Publisher: Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine, Del Rey
Date of publication: September 12th, 2023
Genre: Fantasy, Fiction, Adult, Science Fiction, Mystery, Mystery Thriller, Adult Fiction, Science Fiction Fantasy
In this thrilling contemporary fantasy novel, a father must uncover the secret magical underbelly of Los Angeles to find his daughter, who has seemingly disappeared into the fictional universe of her favorite fantasy series.
When Byron Kidd’s twelve-year-old daughter vanishes, the only clue left behind is a note claiming she’s taken off to explore the Hidden World, a magical land from a series of popular novels. She is not the only child to seek out this imaginary realm in recent years, and Byron—a cynical and hard-nosed reporter—is determined to discover the whereabouts of dozens of missing kids.
Byron secures a high-profile interview with Annabelle Tobin, the eccentric author of the books, and heads off to her palatial home in the Hollywood Hills. But the truth Byron discovers is more fantastical than he ever could have dreamed.
As he uncovers locations from the books that seem to be bleeding into the real world, he must shed his doubts and dive headfirst into the mystical secrets of Los Angeles if he ever hopes to reunite with his child. Soon Byron finds himself on his own epic journey—but if he’s not careful, he could be the next one to disappear…
Told through journal entries, transcripts, emails, and excerpts from Tobin’s novels, Dreambound is a spellbinding homage to Los Angeles and an immersive
Dear Mom and Dad, If you’re reading this, I’ve already left.Dreambound by Dan Frey
Byron Kidd’s world was turned upside down when his twelve-year-old daughter, Liza, disappeared. But he soon has hope. Then, an Instagram picture of his daughter in Los Angeles surfaces. Using his investigative journalist skills, Byron heads to Los Angeles to find his daughter. When it becomes apparent that the fantasy series his daughter loved has roots in reality, Byron must discard everything he knew about the world to save his daughter. Can he find Liza? Or will he disappear like his daughter?
I was not prepared for how much I enjoyed reading this book. I had seen it on the Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine’s NetGalley page, read the blurb, thought it was exciting, and wished for it. When I got the email that the wish was granted, I was happy but not overly so. Then I read the book, and I was hooked.
Dreambound isn’t written in your standard novel format. The author chose to write it differently. He used interviews, journal entries, text messages, emails, excerpts from Annabelle Tobin’s books (it is a series), and excerpts from a folktale book to tell the story. At first, I admit, I was a little iffy about it. I had read several books in this format (mainly journal entries) and wasn’t impressed with them. But the author made it work and did it in a way that kept me glued to the book.
The main storyline of Dreambound centers around Liza, her disappearance, and Byron’s search for her. It is a fast-paced storyline that has a ton of twists and turns to it. It is also well-written, and I loved the lore the author created.
I didn’t like Byron at first. I sympathized with him, but he was such a dick during the book’s first half (and well into the second). His ego was enormous, and his drinking was out of control. But, even though I didn’t like him, his love for his daughter showed through. He was willing to do whatever it took (faking emails from a publisher/breaking and entering) to find Liza. By the end of the book, my dislike of him did lift a little, but it never went away.
Liza broke my heart because I could see myself (at twelve) in her. She was awkward, loved reading, and loved anything fantasy. Liza used fantasy to cope with her father’s drinking and her parents fighting. So, it wasn’t a stretch for me to believe she could have been groomed by someone she met online and lured to Los Angeles.
The fantasy angle of Dreambound was fantastic. I couldn’t get enough of it. The author used a lot of folklore/myths to create the Hidden World and explain some of what was going on in the real world.
The end of Dreambound seemed almost fever-dreamish. What happened to Byron and what he did was nothing short of heroic for the Hidden World and Earth. I liked that the author had Byron’s story turn out the way it did. After everything that he went through and did, it made sense for what happened. The book section (where Annabelle reads the first chapter of her new book) of the ending was trippy, too. And lastly, what Liza did at the end made me wonder if there will be a book two or another book in this universe.
I would recommend Dreambound for anyone over 16. There is no sex or sexual situations. But there is language and violence.
Many thanks to Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine, Del Rey, NetGalley, and Dan Frey for allowing me to read and review this ARC of Dreambound. All opinions stated in this review are mine.
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