Book One of Dreamwalker
Author: C.S. Friedman
Reading Level: Young Adult
Released: February 4th 2014
Review Source: Penguin
All her life Jessica Drake has dreamed of other worlds, some of them similar to her own, others disturbingly alien. She never shares the details with anyone, save her younger brother Tommy, a compulsive gamer who incorporates some aspects of Jessica’s dreams into his games. But now someone is asking about those dreams...and about her. A strange woman has been watching her house. A visitor to her school attempts to take possession of her dream-inspired artwork.
As she begins to search for answers it becomes clear that whoever is watching her does not want her to learn the truth. One night her house catches on fire, and when the smoke clears she discovers that her brother has been kidnapped. She must figure out what is going on, and quickly, if she and her family are to be safe.
Following clues left behind on Tommy's computer, determined to find her brother and bring him home safely, Jessica and two of her friends are about to embark on a journey that will test their spirits and their courage to the breaking point, as they must leave their own world behind and confront the source of Earth's darkest legends – as well as the terrifying truth of their own secret heritage.
The moment I read the synopsis for this book I said, "Yes!" I love anything fantasy and otherworldly and this book was everything I hoped for and then some. It had fantasy, aliens, other worlds, adventure, and some action.
As you can read from the synopsis, Jesse (which is what Jessica, the main character, prefers to be called) has some amazing dreams that transport her to other worlds and have her see certain things she isn't supposed to. She never thinks anything of them, but tells them to her little 13 year-old brother Tommy so he can implement some aspects of them into his online video gaming. This leads to someone becoming interested in Tommy's "dreams" and manifestation of his gift, as they call it. This is the main reason there's a fire at her house, as a diversion for her brother to get kidnapped.
Jesse has the good idea of grabbing Tommy's laptop before the fire finished burning her house to the ground and, thanks to this, she is able to figure out clues to go find her little brother. This is where the adventure starts (it's hinted it's coming by some events that happen right before and the new friends she makes); Jesse and two of her friends follow Tommy into this alien world, which is a parallel one to ours, where she makes some new friends (or are they?) and learns so much about how many worlds there really are out there. There's also quite a bit of action and the author definitely did a good job in making you feel anxious for the heroes and what will happen next.
The only reason I did not give it a higher rating was because, despite it being a good story, there were parts that I felt lagged a bit, it was just giving too much filler instead of just getting to the point or to the action. For example, a few of the chapters are told from another character's perspective that gives you a little more information about this alien world that Jesse doesn't get to find out, or so it seemed. Once I finished reading the book I realized those chapters weren't really necessary because they only provide a small amount of information more than what Jesse ends up finding out (because, at the end of it all, Jesse learns all of that info anyway). Also, some of the explanations of how things were in the alien world in which Jesse was trapped in were a little confusing to me and I admit some of them I had to read two or three times to understand. Maybe it's just me, but that's how it felt like to me.