Friday, September 14, 2007

The Dark Dreamweaver

This is a book review.

The Dark Dreamweaver by Nick Ruth, a young adult fantasy fiction novel, tells the story of David, a young boy plagued by nightmares. In spite of his fractured sleep, he still manages to be cheerful and content, engaging in a Monarch butterfly-raising project with his parents.

One of these caterpillars turns out to be a cursed wizard from the land of Remin. The wizard, Houdin, needs David's help to stop Thane, the evil wizard from David's dreams, who is draining the land of Remin of its energy supply, a commodity called Spectrum.

David travels with Houdin to Remin, where they have several adventures in their effort to restore Spectrum to Remin. David starts to learn wizardry, which he seems to have an aptitude for, and meets several fantastical characters along the way.

The premise behind this book was good - conserve resources, discover alternative energy sources, be open to those who are different from you. The writing, however, was spotty. At times, it was interesting but for the most part, I found it plodding and dull. There was too much effort to make cutesy names the way JK Rowling did in the Harry Potter books, but for the most part, they weren't nearly as successful. Of course, it's hard to improve upon names like Grimauld Palace and Durmstrang.

The characters lacked development and dimension. I never felt anything for any of them - their story lines seemed forced or were rendered dull, even when they should have been interesting. The final scene was the most interesting in the book, containing exciting, dynamic passages that were woefully missing in the rest of the book.

The story seemed to be trying to ape the Potter books, with the evil wizard, the young boy wizard -in-training and the older wizard instructor. Thane, the evil wizard, was able to control people a la Voldemort, and had managed to corrupt several other species as well.

All in all, I thought this was a rather weak effort. I'm a fan of YA fantasy fiction and fantasy fiction in general, but this is not something I'd recommend to anyone.

1 comment:

PurplePol said...

As the author of this, my first book, I'll be the first to say that the general premise of the story is derivative of the standard wizard, evil wizard, wizard-in-training scenario. I'm in good company with many authors in this respect and I will only say that it's the type of story that my son and fans of this type of fantasy love no matter how many times they read it. Personally, I find the story to be more Wizard of Oz than Harry Potter but when there are wizards and magic I see no way to avoid a JKR comparison.

I think the characters are interesting and different from other stories so I have to disagree with that part of the review.

Could the writing be improved. Sure. It is my first book and we all learn more as we write.

Some good points in the review and some not so good points. I appreciate the time you took to read and critique the book. I guess I'll just have to go with the old adage that any press is good press.

Nick Ruth
author of "The Dark Dreamweaver"