Author: Robert L. Anderson
Release Date: September 22, 2015
Rating: 2 Birds
Odea Donahue has been able to travel through people’s dreams since she was six years old. Her mother taught her the three rules of walking: Never interfere. Never be seen. Never walk the same person’s dream more than once. Dea has never questioned her mother, not about the rules, not about the clocks or the mirrors, not about moving from place to place to be one step ahead of the unseen monsters that Dea’s mother is certain are right behind them.
Then a mysterious new boy, Connor, comes to town and Dea finally starts to feel normal. As Connor breaks down the walls that she’s had up for so long, he gets closer to learning her secret. For the first time she wonders if that’s so bad. But when Dea breaks the rules, the boundary between worlds begins to deteriorate. How can she know what’s real and what’s not?
With a killer cover, and intriguing tag line it's more than disappointing to me that the rest of the book didn't live up to the hopes I had for it.
The new girl in town/outcast who has landed in small-town-USA has but only one friend who miraculously lives next door to her. It's a single parent home, dad has never been around, is spoken about cryptically and is represented by only one single photo – when mentioned at all. Then, a new, hot and burdened young man named Connor moves to town – (again) miraculously across the street from Odea – onto her rural country road with only 3 houses mind you. It's love at first sight, but they have to do the dance of teenagers and take forever to admit their feelings that are glaringly obvious. Of course. Odea must now use her dream walking ability to help mend a childhood trauma of Connor all why locating not just her dad who may or may not be dead, but rescue her mom from a place only she can reach.
The mythology Anderson's debut focuses on is loosely built, and more often than not, just doesn't add up. Dream walking could be amazing if all the pieces fit together, and if it was explained. Instead we just get bits and pieces here and there through out the book in kind of a "you should know this stuff" manner. As for the plot line and character development, well you can easily see they are cliché at best. Even Anderson's use of the real world, which comes pre-built for an author, was shaky and to be honest left me feeling like I was expected to have lower than average intelligence. With the not-even-remotely-plausible- scenarios that happen over and over again piled up faster than I could process them. Fiction is fiction of course, but I firmly it's the authors job to make me suspend my beliefs, to make me believe in the unbelievable or trust in their character that what they write them doing could happen – but it just wasn't there for me.
For instance, we are expected to believe: that Odea is considered suicidal because she wrecks her car in a massive storm. That one can escape a near empty, highly secure mental ward (in this tiny two horse town) by simply chancing their clothes. That your love interest will immediately accuse you of walking in his dreams if he sees you in them(!?) This is the one that really sealed things for me. A natural response to me seeing a person I know in my dream isn't they are magical dream walkers, but that I must subconsciously be thinking of them for them to have appeared there.
Connor's side story was actually the only portion of the book I found intriguing at all, and I held on in hopes of learning more about his struggles and to see what happened. The dream world city we see was nice as well, and it's unfortunate that we didn't spend more time there. It's really where things got interesting.
DREAMLAND is wrapped up with a shrug and a "sorry not sorry" conversation between characters. It's enough that there could be more, but you're not left wanting more. This is great for the readers who can't stand cliffhangers.