Jarred Dreams, by Camilla Chester is essentially a children's book, or perhaps more correctly a teenager's or young adult's book. It is the story of the Dream Thief, who has stolen all the dreams from the people of Stanbridge, which has essentially turned gray, without its people's dreams. The population exists, they don't live.
Into this boring, dull, lifeless world comes twelve-year-old Sade, whose mother is in a coma at Stanbridge Hospital and her father and her have moved to Stanbridge to be closer to Sade's mother. Sade quickly discovers that nothing in Stanbridge has any color. Her classmates at school, with one exception (a recent newcomer like her), are colourless and boring. There is no fun and no enjoyment. Sade sets out to discover the cause of the town's malady and fix it. The dream thief, from literature, it appears is very real and has stolen the dreams of the population. Sade must put this right.
For a book primarily aimed at young people, (as someone not so young anymore), I found this little story grew and grew on me, the more I read. The author used the opportunity to investigate and discuss issues that are important to adults, as well as young people; such as the importance of dreams, the need to never give up on your dreams. In fact, what I initially thought would be a pleasant little diversion from my usual reading fare, turned into a really worthwhile exercise. I think this is the real mark of a quality author, whose target market is youth. To be able to write for young people, engage and interest them, but also to have concepts that can appeal to the older folk. Chester has got this dead right.
I understand this is Chester's debut novel and I tip my hat to her. She has written a beauty and I look forward to more from her pen. I didn't expect to enjoy this book quite as much as I did. Well done Camilla Chester; a wonderful debut story.
Rhuna, Keeper of Wisdom by Barbara Underwood is one of those books that sneaks up on you and makes you think about things not explicitly covered in the story. My initial reaction to this book was that it was just a simple fantasy tale, following the adventures of a young girl, plucked from her primitive tribe and brought into a world of enlightenment and wonder.
As that simple story and coupled with the romance, Rhuna had plenty of appeal to me as a reader. The story essentially revolved around Rhuna (a young village girl who is different from her peers, by nature of her skin colour and appearance). Her paleness speaks to her long, lost father who was from a different culture, the Atlans.
When Rhuna meets a Master from the Atlan culture, Tozar, he takes her back to his homeland where she is educated and schooled in the ways of her father's culture. She proves to be very successful and quickly becomes a valued member of Atlan society. All is not well, though, in Atlan. A Master who defected to the dark side many years ago and who has long been considered dead is actually creating a cult following for himself among other primitive tribes.
This is a very gentle story, that rolls along quite nicely and I enjoyed it for that. It was only later in the book that questions began to be raised and considered about utopian societies, of which Atlan clearly was one. The age-old question of "who watches the watchers?" reared its ugly head.
As I said, this is a nice, easy read on a purely fictional, superficial level, but the extra depth these questions about utopian societies give this book is what makes it stand out in its genre. What it did do, was give me a desire to read on about Rhuna and see what happens next with her, Tozar and of course, The Dark Master.
Outview by Brandt Legg was an absolute revelation for me. I'm not quite sure what I was expecting when I started reading, but the book just captured me from the first chapter and wouldn't let me go until it spat me out at the end. As the first book in a series of three, this is guaranteed to set you up to absolutely HAVE to read the next two.
The premise was fascinating and although there are plenty of books out there that focus on conspiracy theories within the government, this is different in that the focus is much more on the individual characters; brothers Nate and Dustin, their special psychic powers and their close group of friends that help them along the way to try and outwit the government agents determined to hunt them down. The characters were diverse and interesting and the storyline believable and at times simply breathtaking.
Much of the subject matter resonated with me for many reasons. Having read extensively on "new thought" authors over the past couple of years, it was fascinating to see these concepts transformed into a novel - and done so wonderfully well. I guess Outview fits into a number of categories; Science Fantasy and Young Adult among others, but trust me this book will appeal to the widest range of readers. It was a real pleasure to read and I couldn't recommend it highly enough.
RHUNA: KEEPER OF WISDOM by BARBARA UNDERWOOD
EMBRACE THE OPPORTUNITIES LIFE PRESENTS TO YOU AND ALWAYS, ALWAYS FOLLOW YOUR DREAMS!
HAVE A GREAT LIFE AND SPREAD THE LOVE!
CHANGING THE WORLD – ONE READER AT A TIME