I've been a reviewer since February 2001, when I began writing for my local newspaper. In 2010 the paper did away with their arts section and I went completely online. I review science fiction, fantasy, urban fantasy and dystopian in young adult and mainstream adult. I'm also interested in travel writing, history, and general non-fiction, but my main focus is sci-fi/fantasy.
(Description nicked from B&N.com.)
“Vivian Maylor is trying to hold it together. But her attempts to build a life with the man she loves seem doomed by the dragon inside her yearning to break free. Vivian is a dreamshifter, the last line of defense between reality and the dreamworld, and the only one of her kind.
Weston Jennings also believes he is the only one of his kind. He fears his powers as a dreamshifter, and resists learning to control them. After suffering a tragic loss, Weston heads deep into the woods of the Pacific Northwest to embrace a safe life of solitude. But when a terrible mistake leads to an innocent’s death, his guilt drives him to his former home, where he encounters what he never thought he would find: another shifter.
Now Vivian and Weston must work together to defeat a new threat to the dreamworld.”
I had some trouble connecting with this book, but some of that is my own fault. I didn’t realize that this was the second book in a series until I had already started reading. There were things that had obviously happened in the first book that were having repercussions in this one, and I had to pick up on those as I went along. Although I do have to give props to the author for making it possible for me to do so and not just plowing straight ahead and leaving a possibly new reader in the dust.
It’s interesting the way the author has set up the various layers of the Dreamworld. It seems like there is a layer called the Between, which lies (obviously) between waking and dreaming, and a general layer of Dreamworld. There also seems to be enclosed or “pocket” Dreamworld areas, as evidenced by spheres that dreamshifters can use to enter these areas. This is something that I wasn’t too clear on, but again, this may be an issue with not having read the original book. I was able to get enough of an idea of Dreamworld’s structure to get through the book, but I would have liked to have known more.
I felt that the book picked up steam as it went along, getting more momentum as Vivian was forced to confront the dragon inside of her more often. I think it’s a pretty obvious metaphor for Vivian becoming more comfortable with her growing association with the Dreamworld, as she doesn’t willingly allow herself to shapeshift until she really accepts that she has a responsibility to the Dreamworld and its denizens. This is paralleled by Weston’s inner journey to accepting his powers—he never wanted to use them to begin with—as he has the same realization.
I would have enjoyed this book more if I had read the first one in the series, but as it stands, I found Wakeworld to be a pretty good read. Schafer got enough info into this book to keep me from being lost, and there’s no shortage of action and thrills. I’m seriously considering going back to pick up the first book, because I am curious about how this all got started.
This review originally appeared on Owlcat Mountain on March 3, 2014.
Title provided by the publisher.