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Monday, November 23, 2015

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ARC Review: Dreamstrider by Lindsay Smith (Dreamy Espionage)

Dreamstrider Lindsay Smith

Lindsay Smith
Publication Date: October 6, 2015
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
Reviewer: Sophia

A high-concept, fantastical espionage novel set in a world where dreams are the ultimate form of political intelligence.

Livia is a dreamstrider. She can inhabit a subject's body while they are sleeping and, for a short time, move around in their skin. She uses her talent to work as a spy for the Barstadt Empire. But her partner, Brandt, has lately become distant, and when Marez comes to join their team from a neighborhing kingdom, he offers Livia the option of a life she had never dared to imagine. Livia knows of no other dreamstriders who have survived the pull of Nightmare. So only she understands the stakes when a plot against the Empire emerges that threatens to consume both the dreaming world and the waking one with misery and rage.

A richly conceived world full of political intrigue and fantastical dream sequences, at its heart Dreamstrider is about a girl who is struggling to live up to the potential before her.
Advanced copy provided by Roaring Brook Press via Netgalley – thanks!

Every time the concept “” appears in a book, I regard it with absolute awe and creepiness (an odd combination, methinks).
Have I mentioned I feel really disturbed over the idea of someone – a dreamstrider – having the ability to take control of your body and access to your thoughts while unconscious, even for a short period of time?

The concept, however, is uber-cool. Smith brings us to a fantasy world where using dreams in the form of espionage is completely acceptable – as a dreamstrider, Livia works for the ministry, and she inhabits another person’s body while they are asleep.

If I placed Livia in a character category, she would be right next to Alina Starkov from Grisha trilogy. Over the course of the book, she’s on the downside; on the plus side, it fits so well with Livia’s character and past. Livia lived her entire life as a tunneler, trying to survive day by day, until she meets Professor Hesse, where she is introduced to her potential as a dreamstrider and the good she can do for the empire for her citizenship and freedom.
Unlike Alina Starkov (Alina is too mopey over Mal, okay?), Livia’s mope is more realistic. She has big dreams and strives to achieve them, crushes over her best friend (it’s harder for males to be one of my best friends – that circle is elite), secretly sweet, and insecure/cautious about many things.

But enough about Livia and how she’s secretly awesome even though she will never ever admit it. I didn’t feel very into Dreamstrider – the passphrases in the Land of the Iron Winds are written in a very rhythmic style, but I didn’t care too much aside from the fact it sounds poetic. But poetry and I don’t get along, and this is why I will never read Ellen Hopkins. I have nothing against the author, though.
Ellen Hopkins aside, dreaming is a big deal – it plays a part in almost everything in the Barstadt Empire, but it felt more like a cultural thing (like Greek myths are to Greeks). I’m taking it all in, but the whole dreaming thing? It’s just there, and the only big deal seemed to be using dreaming in detective work and finding out information. The whole point of the book is really just Livia becoming more confident in not just herself, but her abilities. By the end of the book, I felt satisfied, but I just wanted more from the book.

4 Owls

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Sophia is the owner and founder of Bookwyrming Thoughts, but also found on various parts of the internet. She's a 19-year-old communications major who has weird humor and doesn't fit the Asian stereotype (maybe a little). Books, chocolate, technology, and music are among some of her favorite things. For more of her work, visit her personal website.