This novel is a departure from what I normally review, and also from my normal personal reading list. Although fascinated by the title and publisher’s description, references to a “Nightmare Lord,” made me reluctant to hand the book over to my young niece to review. It took a few pages for me to get into the story, but once I did, Dreamtreaders was difficult to put down (fortunately I was on vacation last week, and was able to read a lot).
Fascinating Plot and Interesting Characters
The characters were well-developed and interesting, and more importantly, I cared about what happened to them! The author described both “the Dream” and real life in such a way that I was able to imagine both worlds. I love reading a well-told story (even if it written for a younger age group), and I enjoy good fantasy and fairy tales.
Disclosure: I was not compensated for this post, but was given a free book to review. This post contains affiliate links and I will receive a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.
Dreamtreaders is the first book in a trilogy by Wayne Thomas Batson.
Fourteen-year-old Archer Keaton discovers he has the ability to enter and explore his dreams. He is a Dreamtreader, one of three selected from each generation. Their mission: to protect the waking world from the Nightmare Lord, who wreaks chaos in the Dream World. But as Archer’s dreams become more dangerous and threatening, so too does his waking life.
Epic Story of Good vs Evil
Written for 8 – 12 year-olds, Dreamtreaders is unlike anything I read when I was in middle school. Although I was impressed with the author’s creativity and imagination, I was a little taken aback by the violence and horrific imagery that appears in the Dream World. (In contrast, Archer’s life in the real world seems rather normal.) However, I recall the numerous books I’ve seen for preteens and young adults in bookstores on vampires, dark magic, and horror. Also, many of the movies produced these days seem to center around one or more of these themes. The heightened interest in dark fantasy and horror is rather disturbing, but it does point to a need in kids that God is ready to fill. Rather than just criticizing the publishers of this genre, I think it is appropriate to offer an alternative. (A clarification: there are no vampires in Dreamtreaders.)
The ending was a little disappointing, because being the first book in a trilogy, the last chapter set the reader up for the second book. I knew about the trilogy when I started, but it’s hard for me to leave a story unfinished! I guess I will have to get my hands on the second two books!
A Recommendation, and A Caution
My conclusion is that although this story isn’t for kids who are sensitive to violent imagery, those who are interested in the genres of epic and/or dark fantasy would benefit from reading Dreamtreaders because, in the book:
- The main character (Archer) knows right from wrong.
- Archer is kind to his brothers and sisters, and is interested in a good relationship with his father.
- Education is important.
- Archer treats girls with respect. There is no sex mentioned or sexual innuendo. (He is interested in girls, but that is as far as it goes.)
- Archer is concerned with doing the right thing, and is bothered when he makes bad choices and does wrong. He confesses his wrongdoing to Gabriel.
- There are consequences for bad choices and wrongdoing. There is forgiveness in response repentance.
- The character Gabriel (whom I assume is the angel of the same name from the Bible) was powerful yet compassionate, stern yet forgiving.
- Although God and Jesus are not mentioned by name, but there are references to Gabriel’s “Superior.” The main character’s family goes to church.
I recommend that a parent or guardian read the book to make sure it is appropriate for their child, especially for 8 – 10 year-olds. You can scroll down below the giveaway form to find a preview of the book in this post.
Tommy Nelson publishers has generously offered one of my readers a free copy of the book Dreamtreaders. The giveaway is open to U.S. residents and will run through midnight on Monday, June 16, 2014. Must be at least 18 years old to enter. The winner will be contacted via email and will have two days to claim the prize. If unclaimed, a new winner will be drawn. The winners’ entries will be verified. Please enter the contest using the Rafflecopter form below. All entries are optional. Thank you for visiting Cotton Ridge Homeschool!
Disclosure: I was not compensated for this post, but was given a free book to review. I only recommend products and companies that I believe will be of benefit to my readers. This post contains affiliate links and I will receive a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.
Copyright 2014 Kathryn Depew