Wednesday, May 15, 2013


"Dreams: Dorothy called it Oz, Alice called it Wonderland, but Nightmares call it HOME. When an evil shifter takes over the gateway to the realm of Dreams, it falls to 14-year-olds Parker and Kaelyn to stop him. Their only hope lies with Gladamyr, the Dream Keeper, but can they trust a Nightmare to save their world?"
When I was in school, long long ago, there were two distinct classes of people (and then there were others who somehow managed to skate through both groups). I don't think the group I belonged to really had a name. The other group was The Snobs. They were better looking than the rest of us (or so they thought), were better at everything (or so they thought), and were just better overall (or so they thought). They were the worst bullies, the meanest of the mean. Yet, somehow, they still had friends. I always thought the opposite should have been true. The group I belonged to were victims. In The Dream Keeper, they are The Losers. The Snobs are called The Plastics (think of Barbie dolls). Kaelyn has just moved into town and was branded a Loser almost instantly. She's quiet, maybe a bit timid, not stick thin, and not a Plastic. To make things worse, she's an orphan who lives with her Aunt Zelda, who just happens to be something of a local celebrity. She's a popular psychic. School gets almost unbearable for Kaelyn, and then she meets fellow ninth grader Parker Bennett.

I would consider Parker to be one of the skaters. One of the in betweens. He's pretty nice to everyone, well liked by most, considered one of the In Crowd by the Plastics, but also doesn't pick on the Losers. His greatest fear is becoming one of the Losers and he has learned how to walk the fine line of acceptability. He literally bumps into Kaelynn at school, and when his friends see him with her, he feels like he is at the top of the slide down to Loserville. Things get even more uncomfortable when he goes to sleep and finds himself in a dream with Kaelynn. Literally. He does convince himself that it wasn't real, but when she confronts him with knowledge of the dream the next day and tells him they have to go back to sleep-together-in order to save their world and the world of Dreams, he begins to think that the stuff in his favorite video games might be more real than he thought.

The world of Dreams is a real place, created by mortals and their sleeping thoughts. Favors are the purveyors of good dreams, Mares, bad dreams. Gladamyr was born a Mare, the Heart of Mares, in fact, but he hated being evil, was never able to accept that he was meant to be bad, used to scare children and adults alike. His mentor Allyon finally convinced him that he could make the choice, and Gladamyr chooses to be kind rather than evil. He becomes a Dream Keeper, one who guides mortals through their dream state. Some of them have nightmares, some of them have dreams, but Gladamyr is determined to be a comfort to those who have nightmares.

Mega-Bad Guy and Head Mare Fyren has gotten rid of Allyon, taken over the council and is on the hunt for Gladamyr. He puts a halt to all dream keeper activity and this is a bad thing for the world of mortals. Mortals require REM sleep, or dream sleep, and without it, we go insane and would eventually die (that's true-I heard it on Star Trek). Fyren wants to tip the balance between Mare and Favor in favor of Mare (had to say it). His reasons for wanting Gladamyr in particular are unclear, but Gladamyr knows that if he is to save the mortal world and the world of Dreams, he is going to need help from mortals. He had accidentally kept the keys of two mortals after their last dreams, and now he needs to use them. The Dream Keeper who holds a mortal's key guides that mortal's dreams when they are asleep. The two keys belong to Kaelyn and Parker, and Gladamyr has no one else to turn to when Fyren takes over Dreams, tortures Dream Keepers and holds them hostage, sets the evil Mares loose to wreak havoc, and will not allow mortals to dream.

Kaelynn and Parker find out that they are not Losers at all. They are strong and courageous, and even find special powers of their own to help save the two worlds. They pledge their help to Gladamyr and his friends Cerulean, Felix, and Pirate Cap'n Loofin Bootie in Dreams. They enlist the help of some very special fellow mortals, and Gladamyr is forced to face his evil past in order to defeat Fyren and restore balance to Dreams.

I found the story to be uniquely imaginative and very creative. It was well written and the feelings of ninth graders was right on the money. I will be recommending it to all my middle grade and young adult friends! 

Paperback Create Space:

Mikey Brooks is a small child masquerading as adult. On occasion you’ll find him dancing the funky chicken, singing like a banshee, and pretending to have never grown up. He is the author/illustrator of several books including BEAN’S DRAGONS, the ABC ADVENTURES series, and author of the middle-grade fantasy-adventure novel, THE DREAM KEEPER. He spends most of his time playing with his daughters and working as a freelance illustrator. Mikey has a BS degree in Creative Writing from Utah State University. He is also one of the hosts of the Authors’ Think Tank Podcast.
Twitter as: @writtenbymikey


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