Monday, April 23, 2012

Review: Dreamhunter

Dreamhunter, by Elizabeth Knox. The GoodReads summary:
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.
I’m not really sure what to say about this one. Mostly because even though I finished it yesterday, I still don’t know how I feel about it. So I’m just going to make a list of the things I liked and didn’t like, because I give up on trying to form coherent thoughts about it.

-The idea of dreamhunters--seriously, I think it’s a really awesome idea: people who can catch dreams with differing effects and share them with others.
-The Place--again, a really awesome idea. It’s where dreamhunters go to catch dreams, only not everyone can physically go there--only dreamhunters and rangers can. It’s kinda like an alternative reality that only some people can enter, only it’s a physical location not a state of mind or anything. It’s dry and vast and no one has ever completely explored it.
-The Rainbow Opera--yet again, a cool idea. It’s where famous dreamhunters go to perform their dreams for an audience. And I really want to attend.
-Rose--even though the summary makes it seem like the book is all about Laura, I think Rose is much more of a memorable character. She’s funny and strong and brave and so much more likeable than Laura.
-Chorley--he’s Rose’s dad and Laura’s uncle, and like Rose, he really jumped off the page for me. He totally gets the awesome-dad award (also the hot-dad award, but that’s beside the point).
-The time period--the book’s set in 1906. How awesome is that? That time period practically never crops up in YA fiction.
-The storytelling style--the whole story was told in such a dreamy way, which I thought was perfect considering that the book’s about, you know, dreams.

-Laura--that girl is such a doormat. I know the author did that intentionally for the sake of the story, but it annoys me nonetheless. Plus, pretty much everything she did grated on my nerves. I think it’s because I never really felt like I understood her or got in her head, so I had a hard time understanding her motivations.
-Sandy--okay, I didn’t necessarily dislike him, but he was a really flat character for me. Maybe he just comes off that way because he’s not in very many scenes, but for someone who I assume is supposed to be Laura’s love interest, he was a little lackluster.
-The setup--this book is book one of two and hence felt like it was mostly setup for the sequel. Things are pretty slow through most of the book and only really pick up at the end. Hopefully, this means that the second book will be a little faster paced.

Overall, there are just too many things that I liked to say that I disliked the book, but just enough things that I didn’t like to prevent me from really liking it. I’m still planning on reading the sequel, because this one intrigued me enough and the next one (Dreamquake) is a Printz Honor book, but my feelings are still pretty mixed about this one.

Rating: 3 / 5


  1. This sounds like a really interesting premist. I love the idea of the Rainbow Opera as well. What is it about Operas that are just fascinating? I don't know if the doormat heroine would inspire me enough to read the book though. The cover is great nonetheless.

  2. I hadn't heard of this book, but the cover made me want to read your review and now I'm feeling much like you do: in two minds about reading it. The premise does seem fantastic, but I hate when books are all set-up and you have to read the next book to actually get a complete story. BUT if the writer has been Printz Honored, then that suggests the second book is a cut above. I'll add this to my Amazon wishlist and think about it some more. Thanks for bringing it to my attention, though!

  3. I haven't heard of this book but I LOVE the idea of dreamhunters! The Rainbow Opera sounds incredibly lovely and magical. Although the ideas seem fantastic, I'm sorry to hear the heroine was so frustrating. I hate it when that happens, it's so hard to enjoy a book even with an awesome premise when the heroine annoys you. I think I will give this book a try one day. Wonderful review!

  4. I agree with all your likes and I laugh at your dislike. You have always hated female protagonists that act as doormats... One day there will be a collection of books with female stars that are both strong and humble. It will be a great time in literature.

  5. I've read both books. Loved them. I think Laura tries to avoid responsibility and can't dodge in the end. I liked her eventually but I liked Rose much more. The plot of books is really surprising. The Dreamhunter Duet are 2 of my favorite book actually.

  6. What a great review! You had me hooked with the whole dream world-building, but a doormat of a character is the worst! I am working my way through Printz books (just finished some great John Green and The Scorpio Races) and will add this and its sequel to my list. Thanks for sharing!


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