Dreamlander by K.M. Weiland
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
An Average Parallel World Story
A moderately interesting premise about parallel worlds accessible through dreams; and something that many fans of the fantasy genre have either encountered, or perhaps even imagined, in our youth. In fact, I find echoes of the Thomas Covenant series … except that the protagonist here is actually a decent human being and not a miserable twit. Of course, the world building more a lot more simplified here, so I am tempted to call it even … except I hated Thomas so much that I was never able to finish that series … so the win goes to Dreamlander here.
Lael is an alternative world accessible to earth through our dreams, provided we exist in both worlds. In other words, when we sleep on earth, we are awake in Lael and vice versa … ignoring the obvious problem of time asleep vs time awake not being one for one between the two worlds. If your doppelgänger dies, the survivor stops dreaming. Leal differs from earth with its more primitive and/or limited technology that gives it a steampunk feel in a basic feudal society on a word with only two warring nations (Lael and Karod [sp?]) . There is a mysterious shape changing (or size changing) proleptic being known as The Garowai that doesn’t seem to add much outside of a typical McMuffin. Stir in a blue blooded master warrior race called the Cherazzi and their companion Riever race that contributes a few support characters to play the cat’s paw and that is pretty much the extent of the world building.
Once in each generation, there appears a prophetic human able to actually (physically) travel between the worlds using an artifact (magic rock) called the Orimere. Only in this case, Chris Redston is the Second of the generation, with the first setting the scene for the coming conflict between the only two nations known on Lael that puts both worlds “out of balance.” If Chris can’t defeat the enemy warlord, both worlds will be destroyed. Oh … and apparently Chris is also The Gifted … who is some form of messianic figure that is supposed to do something in Lael. The two other players in this drama are The Seeker, a minor love interest whose job is to find The Gifted when they appear, and the Keeper, a treasonous Cherazzi who keeps the dream rock until The Gifted comes. There is a lot of hand waving here to gloss over the things that make you go huh, but the pacing of the story is fast enough that you don’t have much time to dwell on any of it, so it mostly works … until you get to the end.
The narration was strong, but there was an aspect that didn’t feel natural to me and was an ongoing irritant throughout. The character voices were actually pretty good though. At 21 hours, there is a lot of entertainment here.
I was given this free advance review/listener copy (ARC) audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.
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My Ratings Explained ...
- [ ***** ] Amazing Read - Perfect story, exciting, engrossing, well developed complex characters, solid plot with few to no holes, descriptive environments and place settings, great mystery elements, realistic dialogue, believable reactions and behaviors; a favorite that I can re-read many times.
- [ **** ] Great Read - Highly entertaining and enjoyable, exciting storyline, well developed characters and settings, a few discrepancies but nothing that can’t be overlooked. Some aspect of the story was new/refreshing to me and/or intriguing. Recommended for everyone.
- [ *** ] Good Read - Solid story with a 'good' ending, or has some other redeeming feature. Limited character development and/or over reliance on tropes. Noticeable discrepancies in world building and/or dialog/behavior that were distracting. I connected enough with the characters/world to read the entire series. Most of the books I read for fun are here. Recommended for fans of the genre.
- [ ** ] Okay Read - Suitable for a brief, afternoon escape … flat or shallow characters with little to no development. Over the top character dialog and/or behavior. Poor world building with significant issues and/or mistakes indicating poor research. Excessive use of trivial detail, info dumps and/or pontification. Any issues with the story/characters are offset by some other aspect that I enjoyed. Not very memorable. May only appeal to a niche group of readers. Recommended for some (YMMV).
- [ * ] Bad Read - Awkward and/or confusing writing style. Poor world building and/or unbelievable (or unlikeable) characters. Victimization, gaslighting, blatant abuse, unnecessary violence, child endangerment, or any other highly objectionable behaviors by Main characters. I didn't connect with the story at all; significant aspects of this story irritated me enough that I struggled to finished it. Series was abandoned. Not recommended.