The Dreams of Phillip Aisling and the Numinous Nagwaagan (Volume 1) Paperback – May 4, 2016
"Devoted" by Dean Koontz
For the first time in paperback, from Dean Koontz, the master of suspense, comes an epic thriller about a terrifying killer and the singular compassion it will take to defeat him. | Learn more
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About the Author
- Grade Level : 4 - 6
- Item Weight : 14.1 ounces
- Paperback : 312 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1523740035
- ISBN-13 : 978-1523740031
- Product Dimensions : 5.5 x 0.78 x 8.5 inches
- Publisher : CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 1st Edition (May 4, 2016)
- Reading level : 9 - 12 years
- Language: : English
Best Sellers Rank:
#4,662,821 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- #52,737 in Children's Fantasy & Magic Books
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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Some parts of this book I enjoyed and some parts were only ho-hum for me. I didn’t dislike it, but I find that I wanted just a bit more from the story. I think maybe it is because I’m a scientist at heart and sometimes I wanted to step into the tale and explain to Phillip about coincidence and also how our mind sees and records more than we do consciously, and how that can affect our dreams. For instance, he has a crazy dream about a flower one night and the next day he notices the same kind of flower in his own yard, which had been there for perhaps a year (though perhaps without a bloom on it). So I think my natural skepticism kept me from enjoying this book. If you lack such skepticism or can shove it to the corner of your mind, you might enjoy this tale more than I did.
There are plenty of oddball personalities in this book and that’s one thing I really liked. Cynthia talks too loud all the time but she’s a stalwart friend. Jack, Phillip’s best friend and neighbor, is a rock, totally dependable. He’s also Thai so we get references to some really good food in this book. The there’s a new girl in school named Lair (I think. I had trouble telling if it was Lair or Blair). Anyway, she has lived in several places with her family and this gives her a bigger view of the world. She gives Phillip some useful advice several times concerning lucid dreaming and other cultures.
There’s a variety of hurdles that Phillip has to contend with. One of them is the perpetually-angry Mrs. Bishop, his history teacher at school. Sometimes his older brother Jeff is a bit difficult, along with his cousin Carl. Then there are the draiths in the dreamworld that give him nightmares and are capable of some painful tricks. Luckily, Phillip received a dream catcher early on that assists in preventing nightmares.
In the dream worlds that Phillip visits, I liked the sprite Fidgeon (or Fid for short) the most. He was helpful and playful. The old Dream Master that is in charge of Phillip’s training and the woman who gave Phillip his dream catcher (the numinous Nagwaagan) didn’t catch my imagination as much as Fid.
Phillip and his friends have a few troubles in this book but none of them really caught my attention. It was typical growing pains kind of stuff that really matters at the time, but weren’t anything spectacular or deep or dangerous, etc. This book has plenty of components that work for the story and yet none of it provoked emotions from me. Sad to say, I didn’t strongly connect with this book despite the obvious care and craftsmanship that went into it.
I received this book free of charge from the author.
The Narration: Fred Wolinsky continues to do great work in the world of audiobook narration. He has distinct voices for every character. I really liked that he pulled out some few special effects for certain dream character voices, like Fid. He’s also great at imbuing the kids’s voices with emotion. When Cynthia is angry, you know it. When Phillip is distraught over being wrongly accused of cheating, you know it. Wolinsky’s performance brings these characters to life!
This is the first middle grade book I’ve had the pleasure of reviewing. I have to, first of all, comment on this cover. The colors are so beautiful. I feel like anyone would be hardpressed to find a flaw with the cover especially after completing the book. You truly find out just how special it is to the story. I loved looking back on it when it was all said and done and saw each thing that made the story come together. Next, I must say this book was very unique. I haven’t read anything like it before. I don’t read a lot of middle grade, but the books I have divulged in are much different.
Where we find Phillip is right before his thirteen birthday. He is excited for his party the next day and trying to stay awake to see the clock stirke midnight so he can greet his first day as being a teenager the minute it happens. Little does Phillip know, something much more exciting is about to happen the moment he closes his eyes and drifts off to sleep. Phillip finds himself engaged in the strangest dream he has ever experienced in his life. It feels so real to him and he can’t shake the feeling that something more than just a dream is happening.
Phillip enlists the help on his friends, including a new friend, on his journey to find why these dreams, and nightmares are occurs as he sleeps. On their quest to find answers Phillip encounters some interesting characters. My favorite character in this book had to be the Oracle. She was so animated and funny without trying to be. I loved reading her part in the book. One of my favorite scenes. She gives Phillips the Numinous Nagwaagan to help with his slumber. She also gives Phillip a few words of advice to help him along.
This book was very enjoyable. I found myself trying to figure out what each dream meant if there was an underlying meaning or just something that was fun to read about. If I had one critique of the book, I would have to say timing. The book could have been built up a little better for the timing of each events and dreams. Some things felt a little forced and rushed. Other than that, it is a very solid read for kids and adults alike. Quite a unique idea for the dream masters. I can’t wait to see what Phillip has up his sleeve in the next book!
Top reviews from other countries
The plot of the second half of the book is actually quite nice to read. Not superb, but then, it's a young adult novel, I can live with some clichés, like unnecessarily evil teachers and a wise elderly mentor figure. It's just, in the first half of the book, there is no plot. There are things happening, but while reading I couldn't care less.
In the second chapter, we get to meet over a dozen of named characters, half of which have no relevance to the story. This chapter felt so completely unnecessary - and it was just in the beginning, I didn't even know the protagonist yet (he hasn't done anything other than following orders and continues to have absolutely no inner life until mid-book)
And then there is the writing style, which is at some places okay (dialogues) and at other places abysmal. On one page I counted 9 consecutive sentences beginning with "he". It's even worse when there is a dream sequence, where at some times it feels like I'm reading some sort of bored spectator, who is simply describing "Oh, he is now here. He does that. He now does that. And he does that! Then he does that".
Again, I enjoyed the second half of the book. Somewhat. But it was not good enough to make me forget the stylistic horrors of the first few chapters. ;-)