to share with the populace. Now only certain people have the ability to hunt and capture the dreams and share them. Many have made money by sharing the dreams in a theater where people can come and sleep and enjoy the dreams
If you are a reader of fantasy and haven't read this, you need to.
So awesome. Had a great twist and really interesting.
I find this duology ("duet") delightful; this reread is courtesy of having bought my own copies so I can read it whenever I like.
The story follow two coming-of-age cousins and their interactions with society and with "the Place", where dreams can be harvested for use by those with the talent. It's set in an analogy of an early twentieth-century Euro-colony (I've seen reviewers assume it's the US; as an Antipodean knowing Elizabeth Knox is a fellow Antipodean, I always assumed it was One Of Us Down South - ETA: it certainly is, as they have Christmas in summer).
It engages authentically (for me) with both the trappings of colonialism, and the freedom of distance that comes with it, but that isn't its primary focus (and that's one element of why I tend to "let it off" on the question of the absent natives). Mostly, this book is concerned with examining privilege, and that comes in many flavours and aspects. There's the privilege of the dreamhunters, but also the privilege of those whose only engagement with dreams is the consumption (who are sheltered from the reality of those dreams). There's the privilege of wealth, the privilege of authority, the privilege of a loving family. Also elements of looking at both the privilege of being an adult (being taken seriously?), the privilege of being a child (being looked after?), and the journey between those two privileges that forms part of coming of age, and the various ways in which Rose and Laura, because of all their differences, have to negotiate that.
It's also about relationships, and how they cannot remain static if they are to remain vibrant and strong and real, and about consequences, and about what makes a person a person and who deserves autonomy. It's all of these things, and also lushly written, with lavish, poetic detail (that may make the story drag for more action-focused readers, but lulled me deeply into the embrace of the narrative) and intricate characters who are such people.
To return to point: I love it. The world is winter morning air crisp and papercut real, the characters grow and twist and tug at my heart, and the mysteries that it starts to lay out (and pulls tight in the second volume) are enthralling. This, for me, is excellent fiction that just happens to be YA.
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!
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Dreamhunter Duet (1)
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Wikipedia in English (1)
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.
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Melvil Decimal System (DDC)823.914Literature English & Old English literatures English fiction Modern Period 1901-1999 1945-1999
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I wasn't a fan of the cliffhanger ending, and I didn't think the author developed the transformation of Laura from spacey follower to the person who makes such a world-shattering decision at the end of the book. But the latter could be argued, I guess, that she was still following more than thinking for herself.
Rose was a wonderful character, and I look forward to seeing her in the next book. I was often moved by the cousins' closeness and protectiveness of each other.
The book was extremely descriptive, which set the tone and atmosphere nicely, but also made things plod along at times.
I still thought it was an exceptional book and worth the time and effort to get through it. ( )