Title: Dream Magic
Author: Joshua Khan
Date of publication: April 11th, 2017
Genre: Children’s Fiction, Middle Grade, Fantasy, Young Adult
Grade level: 3-7
Number of pages: 352
Series: Shadow Magic
Shadow Magic – Book 1
Dream Magic – Book 2
Where you can find this book: Amazon
Book synopsis (from Goodreads):
A fabulously exciting sequel to the fantasy adventure SHADOW MAGIC.
People throughout Gehenna are disappearing, even the feared executioner Tyburn. Many of the nobles believe the kidnappings to be the work of the northern trolls, raiding south for the winter, and when Baron Sable and others head off to fight them, Castle Gloom is left guarded by only the squires.
Lily is struggling with her growing necromantic powers. The castle fills with ghosts, drawn like moths to a flame by the brightness of her magic. Zombies roam the country, some left over from those raised in SHADOW MAGIC, others awakened by Lily. Families are troubled by the returning dead, so Lily tries to incorporate them into day-to-day life, much to the resentment of the living.
Then Lily is attacked in her own castle by a mysterious sorcerer known as Dreamweaver, a young man determined to conquer Gehenna using jewel-spiders, strange crystalline creatures whose bite doesn’t kill but sends victims to sleep. Lily soon discovers that Dreamweaver is harvesting dreams to fuel his magic.
Lily enters the realm of sleep known as the Dream Time, in an attempt to awaken all the captive dreamers. Instead, she finds herself trapped within a dream, one where her family is still alive. With the help of Thorn and the ever loyal Hades, she must somehow overcome the evil Dreamweaver by using his own magic against him – and reclaim her kingdom.
I really, really, really wish that I had read book one of this series. Not that I didn’t like the book (I did) but I felt kinda lost during the first couple of chapters. But, besides feeling lost, which really only lasted a couple of chapters, I loved the rest of the book. Like I had mentioned in another blog, I have reviewed a fair amount of middle-grade books lately. Like I also mentioned in that blog, my two oldest children are in 3rd and 5th grade. I am always scouting out new books for them to read and again, with this book, I have found a book that I think that they would like. Scratch that, I know my son, the 3rd grader, would love it. This book is right up his alley. My daughter, the 5th grader, is difficult to find books that she would read.
While this book has some darker elements in it, they weren’t completely dark….if you know what I mean. Zombies are featured predominately in the book. While they are scary and they do want to eat brains, they aren’t typical zombies. They can communicate, they can work. Their other urges are nulled by being in Lily’s general area of power. Which I thought was very cool and it toned down on the creepiness factor.
I liked Lily a lot. She was dealing with the aftermath of her parents’ and brother’s murders by her uncle, trying to run a country at 13 and trying to keep her magic (necromancy) under wraps because of superstitions of her people about a woman doing magic. On top of it all, she has to deal with an arranged marriage to a boy who is the total opposite of her, she is trying to find out who is behind the abduction of her people and the trolls have amassed an army and is marching on Castle Gloom. She also found out that using her magic, a lot, can cause some unforeseen issues with her body. Poor kid was dealing with a lot and she was dealing with it the best that she could.
Thorn, I loved. He was exactly what Lily needed. He was trustworthy, loyal to her and he was willing to do whatever he could to protect her and to protect Castle Gloom. Plus, he had a pretty cool bat mount named Hades. He was the one who found out where the crystal spiders were coming from and he was part of the group that stayed at Castle Gloom when the rest of the army went to fight the trolls.
Now, I will say that the storyline surrounding Weaver, the bad guy, was very dark and I actually felt bad for him….which is rare for me. It was a tragic story and I did like the small plot twist that took place when his story was revealed. I was shocked, along with Lily, when it was revealed who Weaver was. But my feeling bad for him lasted exactly two chapters and then I didn’t like him again….lol. The crystal spiders were an interesting aspect of the book too.
All of the storylines were merged beautifully and there was no lull in the chapter between the author doing that and the ending chapters. I will say that a couple of plot twists in the book (one that was mentioned) got me. The one at the end absolutely had me fooled and I was surprised when it ended up not being what I thought (and feared) it was. I also liked how the author left the book open for a book 3.
How many stars will I give Dream Magic: 4
Why: I think that this will be a great book for kids in 3rd grade through 7th grade (as mentioned above). The characters were fleshed out and likable (or unlikable…depending on who you were reading), the potential scary characters were made not so scary by humanizing them and I really liked that the book had a strong female main character. I would be very comfortable letting my 3rd and 5th graders read these books
Will I reread: Yes
Will I recommend to family and friends: Yes
Age range: Child
Why: Mild violence. Potentially scary characters for younger readers (trolls and zombies)
**I chose to leave this review after reading an advance reader copy**