I’d been meaning to get K.M. Weiland’s Dreamlander and read it for a while now. Well, not long ago, Katie posted on Wordplay about Story Cartel, where readers can get free books in exchange for an honest interview.
I missed the deadline for her challenge, which might have won me an Amazon gift certificate (moar books!), but since I always intended to write the review up anyway, I figured I’d just carry on and post when I actually finished the book.
I don’t read as fast as I used to. I blame it on the day job, but I have a feeling that even if I wasn’t working I wouldn’t be consuming a book a day like I used to. Besides, I wanted to savour Dreamlander. If that doesn’t give away the nature of my review, I don’t know what will 😉
One of the reasons I was so keen was the concept: a man goes to sleep in this world and wakes up in a parallel world.
Any of you who have followed my blog for any length of time will know about my tonsillectomy trauma and the dream that I had upon my return from my second visit to the hospital.
For those of you who haven’t seen the post and don’t want to take the time to read it, here’s the short version: I had a near-death experience, and as a result, I dreamed that I had, in fact, died. I fell asleep in one world and woke up a new person in another world.
So you can see how Dreamlander kind of fed into my life-long fascination with dreams and dreaming.
What if it were possible to live two very different lives in two separate worlds?
What if the dreams you awaken from are the fading memories of that second life?
What if one day you woke up in the wrong world?
Only one person in a generation may cross the barrier of dreams to reach the other world—a world of war-scarred countries and fallen faiths. When a Chicago-born journalist finds himself on the far side of his dreams, he must hurl himself into battle to save a princess from her own people, two worlds from annihilation, and himself from a dream come way too true.
I loved Dreamlander (did you see that one coming?). Weiland has created a flawed protagonist in Chris Redston who wins our hearts over as he attempts to undo the damage caused by the mistakes he’s made.
Having lost his mother and one sister in a car accident he survived, and having subsequently lost his father to alcoholism, Chris is done with alternately lending his father money and bailing him out of jail. He can’t find his focus though. Once a talented writer, Chris finds himself blocked and unable to support himself. Then there are these bizarre dreams he keeps having…
Chris turns out to be The Gifted, a rare man who can cross over into the land of his dreams, a very real world where he lives an alternate life.
Allara Katadin, princess of Lael and Searcher, is equally damaged. The last Gifted who crossed over sent her world spiralling into chaos and she feels it was her fault. She can’t trust Chris not to be the man his predecessor was, and when he initially proves her right, she shuts Chris out, not understanding that life is about taking chances and about giving second ones when it matters most.
Dreamlander is true epic fantasy, with not just one, but two worlds in jeopardy. Chris and Allara must work together and sacrifice everything to do the right thing, even as Allara’s own people cry for her blood and that of the Gifted.
The denouement was both heart wrenching and satisfying, Weiland proving that the writer must be cruel to her characters to be kind to her readers.
My highest recommendation.
5 out of 5 stars.
About the author:
K.M. Weiland grew up chasing Billy the Kid and Jesse James on horseback through the hills of western Nebraska, where she still lives. A lifelong fan of history and the power of the written word, she enjoys sharing both through her novels and short stories. She blogs at Wordplay: Helping Writers Become Authors, where she mentors other authors and shares the ups and downs of the writing life.
Now I’m off to post my review to Story Cartel, Amazon, and Goodreads 🙂