Chris Redston has dreams. Everyone dreams, but not everyone has dreams where a beautiful woman on a warhorse sits astride a warhorse and points a firearm at him. One night, Chris’s dream becomes real, and he finds himself in the land of Lael, given with a stone called the Orimere, and charged with protecting the lives of thousands.
Allara Katadin is the Searcher, the person in Lael with a mental connection with the Gifted, the one who can cross into Lael from our world in their dreams, the one who is called into Lael with a destiny to launch and end epochs. It’s a huge responsibility for both the Gifted and the Searcher, and the last Gifted, Harrison Garnett, turned traitor.
Every time Chris falls asleep he swaps worlds, between Lael and his normal life in Chicago. Yet is seems others know about the dual worlds, because all of a sudden normal Chicago life has got a lot more dangerous. Things are going wrong in both worlds, and it’s all Chris’s fault.
This was a complex plot, with a whole new world to understand, including the tradition of the Searcher and the Gifted, the politics, kindgoms and races of Lael, and the relationship between Chris and Allara. As a result it took a while to get into the story as a reader, but the effort was worth it and the author did an excellent job of introducing the information about Lael so as not to overwhelm the reader. The writing was very good, the plot tight and fast-paced, and Lael was populated with realistic and likeable characters.
Dreamlander was longer than most books I read, and while I enjoyed seeing Chris in Lael, I felt the Chicago scenes slowed down the action. It also seemed that Chris never got any sleep – his bodies did, but his mind was always active and continually had to switch between worlds. This didn’t quite ring true for me.
In terms of genre, Dreamlander is epic fantasy with a very slight steampunk feel, in that Lael has some steam technology not typically found in fantasy novels (at least not in my experience). It was a well-thought out world and one that was well-described without that description becoming overwhelming, and this was a real strength. Recommended for fantasy fans.
Thanks to KM Weiland and StoryCartel for providing a free ebook for review. You can find out more about KM Weiland at her website.