Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Dream Magic: Awakenings by Dawn Harshaw Didn't Put Me In A Dream-Like State

Title: Dream Magic: Awakenings
Dream Magic: AwakeningsAuthor: Dawn Harshaw
Publisher: Self Published 
Published: February 3, 2012
Format: Kindle
Pages: 160 
Source: Received from the author
in exchange for an honest review
Read: October 6-8 2012
In A Few Words: Too stiff and serious to be dreamy
My Rating:  2 Stars

Goodreads Synopsis:
Eric, a young boy, has enough of nightmares ruining his dreams. Determined to grow stronger, he tackles magical disciplines one at a time - be it flying, blade magic, or telepathy - and stares down his fears. But, will he survive the battles and the trial of nightmare mastery? And at what cost?

"Dream Magic: Awakenings" reaches for deep metaphysical concepts and uses introspective experiences to offer an immersive feeling of MAGIC

Melissa's Musings:

The concept of this book is really excellent. The thought of kids going into a dream land and learning how to work through their dreams is a great idea. Unfortunately, the execution of the concept didn't quite work out for me. The reason that I was drawn toward reading this book and accepted the review request was because the author described it as "Harry Potter-esque" so of course I was intrigued.

And believe me, there is a lot of magic in this book. And it's explained in a great amount of detail. This was another awesome point of the book for me, because I love lots of detail and as much information as possible. But, this is also one of the book's drawbacks in that it feels bogged down in all of this magical information and it makes the story seem stiff. It feels like Eric and the other characters are simply going through the motions and slowly working their way through all of the kinds of magic. While it tries to be fun, with anecdotes etc, it just feels forced. The story didn't flow in a natural way.

The metaphysical components are deeply embedded in all aspects of this book. Each chapter explores different metaphysical concepts in great detail. These concepts are so intertwined within the book that they stifle some of the creativity, which is why I think there was a problem with the flow. As a reader I got bogged down in the metaphysical concepts and so it felt to me like the adventure with the kids was just sort of thrown in as an afterthought to help buffer the heaviness of the philosophical parts. It's due to this heaviness that I don't really feel that this fits categorically as a YA book. Yes, the main characters are of ages that classify them as adults, but the concepts that are explored in this book, in the depth that they are explained do not fit within YA literature.

Plus, as a reader you don't really get too much of a chance to connect with the characters on a more personal level. You start out in the dream world and don't learn anything about their outside lives, or what causes them to be having and fighting their nightmares in the first place. So, right off the bat you go into the story feeling somewhat detached from them. I felt that I couldn't ever really form a bond with any of them. Their personalities seem stiff at times too, so it seems as if they are even somewhat detached from their own story, or at least too prim and proper to be taken seriously as real kids. There are a few curse words thrown in to try and lighten this up. It works a little bit, but not quite enough.

As a warning for those who are particularly sensitive, the last 20 pages or so are a bit gruesome.

In terms of the climax, it felt like there wasn't one. The main characters have now gone through all the types of magic. Then they go through a test and fight off their own personal demons. I did like this part because it ties in well with the concept of working through your subconscious issues within your dreams.  But then they go off to fight the monsters. And then it just ends. It feels like this story isn't properly wrapped up.

Even though this book didn't quite appeal to me, it may work for you. Especially if you're looking for something highly philosophical.

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