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Rushed Paperback – February 6, 2013
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A thirty one year old happily married high school English teacher from Wisconsin Eric thought he had life pretty well figured out until he begins waking up each night from a strange dream that he can t remember yet fills him with intense dread and a desperate urge to run to his car and drive away feelings that continue to haunt his every waking moment throughout the day Determined to prove to himself that he is not going crazy he decides that the best way to deal with these irrational compulsions is to simply play along Carrying nothing with him but his quick witted sense of humor and a cell phone Eric sets out on what he thinks will be a short drive to clear his head Instead he finds himself undertaking a terrifying journey across a fractured Wisconsin The only way to stop the dream from recurring every night and eventually driving him mad is to relive the dream s forgotten events by walking the length of a fissure between two worlds and locating a mysterious cathedral Along the way the details of the dream return as he encounters a menagerie of nightmare creatures a monster in an old wardrobe a sprawling mansion with a mind of its own a neglected church with an unlikely father and much more Can he reach the cathedral and save himself from the madness of the dream before the foggy man beats him there Or has Eric had his final nightmare One way or another before this day is over Eric s entire world will change forever Eric can t remember the recurring dream that keeps waking him in the middle of the night with an overwhelming urge to leave yet he spends each day feeling as if he desperately needs to be somewhere With no idea how to cure himself of this odd compulsion he decides to let it take its course and go for a drive hoping that once he proves to himself that there is nowhere to go he can return to his normal life Instead he finds himself hurled headlong into a nightmare adventure across a fractured Wisconsin as the dream reveal
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This book is an allegory. At least until the end it is. A man has a dream that he can't seem to get past and he decides to find out what the dream means. He doesn't remember the dream, just an image. The man is compelled to have faith and figure it out. His wife thinks he is crazy, but she loves him and supports him in this journey.
Eric is the main character who embarks on this adventure into the unknown. He encounters a few characters along the way, and his wife is in constant contact with him via cellphone. Many reviewers do not like the relationship between Eric and his wife, Karen. I loved it. It's actually similar to my relationship with my husband. So to those reviewers who say their dialogue isn't realistic - my tongue is out at you. It's playful, sarcastic banter to lighten up the story. Seriously, my husband and I are like this.
I agree that the author takes the easy way out on some explanations (hence the 4 stars) by relating things to the Shining or other pop culture references. I was also very skeptical that the author was forgetting a few basic things such as the character not eating (which is addressed about half way through), not saying "I love you" to his wife (which happens at 60% through), and the problem of the cell phone battery giving out (which is finally addressed at 65% through).
Eric is an overall ordinary person who is chosen to do something extraordinary, which isn't realized until after he has done it. He doesn't know why, what, or how he is to do it. He has to trust himself, the "dream version" of himself, and the voice of Isabelle - which represents his inner voice.
I don't really get the title. And I didn't really like the very ending where he learns stuff (I don't want to give a spoiler here). Others might like it.
I didn't find the book to be a horror book. I didn't find it to be overly religious, unless you read into the allegory. I did find it to be entertaining, enjoyable to read, and decently written.
I think I need to also add that I found Harmon's writing style very amusing. He made a very likable hero : one who brandishes sarcasm even in the face of imminent death. I found this book to be different and entertaining; a very fulfilling read. To be quite honest it felt complete after the final chapter which leaves me to wonder what the author has waiting in the other 4 books of this series. I look forward to finding out.
I actually think this book could be turned into a sort of quest, pick your own ending, puzzle/action video game, kind of like Alice: Madness Returns, Drakan: The Ancients Gates, The Nightmare Before Christmas: Oogie’s Revenge, or even Kingdom Hearts.
Anytime I thought the story was going to get boring, it picked right back up. It almost felt like the author was trying to push the limit just a little bit before giving the reader something else.
The sarcasm and joking in this book lightens the mood, which I was grateful for because it had just enough of the horror element to make me scared of the dark and want to use a nightlight.
Even though he’s on a journey and doesn’t get to the end of his quest until the end of the book, the author keeps his readers on the edge of their seats and wanting more, especially when it gets to the end. You’ll never guess what he’s on the journey for.
I feel like I could probably put this book up their with the Goosebumps books, it’s got that kind of ‘what’s going on, this weird and scary and what am I doing here?’ vibe going on.
I found many aspects of the story repetitive, and although the locations change, there is an overall feel of sameness to them. Eric makes some progress, he narrowly escapes danger, notes the weirdness of his surroundings, and goes on to the next place where he narrowly escapes danger (three times it's a golem!), notes the weirdness of his surroundings and so on.
Considering that Eric is the main character, he is astonishingly poorly developed. At the end of the story we know that he is tenacious, hates cellphones and...that's pretty much it. Perhaps, I'd have been more interested in the story and Eric's plight if I had any reason to care more about him.
This is the first book in a series, but I felt no desire to continue reading.