I read one of Elizabeth Knox’s adult books first before starting this acclaimed YA duet, beginning with Dreamhunter .
I haven’t read the second one yet, but I just put it on hold at the library.
Elizabeth Knox (based on reading two of her books) has a knack for creating complex characters. They are self-aware of their conflicted feelings. They are mean sometimes without wanting to be, they are flawed and selfish and let things go.
I really enjoyed that. And in the Dreamhunter book, she creates a turn of the century society almost indistinguishable from our own (Down to having the same literature, one character mentions Mill on the Floss) except that a few years prior, the Place was discovered. The Place is an arid, magical land only some people are able to enter. A small percentage of those people are Dreamhunters, or people who can sleep there, dream, and then bring that dream back to the real world and share it with people.
The story revolves around two girls, cousins, both with parents who are dreamhunters. They are coming of age when they will be able to “try”, as in try to enter the place, and based on the results of that try they both know their lives will change forever.
The problem is, the most famous dreamhunter, Tziga Hame, is a father of one of the girls, and he is finding out that the goverment’s use of the dreams, and the nature of the Place itself is not as innocent as it seems.
The world, the nature of dreamhunting, the political implications of mind control, all of these are well-detailed and woven together seamlessly.
My problem with this book, and with Knox’s other book, incidentally, seems to be a detachment from the characters. While I sympathized with them, I did not FEEL them, or their worries. Reading the book was like watching a show from the back row of a large amphitheater where you are close enough to see and hear what’s going on, but the action feels far away.
Despite this, I did enjoy the book. So: