Thursday, August 13, 2015

ARC Review: Dreamland

Dreamland by Robert L. Anderson
Publication Date: September 22, 2015

Odea Donahue has been able to travel through people’s dreams since she was six years old. Her mother taught her the three rules of walking: Never interfere. Never be seen. Never walk the same person’s dream more than once. Dea has never questioned her mother, not about the rules, not about the clocks or the mirrors, not about moving from place to place to be one step ahead of the unseen monsters that Dea’s mother is certain are right behind them.

Then a mysterious new boy, Connor, comes to town and Dea finally starts to feel normal. As Connor breaks down the walls that she’s had up for so long, he gets closer to learning her secret. For the first time she wonders if that’s so bad. But when Dea breaks the rules, the boundary between worlds begins to deteriorate. How can she know what’s real and what’s not?

I hate writing bad reviews, and usually I don't. But because I read an ARC I have to write this review. I really wanted to like this book, I did, but I just couldn't get into it. There was a lot wrong with this book to me, and it could just be personal preference, but I could never fully get into the story. There are many good elements that had the potential to be something great, but the execution of all of these elements combined, just didn't work for me. I found a lot of things "off" with the story, but I'll pinpoint a couple of the major things.

The description of the book makes it seem like the dream walking (which is actually pretty interesting) is going to be the main focus of this book, but it's really not. It's mentioned, but doesn't come into play until the end. And even then, it's more of a "blink and you miss it" type thing because Odea is only in the Dream world for maybe a couple of chapters. I just wanted more from the dream walking aspect because when Odea was there, I was very intrigued by it. But there was really no explanation of it or further details about it besides the bare minimum.

Another problem I had was that a good chunk of this book (at least to me) was completely unnecessary. I do get that you need to set things up, but a good 50%...maybe more...of this book could have been cut out, and the story would have had the same effect. The point still would have gotten across, and there wouldn't be a lot of boring stuff in between. I honestly kept losing interest as this story went along, and by the end, I didn't really care one way or the other what happened to the characters. I kept hoping it would get better, but even at the best parts, this was just okay. There were a lot of times also where things would get mentioned, but never be elaborated upon. So you're left wanting more description or just more information in general.

There were a lot of strange elements in this story that I kept questioning, even though the main character, Odea, didn't bother. Take for example her home life--it is just down right strange, and Odea never once questions it. She doesn't question what her mom tells her about her dreamwalking, nor does she question anything her mom does. The interactions between the characters was also "off" to me. They seemed stilted and not realistic. I really am having a difficult time explaining what exactly was weird about their interactions, but there was just something there that prevented me from connecting with these characters whatsoever. Odea was actually somewhat annoying to me, and I felt I never really got to know her. Connor was just an okay character as well. There was nothing special about him, and again, I never felt a connection with his character.

There was also the problem I had with Odea's choices. Odea dreamwalks repeatedly in Connor's dreams, even though she isn't supposed to dreamwalk in a person's dream more than once. However, this is okay because as Odea says, "No one cares about privacy these days." But...she doesn't want to walk in her best friend, Gollum's dreams repeatedly because, "It would be weird." I really didn't get this, and it actually really bothered me.

Again, I think this book had a lot of potential. It was very unique and creative. I just think it wasn't executed properly. I was very much underwhelmed by the story, and at the end of the day, it just wasn't my cup of tea. If you think it sounds interesting, check it out. Ultimately, this one was a miss for me. However, I will give the author another chance if he writes another book unrelated to this series. I don't want to write him off yet!

I was given an ARC of this book by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Happy reading :)



  1. Hmm, I've been looking forward to this book, but I'm starting to second guess myself after reading your review. I'm not big on books that have unnecessary chapters, so we'll see whether I read it or not. Great review!

    ~Erika @ Books, Stars, Writing. And Everything In Between.

    1. Thanks! I was really looking forward to this book too. I was so let down honestly, and was very surprised while I was reading. If you do check it out, I would be interested to know your thoughts :)