Saturday, October 31, 2015

#Saturday Review - Dreamstrider by Lindsay Smith (Young Adult, Fantasy)

Series: Unknown
Format: Hardcover, 400 pages
Release Date: October 6, 2015
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
Source: Publisher
Genre: Young Adult / Fantasy

A high-concept, fantastical espionage novel set in a world where dreams are the ultimate form of political intelligence.

Livia is a dreamstrider. She can inhabit a subject's body while they are sleeping and, for a short time, move around in their skin. She uses her talent to work as a spy for the Barstadt Empire. But her partner, Brandt, has lately become distant, and when Marez comes to join their team from a neighboring kingdom, he offers Livia the option of a life she had never dared to imagine. Livia knows of no other dreamstriders who have survived the pull of Nightmare. So only she understands the stakes when a plot against the Empire emerges that threatens to consume both the dreaming world and the waking one with misery and rage.

A richly conceived world full of political intrigue and fantastical dream sequences, at its heart Dreamstrider is about a girl who is struggling to live up to the potential before her.

Welcome to yet another entertaining story by Lindsay Smith, the author of the duology known as Sekret. The Sekret duology focused on teenagers who have amazing psychic abilities and are used to spy on their enemies during the cold war. Now, let's step away from the real world for a moment, and enter the fantasy world of the Barstadt Empire. 

It is a place where there is a dreamland known as Oneiros. It is a place where people truly believe that the evil Nightmare has been thwarted and will never return again. It is also a place where two kingdoms are on the brink of a major war. It is also where 19-year old Livia is a different kind of heroine. She's a Dreamslider who grew up as a tunneler, one of the more insidious jobs a person can have in the Kingdom. 

As a Dreamslider, she can inhabit a subject's body while they are sleeping and, for a short time, move around in their skin. It makes her the perfect spy because nobody knows she's there. She uses her talent to work as a spy for the Barstadt Empire. Livia isn't a master at being a spy. In fact, thanks to "The Incident," more than a few people don't trust her.

But, Livia never waves the white flag of surrender whenever something bad happens, or the fact that certain people don't like her. In fact, thanks to her being the only known Dreamslider in the entire kingdom, she would be hard pressed to find herself back in the tunnels any time soon. 

Livia was discovered as a child by her mentor Professor Albrecht Hesse, and put to work as Brandt Strassbourg's partner at the Ministry. The two have a different sort of relationship. She may or may not love him, and he's a future lord who has family responsibilities that trump any ideal romance between the two.

There is also a third part, Marez, from another kingdom who shows up and throws his challenge into the ring. Marez who is supposed to be in Barstadt to help find possible traitors to the kingdom and who just happens to be assigned to work with Livia. I wouldn't call it a triangle folks. In fact, I would dare you to read the book and see what happens for yourself. 

Although this isn't labeled as a standalone or part of a series, I would be shocked if Smith didn't continue the series, at least for one more book. There are, after all, a few unresolved issues that need to be wrapped up. I would have liked to understand the Incident a bit sooner in the book. I would have like to seen Vera and Edina put the past behind them, and help Livia out. Women are the worst offenders of making another person feel like they are 6 inches tall.  

Dreamstrider is a book that combines espionage, with romance, with dreams, and a whole lot of mystery, and a thrill ride from the first page to the ending.

**I received this book for free from (Publisher) in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.**

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