*Thank you to the Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group for providing me a digital ARC of this novel for review*
I’m torn between awarding this book three or four stars on my usual five-star scale. As a fan of Lindsay Smith’s debut SEKRET, I was most certainly excited to see what new tale she would spin next.
The best parts of this novel are the characters, especially its antagonists. That’s, unfortunately, also its worst part. While our protagonist, Liva, is a character who demonstrates phenomenal growth — she earns our reader-ly dedication with this arc — she pales in comparison to the novel’s villains. These guys are complex, flawed, interesting — these baddies are just downright fun to read about.
Sure, it’s easier to connect with the morally grey and ambiguous — or just downright bad — because these characters serve as outlets for our own dark inhibitions. It’s seeing someone behave in a manner that many people wished they could, were they not bound by internal moral codes and compasses. The cliché line is that “A hero is only as good as his/her villain” and, yes, I quite like that statement. Unfortunately, this novel is a case of, “A hero who doesn’t live up to her villain.”
The dream world of the novel was lush and rich — I wish we’d spent more time in it! The romantic storyline interfered with that more than a little, but I was invested just enough in the romance that I didn’t kick up a huge internal fuss over it.
But, still: more dream world.
All in all DREAMSTRIDER was a good read and I will continue to look forward to more of Ms. Smith’s novels.
Also: that cover is incredibly lovely and perfectly fits the novel. Kudos to the cover artist!