St. Martin’s Griffin / Feb 2015 ~ 4.5 Stars
This well written debut novel introduces readers to Joshlyn Weaver, a dream walker who like other members of her family saves people from their worst nightmares. She either solves the problem, wakes up the person who is actually dreaming or aborts the mission – escapes from the nightmare. Dreamwalkers are just as human as those they try to protect and they can die in the nightmare worlds too. Joshlyn knows this better than anyone. She lost her boyfriend and her mother in one of those realms.
Now, on her 17th birthday, Joshlyn is considered an adult by her society and one of the best, most talented dreamwalkers of her generation. With the new status, comes a new responsibility. She must train an apprentice.
Will delivers pizzas and never expects an introduction to literally strange new worlds when he agrees to a job interview at the Weaver household. Abandoned by his own parents, he finds solace in self-help books. This knowledge will not only help when he begins entering other people’s nightmares, it also helps with his “trainer,” who suffers from PTSD. Despite his background or perhaps because of it, Will is kind, empathetic and a healer who doubles as a warrior. Then again, he could be a warrior who doubles as a healer.
As the nightmares intensify during Will’s training, the two find themselves contending with gas-masked adversaries who break what Josh thinks of as the tenets of dream walking. Her usual allies in the so-called, “real” world just aren’t there for her this time. Tensions mount, not just with what she faces, but also between her and Will when she finds herself attracted to him. And then she has high school too! Aargh!
The story started out a bit slowly, but the pacing eventually picked up by about a third of the way into the book. Kit Alloway’s descriptions of the nightmare worlds entranced, horrified and trapped the reader as much as the characters. Some of these characters weren’t as well developed as they could have been, but there were sufficient hints at the beginning to let me know who Josh trusted and didn’t trust.
Hopefully, this is the beginning of a series since there were unanswered questions and unresolved issues between Josh and Will. They are falling in love, but more importantly they “like” each other and they are “real” partners, which will hopefully save both their lives. Now, if Alloway will only write another book about Josh and Will to share what happens to them after this story because it simply can’t end here.
This review was provided by Shannon Kennedy for her column Shannon’s Space in the April 2015 issue of The Book Breeze.