Review: Dreamwalker – by Rhys Bowen & C.M. Broyles

Cover image and summary from goodreads.com. Image links to Goodreads book page.

Cover image and summary from goodreads.com. Image links to Goodreads book page.

Title: Dreamwalker (Red Dragon Academy, #1)

Author: Rhys Bowen & C.M. Broyles

Amazon. Goodreads.

Summary: Seven children. Seven special powers. One enemy.

Addy is a typical California surfer girl until her mother dies and she is sent to a strange boarding school in Wales, where one hallway leads not to another part of the school but to another universe. Addy has always had vivid dreams. Now it seems this power to dream has made her the enemy of the powerful ruler of Gallia.

How can Addy and her new friends be any match for the powerful Grymur who calls himself The One in a world where nothing makes sense.

If you loved Harry Potter, this is for you.
By New York Times bestselling author and her daughter.

Genre/Pages:  MG Fantasy/284

Rating: ★★ (4 of 5)

My Review:  Thank you to Netgalley for a free copy! Okay, I have a major problem with the marketing of this book right off the bat. Did you catch that last sentence in the synopsis? “If you loved Harry Potter, this is for you.” No. Okay. NEVER EVER do that. Major Marketing Mistake #1: Comparing your book to Harry Potter. You immediately set the expectations so high that it is not physically possible to meet them, and by the time someone starts reading it, they do one of two things: a) compare every aspect to HP and talk about how you just stole the whole story from JKR or b) spend the entire book trying to figure out why on earth it was compared to Harry Potter since all it has in common is an aunt who doesn’t like you and a strange and potentially slightly magical boarding school in Europe. Then they’re slightly disappointed cuz it wasn’t a Harry Potter-esque at all. This was the second type. Comparing yourself to Harry Potter IS unequivocally setting yourself up for failure. Okay, for the rest of the review I refuse to mention Harry Potter, because this book is nothing like HP and shouldn’t be compared to it.

All of that aside, and once I finally got past the confusion and disappointment, I actually really enjoyed this story.

Hero/Heroine: Addy. Well, well, well. Actually I liked Addy. There wasn’t much about her that really stood out, but she was an enjoyable character. She made me laugh. Actually, all of the Seven had really great dialogue. I’d just wished we’d gotten to know some of them a bit better, but what with the length of the book and the fact that it’s definitely a series, it’s understandable. Addy is a California surfer girl with strangely realistic dreams, who finds herself in a strange and potentially magical/dangerous boarding school in Wales. She had a healthy dose of stubborn and sass, but still knew how to handle herself in a tough situation, and valued friends above all else. I really liked her. Great character. There was a lot of great character development and inter-character relations too, all of which I’m VERY excited to see fleshed out more in the coming books.

Plot: I thought that the authors did a really great job with the plot. My absolute favorite element of the writing of this book was the fuzzy line between dream and reality. I absolutely adored it! In fact, this book did a really good job of the slightly controversial “only give your reader as much information as the character has” tactic. A lot of authors can’t pull it off — but these two did! I loved it! It was really great being left in the dark for once, and truly being just as confused and off balance as your characters. And the whole mirror world concept? Very intriguing. I’m looking forward to learning more about it. I found the writing a bit jerky at times, largely due, I expect, to the Writing Duo. But it wasn’t difficult to follow, so it’s all good.

Content Advisory: What’s that MPAA ratings always say? “Some Thematic Elements”? Yeah, that sounds about right. It’s a middle grade novel — there ain’t nothing bad in here.

To Sum it Up: Please. Do not judge this book by it’s lame synopsis. Give it a chance. You’ll probably enjoy it. I really enjoyed it. More than anything else, though, it just whet my appetite. There’s SO MUCH I don’t know. I’m looking forward to learning more in future books! It’s a middle-grade novel. Got a definite Charlie Bone feel to it. It made me really happy to be able to delve back into a Middle-Grade world. I’ve missed those days! Fun, light, story. As long as you expect that going in, you’ll love it. I recommend it to readers 5+.

Have you heard of this book before? Have you read it? Did you like it? 

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