Number of pages: 394
Number of times read (including the time before this review): 1
Rating (out of five stars): 1
I swear I’m trying to be kinder in my reviews of books I don’t like, but after reading books like Dreamstrider, it’s far more difficult than I thought it would be.
Livia is one of the most annoying protagonists I have read from in a long time. She has no self-esteem whatsoever, and spends her days mooning over a boy she knows she can never have (which, as it turns out, doesn’t matter). We get it, you feel useless after some incident that isn’t explained until the last quarter of the book because your superiors at the worst spy agency are horrible at planning. Telling the reader how useless you think you are 10 times per chapter doesn’t provide insight into your character, it’s just annoying. Livia is the only person who can dreamstride (technically), so she can’t be completely useless, yet all she does is complain.
The rest of the characters were also incredibly juvenile and one-dimensional. There are two girls who were in a relationship together that ended after one of them was threatened by her father, and they basically pull the first grade technique of “I’m not talking to you” when they are forced into the same room. These are near adults we are talking about. Also, who’s idea was it to name the love interest something very similar to the name of the country they inhabit. It makes an already confusing novel harder to follow.
The world-building is terrible. The reader is thrust into a world they know absolutely nothing about, and are expected to know the intricate political system by chapter one. The Tunnelers are introduced in the first chapter, but even after completing the book, I still know next to nothing about them. The book tells us that they aren’t citizens, and they are controlled by gangs (of which we only learn about one), but that’s about all we are told. This especially frustrating since three quarters of the plot has to do with the Tunnelers. Why aren’t they citizens? What do they do?
The people in Dreamstrider believe in The Dreamer, who is equivalent to God for people of Christian faith. Why he is called The Dreamer isn’t well explained. Why dreams are sacred to these people isn’t well explained either, and why the regular people in this world apparently appear as various animals in a strange dream world that only certain people know how to access still baffles me a week later, but at least The Dreamer is mentioned so often that the word “dreamer” has lost all meaning to me. Half the word count of this book has to be dream related terms.
It is also frequently mentioned how the aristocracy bejewels their faces. This goes completely unexplained, despite it being a large part of the society, and a small part of the novel. The bejeweling of ones face doesn’t seem to do anything, so I’m curious as to why they do it at all.
The plot twists were fairly obvious. Frankly, it was more of a plot twist that Livia had no idea what was happening half the time.
Overall, Dreamstrider was filled with obvious plot twists, annoying characters, and very little world building, earning it 1 star out of five. I wanted to like Dreamstrider, but it isn’t exactly an enjoyable experience to spend the entire novel confused.