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Dreamhunter (The Dreamhunter Duet, Book 1) Hardcover – Bargain Price, February 21, 2006
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From School Library Journal
Grade 5-9–Laura Hame and her cousin Rose, 14, live in a recognizable early-20th-century society, realistically portrayed but for one thing: the Place, discovered about 20 years earlier by Lauras father. It lies outside geographical boundaries, and only select people are able to enter and experience dreams there. These dreamhunters then perform their received dreams for large theater audiences, and those in attendance go to sleep and experience them. At the time of this story, dreams have become big business and are embroiled in issues of social control (especially the control of prisoners) and power politics. When Lauras father disappears, the girl takes enormous risks first to try to find him, and then to complete his mission. While the author leaves tantalizing clues throughout the novel, the plot moves slowly at first. However, patient readers will find themselves rewarded by the riveting action in the final third of the book. Relationships between the characters, especially Laura and Rose, are given center stage, but their interaction flags in the middle of the book. Particularly touching is the relationship between Laura and a golem-type creature sculpted out of sand in the magical world of the Place. Dry, unchanging, with nothing either fully living or dead, no wind or sounds, it is eerily suffused with atmosphere and powerfully portrayed. This novel, the first of a duet of books, concludes neither with a cliffhanger nor at the end, but in the middle of the action. It will appeal to lovers of fantasy set in the real world, who will eagerly await the resolution in the second volume.–Sue Giffard, Ethical Culture Fieldston School, New York City
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
*Starred Review* Gr. 10-12. Readers pining for a fantasist to rival Philip Pullman or Garth Nix may have finally found what they seek in New Zealander Knox, the author of numerous novels for adults. Knox sets her first YA novel in a fictional nation called Southland, where turn-of-the-century society is coming to terms with a geographical marvel called "the Place," a harvesting ground for dreams that can be caught and sold to sleeping customers. Fifteen-year-old cousins Rose and Laura belong to a first family of dream hunting: Laura's father discovered the Place 20 years before, and Rose's celebrity mother is a sought-after dream-palace performer. When a test reveals that only reluctant Laura, not pert, confident Rose, has inherited the gift, Laura must contend not only with her shaken relationship with her cousin but also with the disappearance of her father, who has left behind puzzling messages about the true nature of dreams. Although Laura's transformation from wilting violet to intrepid avenger seems too abrupt, Knox's wide-angle narrative convincingly explores the nuances of the charismatic extended family and the personal and political implications of the dream-hunting phenomenon. Questions are not so much answered as deepened in anticipation of book 2 in the highly promising Dreamhunter Duet. Jennifer Mattson
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
Top customer reviews
Dreamhunters are a small minority of the population who can traverse The Place and catch dreams to share. This book details (as part one of a duet) the main families amongst the dreamhunters, the problems of the life and the travails of a young girl named Laura. There is a golem subplot, a few unexpected twists and a morality tale here as well.
The book took me far more time to read than normal for me (much like Mortal Fire) but I did very much enjoy it. Knox takes some patience but in my opinion that is rewarded with this book.
-The characters are fleshed out fully
-The dream sequences are phenomenal
-The books starts out very slow
-Laura falls too quickly for a character
-The beginning drags on and on
Elizabeth Knox is a brilliant writer. Every word is chosen carefully and with great precision. Each word is strong and forceful that brings the world into focus. With such a masterfully skill of words and world building I can see even greater books coming from Elizabeth Knox. The one big issue I have with the entire book, is that for the first 100 or so pages the story just drags on and seems really slow.
Knox holds the story together by brining out characters that make you feel and want to be the characters. Each character is bold, strong and independent in there own way. You can see and feel the characters grow and continually move forward in their relationships. From the timid to the strong, from the brave to the cowardly, and from the honest to the deceiving each character will rock your socks off.
The dialouge helps drive the story, but Elizabeth Knox drives the story forward by some scenes being so written so well that there is little need for dialouge.
"He ran to the edge of the pier and flung himself off of it, headfirst, like someone diving into deep water. Except that the tide was right out, and there was no water, only slick black stones at the base of the thirty-foot piles."
Having just turned fifteen, Laura and her beautiful cousin Rose go to Try to enter the Place to see if they're dreamhunters. Unexpectedly, Laura succeeds and Rose does not, much like in Ruby Red. At about the same time, Laura's father disappears while in the Place, or so she's told. Laura desperately begins to search the Place with the help of a man she makes of sand, called Nown, that she animates using a song spell she learned from her father. Soon, she uncovers that there is a dark side to capturing dreams.
The disappearance of Laura's father clearly rattles her and she changes into a head-strong, unstable young woman. The mysteries she learns burden her mind to an unhealthy degree, which sets her apart from most YA heroines. I'm impressed Knox writes such a flawed character, but I can't help but be disturbed at how Laura becomes so obsessed that she disregards nearly everyone and everything except the mystery, the nightmare, her father has left her.
There are many subplots, factions between the characters, and political and historical intrigue throughout the text. The relationships between characters is as complex as the characters themselves, and, in many ways, this reads like excellent fiction that happens to be set in a fantasy world. The aesthetics, dialogue, and use of language is, to Knox's credit, written splendidly. I recommend this book to all readers 13+, and I hope the sequel will be just as good.
-Lindsey Miller, [...]