Dreamlander by K.M. Weiland
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
What if whenever you went to sleep, you woke up to a whole different life in another world? And not just any world, a very different and almost magical world. But if this really happens, your two lives don’t remember your other self. All that remains are fleeting images. That’s the idea behind Dreamlander by K.M. Weiland.
Chris Redston doesn’t always remember his dreams, but he knows they are dark enough that he wants them to stop. But one day, he wakes in the dream world and remembers his other life. In a desperate attempt to get back to what he believes is his real life, he makes a tragic mistake that threatens to topple the so-called dream world.
Once he realizes the dream world is real too, he works hard to make up for his mistake. It’s not an easy task. Not only does he not know how he’s supposed to make things right, he also doesn’t have anyone who believes in him. He has help, but even his helpers don’t believe in him.
Every time Chris goes to sleep, he wakes up in the other world. He goes back and forth throughout the story. And the bad guy makes trouble for him in both worlds. In the dream world, the bad guy amasses an army and threatens war. In the real world, he has hired hitmen to kill Chris so that he can no longer travel both worlds in the magical way that only he can.
This is an action-packed story that kept me on the edge. The entire plot was well written. Most of the story flowed well. And the climax was out-of-this-world intense. I was never sure if the hero would find a way out of the mess he created. But he did, and it was awesome-with-a-twist.
I loved almost all the characters. The heroes, heroine, and the villains were all well-written and believable. They were three-dimensional people with strengths as well as flaws. I felt what they felt and I sympathized with their plight.
I also loved the setting of the dream world. It had castles, fantastical creatures, nobility, and sword fighting, but it also had a touch of modernism. Imagine a fantasy world with skycars and phaser-type weapons and you have Chris’s dream world.
There are three somewhat minor things I didn’t care for, though. I was confused about the rules for how Chris moved from the real world to the dream world and back. Supposedly if he is touching something in one world while holding a magical stone, that something moves with him to the other world. At one point, it was an entire couch that he was sitting on. Well, if the couch can move with him, why not his bed the next time? Or even the floorboards that he’s standing on? Sometimes his clothes moved with him and sometimes they didn’t. Maybe Weiland explained how the magic worked, but I just wasn’t following.
While most of the characters were well-written, the two hitmen who tried to kill Chris in the real world were not. They had to be the most incompetent hitmen ever. The first blaring mistake they made was in not killing Chris at the very first opportunity. It should have been obvious that Chris had done what the bad buy wanted him to. The hitman should have killed Chris while he slept, but he didn’t. To make the hitman’s incompetence worse, he wasn’t even around when Chris woke back up in the real world, making it super-easy for Chris to escape. The hitmen weren’t even able to kill someone who was practically helpless in the hospital. Just when I thought the role of the hitmen was pointless, they surprised me in the end with an amazing ability to find Chris in a place they shouldn’t have been able to find him.
And finally, I wasn’t entirely thrilled with the ending. And that’s because the hero got a happy ending, but the heroine didn’t. Why should he get a happy ending and not her? I saw hints of a sequel to Dreamlander on Weiland’s blog, but I couldn’t find it.
The things I liked about Dreamlander far outweigh the things I didn’t like. Dreamlander is definitely worth the read. Weiland is a great writer with a spellbinding imagination. When I dream, this is the world I want to go to.